Emergency Preparedness: How Will You Communicate?

Emergency Preparedness ChecklistCommunication is essential, although we often take it for granted. Today we live in a world where information is instantly available. But what if there is an emergency situation and our communication tools are no longer working? How will you contact loved ones or emergency personal? September is recognized as National Preparedness Month. Icom America wants to provide our customers with some communication solutions, which could be helpful during an emergency.

Cell Phones

Cell phones are part of our daily lives, however they have vulnerabilities, especially during an emergency. Networks can fail. Cell towers or satellites could go down. Regardless of any failures, cell phones can still be extremely useful. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) messages can be received by your cell phone, even if the network is congested.



APCO 2016: Communications on the Go


EMCOMM-1 Heading to APCO 2016

When an emergency strikes, people relay on public safety agencies more than ever. They are expected to provide reliable communication not only during, but after an emergency as well. It is therefore imperative to ensure all equipment is functioning properly and up to date with the latest technologies.

Earlier this month at APCO’s 82nd Annual Conference and Exhibition, attendees from around the world arrived to network, research new products and discover emerging technologies in the public safety industry. Now that National Preparedness Month is upon us, it is the perfect reminder to start looking at your agencies’ current communication solutions.



Radio Scouting – Mentoring the Next Generation of Hams

Ray Novak at 2013 Jamboree

N9JA at the K2BSA 2013 Jamboree Operation. Scouts were on the air from West Virginia using Icom gear.

Icom America began its relationship with Boy Scouts of America in 1981, by loaning equipment to the K2BSA Amateur Radio Association’s jamboree operation at Fort A.P. Hill. That continued up till 2012, when Icom signed a sponsorship agreement with the Boy Scouts of America. I’m very pleased to note that we have renewed our sponsorship through 2018.

What is Radio Scouting?

Radio Scouting is a pretty simple concept – it is everything involved with amateur radio within Scouting. At the heart of Radio Scouting is talking with other Scouts on-air, sharing stories, and learning about other cultures. Radio Scouting also introduces the technology and magic of amateur radio. It does this in a number of ways starting with Jamboree-on-the-Air.



5 Important Tips When Reviewing a School Emergency Plan

Each year as summer begins to dwindle and the first day of school creeps closer, we start to wonder how prepared is our school for an emergency. Frequently reviewing your school’s emergency plan is a good idea, and the start of a new school year is the perfect chance to review. In efforts to raise awareness on emergency preparedness, Icom encourages schools to consider these five tips when looking over their emergency plan.

  1. Anticipate
    Identifying and understanding all the potential emergency situations for an organization is imperative in developing a school emergency plan. What type of serve weather frequents the area, or what are some medical issues students may have? These are common scenarios a crisis management plan should consider. Every situation requires a different reaction, and a school should plan accordingly. Review all the emergency scenarios in the schools plans and determine in anything needs to be re-evaluated or added. Do not wait for the crisis to occur, prepare for it now.
  1. Train
    Preparation and training for emergency situations helps reduce chaos and manage behavioral expectations of staff and students should a crisis occur. Review the roles each staff member has been assigned in the schools emergency plan. Provide updated training classes and rehearse the situation. Emergency response education is not just for the teachers, but the students as well. Running emergency drills teaches both students and staff the proper protocol in each situation.
  1. Communicate
    Assess the school’s communication procedures. When an emergency hits how does the school communicate with others in the building or emergency personal? Cell phone communication can be unreliable during an emergency, as networks can become overloaded and fail. Two-way radios allow staff to communicate with a touch of a button, whether they are on the playground, in a classroom or in the hallways. Radios also provide a safe, instant and reliable form of communication with first responders.
  1. Inventory
    Whenever a storm is about to hit, people run to the store to stock up on supplies in preparation for a potential emergency. Same concept should apply to a school’s crisis management plan. Although remember, advance notice of a potential “storm” may not be forecasted. Check the school’s inventory of emergency supplies at least once a year. Make sure all supplies are current and working: first aid kits, batteries, radios and more.
  1. Recovery
    After any type of incident, the school’s emergency plan should be evaluated and updated if necessary. Review all emergency equipment and supplies. If anything needs to be replaced or updated do so immediately. When reviewing an emergency plan always remember it is better to be over-prepared than under.

More information about school emergency plans is available online.



Safe Boating Essentials: Preparing for the Water

Boating with Life Jackets

From ships to paddle boats, water safety is number one. While the U.S. Coast Guard has different requirements for different vessels, the concepts behind all safety basics are the same.

Preparation is Prevention
There can be many unforeseen circumstances that can occur while on the water, preparing for the day is crucial when it comes to safety at sea. Start with a pre-departure or vessel safety checklist to review that all systems and required safety equipment are in working condition and onboard. The last thing anyone wants is to be in an emergency situation and have missing or faulty equipment.



Why Buy the Dynamic New IC-7300?

In Icom’s 50+ years of providing communication solutions, our amateur radio products have always been on the leading edge of innovation. Our new IC-7300 HF transceiver continues that bold tradition by providing yet another amateur radio first – an RF direct sampling system.

And, it doesn’t stop there:

  • Real-Time Spectrum Scope
  • Audio Scope
  • Large Touch Screen Color TFT LCD
  • Multi-dial Knob for Intuitive Menu Selection
  • Built-in Automatic Antenna Tuner

Introduced at the Tokyo JARL Hamfair 2015, it’s now ready for your ham shack.

IC-7300 Brochure Image

RF Direct Sampling System

We’ve deployed a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) along with a digital signal processor (DSP) to essentially replace a traditional superheterodyne receiving system. In the bargain, we’ve eliminated the physical mixer.



How well is your school prepared for an emergency?


Nothing is more reassuring than knowing children are protected while attending school. However, when an emergency situation occurs at a school, it leaves us wondering: Was the school able to communicate effectively? How can the police react faster? If the information from the school is not communicated clearly and quickly, it prolongs the time of reaction. First responders must gather all existing data in a matter of seconds. Those initial first moments of communication and data gathering could be the difference between life and death.



Two-way Communications for University Police and Security

Police officer standing next to patrol unitAs another school year approaches, university police departments are gearing up for the large numbers of students, faculty, staff, and community that will converge on university grounds. With the fluctuating amount of people on campuses on any given day, university administrators understand reliable communications is essential to the safety and welfare of a university’s permanent and transitory population.

Security Staff and Crowd Control

Security staff is responsible for maintaining order, deescalating potential threats and conflicts, and coordinating first aid efforts during a crisis. They patrol heavily trafficked areas in and around campuses. Officers and security personnel may be put on duty at research centers and similar facilities that house sensitive, historic or classified materials. When department communication is directly tied in with local law enforcement, security administrators can report emergency incidents directly to first responders.



Wrap it up: Top Dayton Hamvention® 2016 Amateur Radio Community Highlights

#IcomEverywhere turned out to be just that — absolutely everywhere. It was a true whirlwind of activities from one end of HARA Arena to the other. And, it also took in Contest University, the DX Dinner, Contest Dinner, and D-Star InfoCon.

Icom Booth

Icom America Amateur Radio tradeshow booth setup, personnel, and crew

The Icom America booth personnel

Each year we plan and focus on putting together a really fun experience for everyone who attends Hamvention®. It’s a massive effort and thanks to everyone on our staff and many, many others that helped out.

13227781_1233539586656388_721549799711453973_oAs part of our #IcomEverywhere campaign, we also showed off our extensive range of land mobile equipment as well as a sprinkling of marine and avionics products to engage with a broad range of radio enthusiasts at the show.



#IcomEverywhere — Dayton Hamvention® 2016

Last year I wrote all about the preparation for the Hamvention® in Welcome to the Big Show – complete with circus theme. I even spoke about trying to limit our activities to just three rings.

Well, this year we’re actually setting up the three rings: our main booth, the D-STAR booth, and new for 2016 our Land Mobile booth, where I’ll be spending some time.

We’re even bringing our own circus animal in Max, the Icom America mascot, star of the Zack and Max comic book adventures.

#IcomEverywhere — IC-7300 Front and Center