Local group ramps up emergency communication for residents

You probably remember what life was like three years ago, during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. You might also remember that a group called BayComm came into existence just six months prior, giving local residents the ability to communicate with each other via two-way radio, when power and other forms of communication were down. It was established on the premise that “communication” is the single most important thing to have during a disaster.

In an emergency, when police are talking with fire, and fire is talking with the service crew, who do residents have to talk with when phones, internet and power are out?

BayComm started out with one band of communication, and trained volunteers how to be ready to use it, in order to reach each others in an emergency. We coordinate with CERT and other first responder groups, in order to have the best tools at our disposal. In the end, we are simply residents, from all walks of life, who want to have that lifeline to communicate with our families, other residents and city officials, through a network of two-way radios.

We have recently added a new unlicensed band, which gives us an alternate means of communication, and extends our reach even farther. Our members come from the Westshore suburbs, including Bay Village, Westlake, Rocky River, North Olmsted, Fairview Park, and Lakewood. Some of our members are experienced ham radio operators. Others never touched a radio before joining BayComm.

Having been in various areas of law enforcement and radio communications for the past 40 years, I have served as an auxiliary police officer in Bay for the past 14 years. I take a realistic approach to preparedness. For the most part, I enjoy life on a day-to-day basis without being overly concerned about safety. However, we all know what kind of world we live in, and bad things can happen anywhere, and at any time. Compare it to the life jackets you have on a boat. You don’t think too much about needing them, but it’s comforting to know that they’re there.

That’s why we’re putting out the call to all residents to look into joining BayComm. It’s an all-volunteer group. There are no prerequisites, no dues, and the cost to purchase a minimal amount of equipment is about $200. Collectively, we will train and equip you, based on your individual needs.We are a private group, and have no public affiliation or designation.

The first step, if you think you might be interested in learning more, is to email me, at jim.kettren@hyland.com. I’ll send you information, answer your questions, send you an application, and then meet with you, to ensure that you are joining with the right purpose in mind. Simply put, we are a group that trains to “stay connected,” and to help our family and neighbors survive an emergency by staying informed. The larger the group becomes, the farther our safety-net extends.

If I get enough feedback, I’m also willing to put on another community workshop, as I had done about three years ago. This would give you a visual perspective of what’s involved in creating a network of neighborhood communications.

Jim Kettren

BayComm Operations Manager

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Volume 7, Issue 22, Posted 9:20 AM, 11.17.2015