FARA Public Service
FARA is a Public Service Organization
FARA members volunteer for many activities held here on Cape Cod. In addition to special requests that come in from events all over the Cape, we have our own regular events right here in Falmouth. Some of the events we work jointly with our neighboring club, the Barnstable Amateur Radio Club. Regular events and activities for FARA in Falmouth include the following:
Falmouth RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service)
When the Town of Falmouth declares a state of emergency, it activates the Emergency Communications Center (EOC) located at the Fire Department Headquarters on Main Street in Falmouth. FARA's cadre of sworn-in volunteers are activated by the Fire Chief to staff the EOC and provide the Town with alternative communications during the emergency. Most emergencies involve the opening of a shelter. The primary communications between the shelter and the Town is via amateur radio through the EOC. Volunteers must be sworn-in by the Town Clerk in order to be eligible to participate in a declared emergency. FARA has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the Town.
Cape Cod ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service)
The Cape has an active ARES group based in Hyannis and affiliated with the Red Cross. The District Emergency Coordinator is FARA member Frank O'Laughlin, WQ1O. ARES is an ARRL activity and has extensive roots at both the State and Section level. A more detailed description and links of interest can be found on http://www.arrl.org/ares. The Cape Cod ARES net is conducted on Wednesdays at 8PM on the 146.955 repeater, offset -600, PL tone 88.5.
ARES exercises on the Upper Cape are conducted by the Assistant District Emergency Coordinator, FARA member Henry Brown, K1WCC. Simplex communication exercises on 3rd Thursdays at 8PM on 146.580, followed by 446.250 at about 8:30PM, are conducted under his supervision.
Upper Cape ARES
A subgroup of Cape Cod ARES based at the Falmouth Hospital is supervised by FARA member Charlie Bresnahan, K1CB. Falmouth Hospital has provided an Emergency Operations Center. The group meets on the 1st Saturday of each month at 10:00 in the Maternity Conference room located near the Lilly Lobby of the Falmouth Hospital. All are welcome.
The Falmouth Road Race
Although not a marathon event (26 miles), it is a world class event with thousands of runners packing themselves into the "land's end" of Falmouth known as Woods Hole. It can be a grueling race with lots of casualties along the way. FARA provides the communications that tie the emergency medical facilities set up in town with the Falmouth Hospital.
The Cape Cod Marathon
This marathon counts as a qualifier for many of the larger marathons. It might not attract as big a field as the Falmouth Road Race, but this is one race where FARA members are often busy in chase cars and on chase bikes, tracking down errant runners who stray from the course and may be in need of medical assistance. In this race, we also provide coordinating communications for the officials in addition to the medical communications.
There are numerous other "thons" throughout the summer. There are walkathons, bikeathons, skate boardathons. There's also the Strawberry Festival, the Barnstable County Fair, and parades. Many of these request communications assistance for health and welfare traffic from FARA.
Once the tourists and summer residents depart after Labor Day, those of us who live here can look forward to the dreaded hurricane season, our numerous power failures, and any other disaster that may be lurking around the corner. The Town of Falmouth emergency management office routinely calls on FARA for communications assistance whenever it opens the shelters, or when there are serious breakdowns in normal communications channels.