Collaboration between City of Waldo and GARS creates Waldo’s first Emergency Operations Center

Press release from Gainesville Amateur Radio Society

On June 25, during the national ARRL Ham Radio Field Day, the public is invited to see the debut of the newly-created Emergency Operations Center for the City of Waldo. The Gainesville Amateur Radio Society (GARS) has joined forces with Waldo city management to establish a room at the Waldo City Square that can serve the citizens with emergency communications, even when cell phones and the internet are non-functioning. All over North America, Field Day simulates these conditions, emergency communications are practiced, and the public is invited to come and talk on the radios.

City Manager Kim Worley welcomed the offer from GARS to do the labor and planning of the room and to set up the radios that will be used to gather and share information to help local officials assist citizens during a crisis. “We actually have two Council members who are Amateur Radio operators. During Hurricane Irma, people set up here informally to relay messages, but now we will have an established EOC. The major storms in South Florida showed Governments that when cell towers and the internet are down, important information is scarce.”

The furniture for the room was drawn from surplus. and the radios are made available by GARS. Club Vice-President and Waldo Council Member Shannon Boal said “The Waldo EOC is being created through a collaboration of GARS volunteers and the City of Waldo. GARS members hope this EOC relationship can exemplify the spirit that drives volunteer fire departments to help the community.”

ARRL Field Day starts at 2 p.m. at the Waldo City Square and runs for 24 hours. Adults and youth are invited to come by on Saturday afternoon to join the Club’s activities. For more information, go to GARS.club.