What is HEARS?
Hancock Emergency Amateur Radio Services, Inc. (HEARS) is organized exclusively for public service and emergency communications in time of disaster. Public service activities include providing communications for non-profit service organizations, hospitals, community activities, the National Weather Service and law enforcement organizations. HEARS is the planning group for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) in Hancock County. ARES is discussed in the next section.
In cooperation with the National Weather Service, HEARS participates in the national SKYWARN project. The NWS needs accurate local reports during periods of severe weather. Such reports are sent to the NWS office at Cleveland Hopkins Airport via an amateur station which is located in the office there. Operators in HEARS are trained to recognize and report accurately on severe weather conditions.
This training includes lectures by Weather Service personnel, showing of spotter training films and reading material provided by the NWS. These presentations are made available annually to anyone who is interested.
HEARS is the primary provider of communications for the American Red Cross in time of need. HEARS works specifically with the Hancock County Chapter’s First Aid, Emergency Shelter, and Disaster Services Committees. During a recent flood affecting Findlay and Hancock County, HEARS provided communications from the Emergency Operations Center to various villages in the area and to the Red Cross disaster shelters relaying requests for evacuation, for food and water, and for road closures. Operators were also available to assist the police and fire departments, and the water rescue division on an as needed basis.
HEARS also provides radio service to activities of local organizations for management and safety. These include the Multiple Sclerosis Walk-a-thon, the Boy Scouts’ Klondike Derby, and the March of Dimes Walk America event.
HEARS provides all of these services by utilizing portable and mobile radio equipment which enables operators to talk among themselves and with officials, and to access telephone trunk lines from almost anywhere in the field. Often operators use centrally located repeater stations which provide a large coverage area for the small hand-held equipment.
What is ARES?
ARES stands for Amateur Radio Emergency Service, a national organization. It is composed of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communication duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, whether a member or not of any local or national group, is eligible for membership in this Service. The only other qualification is a sincere desire to serve. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement. The ARES is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national organization representing radio amateurs.Amateur Radio Emergency Service.