Ham radio aids rescue operations in Pettimudi

The civil defence wing controlled the rescue mission by directly interacting with a control unit set up at Gandhinagar 

Published: 13th August 2020 05:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th August 2020 05:19 AM   |  A+A-

Officials from the civil defence wing of Kerala Fire and Rescue Services operating HAM radio at Gandhinagar fire station in Kochi , A Sanesh

Express News Service

KOCHI: When a devastating landslide descended upon Pettimudi on August 6 night, it had initially taken a while for the local residents to alert the officials. This was primarily because the mishap had left the Rajamala area with no mobile connectivity for a radius of up to five kilometres. However, once the rescue operations began, there has been little to no glitch in the flow of information between various government departments, and it was the ham radio service operated by the civil defence wing officials of the Kerala Fire and Rescue Services that made all the difference.

The civil defence wing, which set up a ham radio station near the accident spot on Friday morning, controlled the rescue mission by directly interacting with a control unit set up at the Gandhinagar fire station in Kochi. Even as all the other communication networks went down in the area, emergency messages were being transferred on time with the help of the radio service. “We set up the radio station as an emergency communication system, using which we were able to direct the ham stations of Adimali, Idukki, and Munnar to send more manpower, equipment, and ambulances to the spot,” said Anu Chandrasekhar, Chief Warden, Civil Defence, Ernakulam region.

Currently, six civil defence members are handling the ham radio operations at the accident spot. While one of them is in the control room, the rest will be delivering information to the higher officials on time. “Even if the rescue operations are stopped due to inclement weather, the ham station will be working round the clock. We have now decided to continue the service until the monsoon season ends. Similar arrangements have also been made in flood-prone areas of Ernakulam and Idukki,” he said. The civil defence wing has many ham operators across the state who have been trained to respond in an emergency. 


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