After the December 20 2018 wind storm, islanders were well aware of the importance of communications. We need to ensure we can communicate with neighbours, family and the authorities. We also need critical updates on damage to infrastructure, other advisories and to be able to request help for medical emergencies, supplies and other resources.
The Salt Spring Island Amateur Radio Society offered two four week licensing courses in spring and fall of 2019. The courses, all study materials and final examinations were all free of charge as a public service for island residents. The classes were held at the Portlock Park Meeting Room.
The first course had a very high success rate, and the second one had a 100% success rate. Obtaining an amateur radio certificate will help ensure that more individuals will be able to serve as a critical link in a failsafe island network during a catastrophe. If cell service and landlines fail, amateur radio can continue to provide a vital communications, locally and to the outside world.
The 2019 courses were a joint effort of SSIARS, the CRD Emergency Operations Centre and the Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio Society. Les Dawes from CVARS provided instruction for the courses.
A 2020 course was scheduled to take place on Saturdays from March 14 to April 4, but had to be postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.