The need for accurate information during and after a disaster is one of the many lessons learned from the Fourmile Canyon Fire of 2010. The first resource to be lost in a fire, flood, wind or snow storm is commercial power. Land communications and in most cases, cell phone connectivity rely on electricity. As such, during an emergency, no effective method of communication exists for mountain residents.
Boulder County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (BCARES), the Office of Emergency Management and mountain community leaders have partnered to create the Mountain Emergency Radio Network (M.E.R.N.). Its main goal is to use amateur radio technology to help our mountain communities be better prepared in the case of another natural disaster. The M.E.R.N network will provide a significant level of communication between mountain residents. In doing so, we aim to reduce if not eliminate the rumor mill that tends to confuse and put people at risk.
BCARES members have been working really hard over the last year and a half building a HAM network that will allow successful transmission in our mountain terrain. To date, a high-powered repeater and back-up generator have been installed in the Gold Hill Fire Barn with immediate plans for repeaters in Allenspark and Eldora currently on the table.
Currently there are more than 60 FCC licensed HAM operators in the mountains west of Boulder and BCARES will continue to hold trainings as we seek to expand our network.
If you are interested in participating in BCARES and M.E.R.N and would like to be added to the google group, please contact Amy Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Allen Bishop at email@example.com.