AERO has a vision for how we can give San Francisco disaster recovery with adequate emergency communications.
This page is devoted to the history of AERO's efforts to make the AERO vision a reality.
Let me begin at the beginning. Four years ago I was introduced to amateur (ham) radio by my partner who was interested in emergency response. I got involved, and as I often do, I overdid it, three years later I was made Emergency Coordinator for San Francisco by the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, part of the Amateur Radio Relay League.
I then asked myself what I expected to accomplish in the next year. Same answer.
So I resolved to do better. I asked myself "What SHOULD I do in the next year?"
The answer was clear: create a great preparedness backup plan for SF and try to make it happen. So I did the first part, what does SF need to be ready for an emergency?
First I defined emergency: 75% of buildings red-tagged, no electricity, landlines, or cell phones. No internet.
Then I described what would be needed to ensure adequate emergency-level communications till SBC and other vendors could put the city back in order. I assumed that no help could be expected from outside in the first few days--it is likely that the bridges and highways to the south might be closed.
SF would need 8 portable radio stations, PRSs. And we would need communicators, I think a cadre of 400 trained, practiced individuals would be sufficient to cover emergency staging sites and shelters. We would need 8 teams of four senior communicators and 8 technicians each to operate the PRSs.
Lucky for us the PRS operators are pretty much available now. They would need PRSs to drill on, but that is not a serious problem. The big issue is recruiting and training and licensing and provisioning for the 400 communicators and getting hold of 8 PRSs. My budget for this effort is about $250,000.
I thought, no problem. I approached FEMA and they said talk to SF OES. SF OES said that they were adequately prepared for any communications emergency and would not benefit from any outside help. I then approached the business community thru SF Ready, a consortium of emergency preparedness folks working for SF businesses, and was told those businesses who had critical communications requirements had made plans to meet them, no new projects were needed.
I was beginning to feel like a fifth wheel. But before I just buried the project, I was urged to document what I had done and how it worked out. So this page was made.
What is needed to make it happen? Money. About $250,000 one-time cost. And about $10,000 per year for maintenance.
From businesses, individuals, government. The very folks who have said "I don't think so...".
What next? It's up to YOU! Contact me, Dave Gomberg,
San Francisco Auxiliary Radio Emergency Organization Emergency Coordinator
and AERO founder. dave1 at wcf dot com 415-731-7793
Tell me you are behind the idea, and more to the point, what YOU can do to move things forward.
Thanks for your help.
AERO needs your support, but we need widespread support from many donors, we suggest a donation that is not painful for you. You can send donations to
c/o Dave Gomberg, AERO Director
7 Gateview Court
San Francisco CA 94116
To review the AERO vision, click here.
As of 1/17/2006, IRS approval of AERO as a Section 501(c)(3) charity is pending.