[Comment by Hooman Hooseinpour] Thanks so much for your response.
In fact, there are many issues which can be related to this topic, Communications Problems. This is one of the great obstacles that even developed countries face during large scale emergency events. Here, I don’t aim to discuss about issues related to emergency management and decision-making, in that there is so much I need to learn. What I am going to say is about a more reliable communication system, Amateur Radio. Let’s have a brief overview:
In the age of satellite telephones and information highways one important network is sometimes overlooked: That of more than 2.5 million Amateur Radio Stations world-wide. In many cases such stations have provided first information about a disaster and served as the only link to the outside world. The Amateur Radio Service has two distinct advantages: Unlike commercial systems, it is not as dependent on terrestrial infrastructures that can fail; they can work on own power resources such as batteries or generators, and they are operated by dedicated and skilled enthusiasts. The term “Amateur” here does not reflect the skills of operators, which is often advanced; it indicates its non-commercial usage. Amateur Radio operators, also called hams, often support their communities with emergency communications in addition to personal communication they can have with their friends and all other hams around the world to improve their skills. The importance of providing reliable communication network is clear; without rapid, coordinated communications, even the best disaster management plan is virtually ineffective. It doesn’t matter in which country you are living; during recent hurricanes in U.S., Katrina and Rita, all terrestrial facilities such as power, phone lines etc failed or overloaded in affected regions. Definitely, developing countries are much more vulnerable to such strong disasters. In United States where most of the emergency organizations are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, during such critical conditions, they use Amateur Radio. I also noticed that they are going to develop more radio stations around the country and encourage citizens to come and join the clubs to improve their proficiency for such critical conditions. This is what they learnt from these disasters.
In order to understand the situation of Amateur Radio in Iran, please let me share my little experience. When I was youth, I was curios to know about morse codes and how I can understand them, especially after watching “Artesh-e-Serri”! (Using morse code is one way of communications. Amateur Radio operators, hams, can also speak with each other through their radios.) One of my friends introduced Amateur Radio to me and told me that the Ministry of Information & Communications Technology (Current Name) has started to take related exams and give the license to applicants. It was the second exam, and we were among the first applicants that could get this license after revolution of Iran and were happy that after passing several law obstacles, eventually regular people are permitted to use it, but since then I haven’t heard any promising news, and it seems that they are not going to take any more exams, so instead of improvement, we have had regression. I was also informed that after the unforgettable earthquake in Bam, some Amateur Radio operators from Turkey came to Iran to assist earthquake relief. It was not good news; we could have enough trained Iranian hams to handle it. …. This is the link you can refer to: http://www.eham.net/articles/7326
I am not sure how much our people are familiar with Amateur Radio, but as far as I remember, when I was talking with my friends, none of them heard about Amateur Radio even those whose academic major was Electrical Engineering with emphasis in communication. However, I know some individuals who are self-motivated and really interested (current hams in Iran) to develop this facility around the country, but in addition to an organized plan, more cooperation and support are needed. Upon what Shideh said and inquiry I recently have had from my links in Iran, I can conclude that we somehow need first to introduce Amateur Radio to our people by which they are encouraged to learn and know more about it, then willy-nilly demands for using this facility will be increased, which hopefully will remind related organizations of their law duties. I think universities and high schools are the best places for the fist step. In my point of view, we have good potential to develop it around the country in a reasonable time.
Since I don’t want to miss any point, please let me stop here and refer you to some useful (hopefully) links by which you can learn more and become familiar with its great advantages:
About 5 minutes video showing the role of Amateur Radio during the hurricane Katrina occurred in United States (Title: Katrina: The Untold Story), and about 15 minutes video showing part of the amateur radio operators’ work (Title: Ham Radio and the Skywarn Program in Taunton):
Because of some technical problems, I cannot put direct video links. Please first click on: http://www.emergencyradio.org/stories.html
Then choose “Katrina: The Untold Story” and “Ham Radio and the Skywarn Program in Taunton”.
Amateur Radio Disaster Services website:
In addition, a research work was carried out by a group of doctoral students at University of Maryland that may be interesting to you. The topic of discussion is: An Analysis of Communications Problems during Natural Disaster. The main issues they covered are as follows:
Incident Management Process;
Problems with Layered Disasters Problems Concepts;
* Communication Infrastructure Requirements for Emergency Response;
Communications Delays during Emergency Response;
Decision-Making during Emergency Response.
You can access to the article through this link:
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, AMATEUR RADIO WORKS.
My regards to those whose hearts beat for others.