WOOD COUNTY ARES BULLETIN NR 20.15 DATE: April 12, 2020
SUBJECT: REPORTING AN EMERGENCY TO AUTHORITIES
Have you ever been in a public place and had someone come up to you and say "there has been an accident, would you call the police", or have you heard on the radio that something has happened on the interstate and been tempted to call 911 to report it? As an Amateur Radio operator, we are obligated to authenticate what we report to the authorities before "crying wolf".
When you call the authorities and identify yourself as an Amateur Radio operator, the person on the other end of the line should have some assurance that what you tell him or her is factual. The only way this can happen is if all the former calls from Amateur Radio operators have been factual and important to the operation of the fire and police agencies. Most important in this regard is to report only things that you are sure of.
Don't say there is an accident that requires an ambulance if you aren’t sure if anyone is hurt or not. If you must report an accident, that you're not at, say that you have secondhand information that there is an accident, and any other important information that you know of. Another thing to remember is the logistics of the situation. Law enforcement agencies may be short on personnel and can't spent precious time running to assist with things that may be gone upon their arrival.
For example don't expect a Sheriff's Deputy to run all the way from one end of the county to the other end of the county to assist a motorist in changing a tire even, though the car is close to the traffic lane, and may be of some hazard. By the time he could arrive at the location, the motorist may already have the tire changed, and have left the area.
These types of calls are things that Officers may assist with only when they come up upon them during their regular patrols, and don't have another call pending. The best advice here is to first ask yourself some questions about the situation before you make the call.
With these things in mind Stop, Think, Listen, before you make the call.
Ken Harris WA8LLM
Wood County WV
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