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Did you know that there is a group of dedicated volunteers here in North Bend who are actively prepared to assist and serve when usual methods of communication are not working?
Whether it is a citywide emergency, or a parade through town - and many instances in between - the North Bend Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) Team serves a critical role in emergency preparedness.
When regular communication channels fail, the North Bend ARES Team (NBAT) can assist public service agencies such as the City of North Bend, Eastside Fire and Rescue, and other local organizations in a variety of ways, some of which can be lifesaving. In fact, NBAT member Stephen Kangas, an FCC-licensed amateur radio operator, did just that on March 14, when he heard a call for help on one of his radios.
At the time, Stephen’s radio was monitoring a radio repeater located on Rattlesnake Mountain, but this signal was being relayed via a linked repeater system on the Olympic Peninsula. Stephen responded to the call and learned that a man was traveling with his ten-year-old daughter on a forest service road in the high mountain wilderness. They had the intention of having lunch at a lake when his vehicle became stuck in the snow. While the two were out of mobile cell phone signal range and did not have adequate cold weather clothing or water, they did have a radio that operates on amateur frequency bands already programmed with the frequency of the repeater in the area.
Stephen was able to consult with other NBAT members and gather lifesaving data such as the GPS latitude and longitude coordinates. He located them on Google maps and relayed information to the Mason County Sheriff’s Office. Stephen not only reported the incident and location but also provided emergency communications assistance that aided in the search and rescue operation. By 6:30 p.m. that evening, the father and daughter were rescued.
Want to get involved?
NBAT conducts multiple monthly meetings in person, online, and on the air. They welcome all local Technician Class and above amateur radio operators to join. For more information, visit their website at www.groups.io/g/NBAT , or email NorthBendAresTeam@gmail.com.
Curious how your city collaborates with NBAT and emergency operations in general?
City staff also train in various aspects of emergency management. Together, staff, Eastside Fire and Rescue, Snoqualmie-North Bend Police, and public service organizations such as NBAT can work jointly to provide efficient and timely emergency services that cater to the uniqueness of each emergency event. Staff acquire valuable skill sets that are essential to responding to an emergency, such as:
The City also utilizes a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). The CEMP provides internal guidance in responding to and managing a variety of emergencies. The City recently completed a 6-year update to the CEMP. It will be available on the City website under Emergency Management later this spring.