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Radio operators attend Aid VFD open house

AID — On Saturday, members of the Lawrence County’s local ham radio operator groups participated at the Aid Volunteer Fire Department’s community open house.

Southern Ohio Amateur Radio Association (SOARA) and Lawrence County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) were invited by Aid VFD Fire Chief Louis Pauley and Deputy Chief Matt Jenkins to show the community what the ham radio operators do during natural disasters and emergencies to aid first responders.

“We never know when an emergency will arise that will require everyone working together,” Pauley said. “A special thank you to our amateur radio operators for what they do here in Lawrence County and the unique capabilities that they provide to areas that do not have Internet/cell phone capabilities. We recognize how extremely important they are for our back up communications.”

Besides serving as back up in emergency situations, the radio operators help the community by providing radio help during the annual Ironton-Lawrence Memorial Day parade and other community events.

During the community open house, SOARA and ARES operated from a table in the exact location where they would normally set up during an emergency event. They also demonstrated how their radios work and provided handouts to people.

Mike Love, WB8YKS, a member of SOARA/ARES, said it was not only a fun event for the amateur radio operators, but also a precursor to an emergency event if they would be requested to respond.

“The Aid Fire Department has been a great partner and are very enthusiastic with the capabilities of amateur radio,” Love said. “Their territory in the county does not have cellular coverage. In the future, a special antenna will be mounted on their tower, which will accommodate a faster set up for responding amateur radio operators.”

Jenkins said the goal of the event was so people in the community could learn more about what the first responders do in Aid Township and Lawrence County.

Other groups attending the event included the American Red Cross, Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency/911, Lawrence County Emergency Medical Service, Aid Township Trustees and the Aid Fire Department, as well as special guest, Lawrence County Commissioner Freddie Hayes.