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Fort4Fitness Fall Festival relies on volunteer amateur (ham) radio operators
Trained communications experts aid runner safety, race operations
By: Allen County Amateur Radio Emergency Service
"Ham radio operators continue to provide an invaluable service supporting Fort4Fitness' safety efforts on the course on race day," said Carrie Reeb, Fort4Fitness executive director. "They are able to run a self-sufficient operation assisting us in tracking runners along the four race routes to help us determine lead and back of pack participants, which requires a lot of coordination and communication on their end. It would be very difficult to adequately track the participants without the hams present, and for that we thank them for their dedication to our races."
In addition to important information on runner locations, the ham radio operators will transmit other information to assist with runner safety, including information about any traffic issues that might arise, any concerns about unusual or suspicious activity along the race courses and requests for emergency services, should any situation require such a response.
Jim Moehring, who leads the Allen County chapter of the national Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), said, "Working the Fort4Fitness event is important to us on several fronts. It allows us to use our great hobby to give back to the community by providing an extra layer of safety to the runners. It allows us to practice our emergency communications skills in a low-stress environment, and finally, allows us to ensure our equipment is in good working order and ready to deploy in an emergency."
In addition to public events such as marathons, ARES members provide critical, life-saving communications after disasters such as the one Hurricane Maria created in Puerto Rico. There, ham radio operators have provided essential communications on the island and between the island and the U.S. mainland.
About the Amateur Radio Emergency Service
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service is a voluntary program of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national membership association for amateur radio operators. The primary mission of ARES is to provide communications in the public service when disaster strikes. ARRL is a non-profit organization and has relationships with several other organizations including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Department of Defense, the Boy Scouts of America and several others.