The KET Coalition recently sponsored an Amateur Radio class for healthcare coalition members and staff from their representative agencies. The class was held January 27- 28, 2017 at the Knox County Emergency Management Agency. This class allowed hospitals and other healthcare facilities to have staff on hand who are Technician Class license holders capable of operating amateur radio equipment in the hospitals. Each successful candidate received a free handheld HAM radio.
Amateur radio is often used during a crisis as a means of emergency communication when conventional means (hardline, cell phone, etc.) fail. Amateur radio operations were vital to coordinate disaster relief activities during the September 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when other systems failed. Locally, amateur radio communication was used in the recent Gatlinburg Fires Event.
By equipping the facilities with internal users, the KET Coalition adds another layer to the redundant systems of communication in place for the healthcare system. This class also served to introduce those interested to the Amateur radio world and connect them with seasoned operators.
The class was considered a huge success with a 95% pass rate, producing 22 new operators. Coalition members involved were: Knoxville Emergency Management Agency, Blount Memorial Hospital, Jefferson Memorial Hospital, AMR EMS Knox County, UT Medical Center, Turkey Creek Medical Center, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, North Knoxville Medical Center, Roane Medical Center, Knox County Health Department, East TN Regional Health Office. The class also had community representatives from the University of TN Police Department. East TN Vein Clinic, ADAPT of TN (Disabled persons advocacy group), TN Fire Chaplains Association, METERS (Middle East Tennessee Emergency Radio Service).
The class was organized by METERS president Jim Snyder, AJ4NO and presented by METERS instructors Keith Gaines KC4YYF, John Dever KJ4HWH, John Randle K9RSQ, Nick Cook W3VN, Father Raphael Ortiz KM4MNR, Barry Brown K4BLB, Dave Garner K4YRK and Lead Instructor Paul Trumpore, KJ4SVB