I wanted to comment on my experience with my county LEPC. When I got my ham radio license in 2003 I was invited attend the sectional ARRL ARES/RACES meeting being held at the local court house. I jumped at the opportunity to meet my local ham brothers. For those who don't know ARES/RACES is the emergency response arm of ARRL. The idea is to provide amateur radio help to the local emergency response teams of the Government including FEMA. Sounds all well and good.
The county had a total population of under 25,000 at that point. It is still close to that. At this first meeting it was presented that my county was in need of an ARRL approved county Coordinator. So being the gung-ho kind of guy I am I immediately volunteered. Better to be part of the solution than part of the problem I thought.
The process of being ARRL approved and approved involves taking a slew of FEMA instruction courses. These are done on-line and I must say quite well done and very informative. There are tests and if you pass you a shiny new certificate to put on your wall. When you have passed all required courses and the sectional Administrator for ARRL agrees you are appointed the Emergency Coordinator for your county. I was thrilled when I was appointed. I got a great name tag and was told to contact the county FEMA person to get started helping protect my fellow residents.
I contacted the County Government to find out who that person was. I was informed that it was a Sheriffs Deputy who's name no one knew. The county sheriff was and still is is a good guy, I knew him personally and had voted for him several times. I went off to meet him at his cop shop. He made call and a deputy showed up. Introductions were made. We had a nice little chat. After a bit she told me that she was not interested in including me or any other ham radio person on her team because I was not a professional in public safety and she dismissed me. Later the sheriff told me that he really had no influence because she was FEMA funded. I cannot fully express my dismay. I held the EC position for a couple of years and never heard from the FEMA coordinator again. Lessons learned. - R.C.