Our Readers' Opinions
January 8, 2013
Report on RRL activities for 2012

Tue, Jan 08, 2013

Editor: Another year has passed swiftly and the Rainbow Radio League Inc has kept stride with the passing time, as we strive to build a pool of trustworthy persons who can be called upon at anytime to respond to the needs of souls that might be perishing.{{more}}

Early in the year, communications services were provided during NBC Radio’s anniversary fitness walk. On that occasion, our team provided live reports via VHF radio as the walk proceeded from three different locations — Calliaqua, Belmont and Campden Park — ending at NBC’s parking lot. Radio operators were placed at the front, middle and rear of the walk to ensure the safety of the walkers.

Throughout the year, the RRL provided communications services for motor sports organized by the SVGAA. On no fewer than five occasions, our teams provided communications services to ensure the safety of both drivers and patrons.

During 2012, the RRL also played a pivotal role in the staging of a mass casualty management simulation conducted by the Division of Nursing Education. The Special Services Unit of the Police Force made an outstanding contribution to that event. The event brought together all the major stakeholders to quell a situation that is now a growing menace in the United States and elsewhere, where armed persons go on a shooting rampage in crowded places like schools, churches and cinemas. Timely training.

As the RRL spreads its welcoming arms, we conducted three courses leading up to a Novice Class Ham radio license. We firmly believe that disaster management is everybody’s business, all groupings working together in their field of expertise or training. Having radio operators in every community is our ultimate goal; therefore, we conduct free courses on an annual basis.

The RRL has attained substantial domestic wireless communications coverage, some of which came through the assistance of CIDA about two years ago. Bequia now has a repeater improving VHF coverage on that island, thanks to CIDA. The CCDRM project also provided renewable energy devices, including solar panels and wind generators, for the nine most vulnerable communities throughout our multi-island state, which the RRL maintains.

The RRL also conducts its own in-house training and simulations. The first event, dubbed “Operation X”, was conducted over a two-day period. Radio operators in two groups visited all the emergency shelters on the eastern coast, setting up and operating wireless radios from selected shelters, while maintaining contact with the EOC, which was stationed in Bequia for this event and controlled by J88DT Sylvester Tannis. Nearby islands, including Barbados, Tobago and Grenada, also took part in the event. The following day a similar activity took place, this time visiting all the emergency shelters on the western side of the island.

One of the Ham radio courses was conducted in Union Island earlier in the year and as part of the practical training, a simulation involving an evacuation in preparation for a tsunami was held in November. That event began at 4 a.m., ran until 7 a.m. and was purely a communications exercise. Participation during that event can be described as very encouraging. Our members were on full alert for all storms traversing the region, and were on the ground to assess any major landslides that occurred during the rainy season, sharing whatever information gathered with NEMO. It is hoped that more RRL members can receive training in damage assessment.

RRL (“The Colours”) members were also instrumental in the search and rescue of two young men from Bequia who got lost during a storm, en route to the Carriacou Regatta. The MV Baracouda spotted and rescued the youngsters who had no form of communication. In recognition for the selfless dedication by our members over the years, the NTRC donated three VHF DSC marine radios to enable our members to assist in monitoring VHF marine activities.

The “Colours” are expected to meet for an end of year ‘thanksgiving bash’ where we will review our performance and socialize in a fraternal atmosphere.

The next training session leading up to a Ham radio license is scheduled to be held in January 2013 DV. The most urgent needs of the RRL are three-fold: we need a land search and rescue (SAR) vehicle, a maritime SAR capability and an aeronautical SAR capability, if we are to be effective in our role as Emergency communications (Emcoms) First Responders (EFR). Kindly direct comments /questions with the subject: “The way forward” to: [email protected]

Don DeRiggs

Rainbow Radio League