FULTON – The Oswego County Emergency Communicators/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) honored one of its members recently with its annual Service Award.
Richard Boutell, WA2LBE, has been a member of the local amateur radio group since 2011 and has been involved in all aspects of RACES.
“Rick has stepped forward with many solutions to our needs,” said RACES Radio Officer Fred Koch, KA2HPG. “His participation in the (communications on-air) nets has shown his ability to move from one mode to another with ease. He utilizes all of our current modes of operation, digital being his favorite.”
Boutell is an instructor for the group’s Tech license class and a volunteer examiner as well. “His participation in drills and field exercises has helped to keep our standards high,” Koch said.
Oswego County Emergency Management Office Director Dale A. Currier congratulated Boutell, noting his service in emergency communications demonstrated the high quality the group has brought to emergency services in the county over the years.
The 30-plus members of the all-volunteer service provide site-to-site amateur radio communications during drills, exercises, and emergencies for the Emergency Management Office, the Oswego County Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the Oswego County Local Human Needs Committee, and are ready to provide them during a widespread disaster.
During severe weather, the communicators are severe weather spotters, radioing storm reports to the National Weather Service Buffalo Forecast Office through the Skywarn™ program to help pinpoint storm locations so the NWS can issue accurate warnings. In their spare time, members provide communications during CROP Walks, parades, and similar events.
The third Sunday of the month finds the members of the Oswego County Emergency Communicators meeting on the air to practice message handling and discussing better ways to operate during emergencies. A monthly meeting on the third Wednesday is held at 7 p.m. at the County Building at 200 N. Second St., Fulton where other training programs, such as Skywarn by the NWS and radiological by the emergency management office, are given and communication topics are discussed. This meeting is open to anyone interested in emergency communications and/or ham radio.
Through the generosity of Exelon Generation, OCEC/RACES have a growing web site at www.oswegoraces.org, which features the projects the group is involved in. They are also linked to the Emergency Management Office page at www.oswegocounty.com/emo.
Anyone interested in the group may leave a message at the Emergency Management Office at 315/591-9150.