The Nevada County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) group is offering neighborhoods another way to communicate during fires, winter storms, and power shutoff events.  “When these events happen, regular communication services can be interrupted and personal radios can be a good replacement to allow residents to communicate with each other,” stated Mark Triolo, ARES Assistant Emergency Coordinator.  “We have designed an orientation program to share information with local neighborhoods as to how they can use emergency radio backup equipment,” said Triolo. 

This is a free service.  The Nevada County ARES group will customize their orientation session to each neighborhood ranging from 5 – 20 homes.   They will provide a primer on how to use radios; what equipment to buy; where to buy it; how to get it licensed and how to set it up.   “Although this sounds daunting, it is relatively easy to start out and we will work with you to answer any questions or resolve problems,” said Triolo. 

In terrain such as Nevada County, where both cell service and internet can frequently be disrupted, inability to receive emergency communication from fire and law enforcement can be life threatening.  In the Tubbs Fire, near Santa Rosa, 57% of cell phone towers failed.   In the Camp Fire in Paradise, 56% of emergency alert calls failed.   “We think this radio system can help resolve communication gaps in emergency warnings as well as help neighbors communicate with neighbors.  We want everyone to get out alive,” stated Triolo.

Vickie Deam, Chair of the Greenhorn Firewise Community confirmed the value of this system, “At first I was a little hesitant. I could see the value but wasn’t sure it would work for our community.  However, after our recent snow storm, I am convinced.  If we had already set up our program, it would have resulted in getting help to people much earlier.  The ARES Radio Advisory service assisted us in all aspects of the program.  We are now expanding the program to all residents and it is being accepted with enthusiasm.  This is another tool in keeping our Firewise community safer and I would certainly recommend it for all Firewise communities.”

For information on the local Nevada County ARES group –  (click on Neighborhood Radio Watch).   To contact Mark Triolo for more information or to set up a meeting for your neighborhood – .