Wilson High School Forms An Emergency Amateur Radio Team
Wilson High School has added an important component to its emergency preparedness plan with the training and licensing of five student ham radio operators. The new Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (AREC) consists of Tyler Hickey, Jesus Tejeda, Omar Zahzah, Amando Lopez, and Dean La Barba. Since October, the AREC student radio operators have logged in more than 30 hours of training to perform as a team in an emergency, and all successfully passed the amateur radio exam--with one student even earning a perfect score!
The formation of AREC at Wilson began with a challenge issued by a teacher to her students. An experienced radio operator herself, English teacher Devon Day (KF6KEE) realized that more could be done at Wilson to improve emergency response. She asked, “When an emergency strikes, what do you want to do? Sit out on the field doing nothing, or be part of the solution?" Five students accepted her challenge and the result was the rebirth of AREC, originally created at DeMille Middle School in 1998.
The AREC team meets in the field during emergency drills and sets up a radio station at the school’s control center. From there they are able to communicate with the Long Beach Emergency Communications Operations Center under the supervision of Disaster Management Officer, Casey Chel (KD6DOV), with other local radio operators through the use of local repeaters, and with the Long Beach repeater. The radio team is also able to monitor and communicate with other emergency frequencies, including Wilson’s own Search and Rescue and First Aide teams.
What's next? Team members are now working with members of the Amateur Radio Association of Long Beach (W6RO), to learn more about the use of amateur radio when emergencies occur. Thanks to community donations, Wilson's team now has a base station, six hand-held radios, and an offer to continue training as FEMA certified radio operators.
AREC team and the principals at Wilson High School
L to R:
Alex Flores, Captain, Omar Zahzah, President, Tyler Hickey, Advisor,
Devon Day, Equipment and Procurement, Amando Lopez, Vice President,
Jesus Tejeda, Principal Joe Pistoia, Treasurer, Dean LaPonte