Giving Thanks for a Prepared Cordova

It is Thanksgiving week and Cordovans have much to be thankful for with regards to emergency preparation. Cordovans have a City Council with the foresight to initiate the updating of the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). They have a City Manager, a Mayor, and an Incident Management Team (the Public Works Director, the City Planner, the City Finance Director, and the City Clerk) who are willing to train and works towards the goal. Cordovans have a team of almost 40 key stakeholders, many of whom have been meeting monthly, to discuss the potential issues with regards to disasters. Cordovans have a fire department, a police department, and a hospital who have trained continuously. They have a dedicated volunteer group, the Disaster Management Team, who has met for several years in order to be prepared to step in and help in an emergency. And…Cordova has the Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management supporting our efforts.

The momentum has begun and many people are beginning to think…preparation.

As the holidays approach, Cordovans will hear about another emergency preparation program they can participate in. It is the establishment of a HAM radio operator club in Cordova. When every other form of communication fails, HAM radio will still be there. We currently have only one experienced operator in town that we are aware of, and for which we are thankful…but soon there will more than twenty! The Anchorage Amateur Radio Club, Inc. has chosen to sponsor Cordova and is sending, at no instructional cost, an expert for the weekend of December 12th -13th to teach us how to operate HAM radios. They also provided all the student materials. After two full days of instruction, each individual will take an exam and become a certified HAM radio operator. With this curriculum, Cordova will become the pilot program for testing “in the bush”. We will be the first. As the students test, there will be licensed evaluators watching, via webcams. If it all works, this will help pave the way for all other small communities to do the same, nationwide.

The HAM radio class was first advertised in October and, as of the writing of this article, there are only a few more spots open. If you are interested, contact Joanie Behrends @ 424-5773. If there are still spots available, anyone is welcome. The class will be held at the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department, from 9am-5pm, December 12-13. Cost of the instructors travel/per diem expenses will be split among the 25 class participants; $30 each, payable upon the first day.

Indeed, Cordova has much to be thankful for. Be prudent. Be ready. Be prepared. Be thankful.