Ever wondered what would happen in an emergency should all normal means of communication fail or prove insufficient? Such a situation occurred during the floods that affected the East of England in 1953, one of the worst peace time disasters in the UK. This triggered the creation of a voluntary organisation called RAYNET (Radio Amateurs Emergency Network) that has grown to be a nationwide organisation.
RAYNET consists of groups of radio amateurs throughout the UK who volunteer their time, equipment and expertise to provide communications in emergencies such as the one all those years ago. There is a group in Medway that had been running for about 30 years, and we are looking to expand our group of volunteers.
Aside from supporting in emergency situations, we also provide communications for events such as marathons, bike rides etc., providing radio links from control to marshalling points in areas that would not normally be able to receive direct radio signals.
We have on average 1-3 duties per month, each duty needing 3-6 hrs voluntary service. We also hold group meetings on the first Wednesday of each month for 2 hrs (7-9pm), and recently have started having a weekly online meeting online between 9 and 9.40pm.
Although experience of using a radio is advantageous, training is given to new volunteer recruits in the use of radios and associated procedures, and further experience will be gained from the practice situations that are run once or twice a year. There is no need to own any equipment, other than perhaps wet weather gear!
Volunteering for RAYNET provides a rewarding experience – the chance to learn and use technical and organisational skills, help out in emergencies, take part in many local events and meet with other like-minded people and the public.
As we are an unusual group of volunteers, facing quite a common need for ‘new blood’, MVN are giving us additional support. Aside from this blog, we are using their guide to upload an advertisement for new volunteers on the ‘Do-it’ site.
If you are interested in volunteering or need more information, please use the links below.
RAYNET website www.medwayraynet.org
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/103101036391858/.
SUBMITTED BY: OZZIE HALL-OSMAN, MEDWAY RAYNET
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