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Record number of people participate in amateur radio ShakeOut Drill.



This year 15.1 million people took part in drills to Drop! Cover! and Hold On! – a record-setting year. It was a record-setting year for the San Benito County Radio Association (SBCARA) as well.


The ShakeOut is an international earthquake drill on the third Thursday of October. For 2021, the event took place on Oct. 21 at 10:21 a.m.


The amateur radio operators in the county ran a resource net on the local repeater. This is what they would do in an emergency to let the District Emergency Coordinator, Timothy Takeuchi/W6TST, know what personnel and equipment are available to deploy.


After the 30 seconds of the “earthquake,” Takeuchi asked amateur radio operators to call in with their status and how many people were with them. This year three rural schools checked in along with 14 local operators.


Susan Napier-Jones/KN6FLJ, an amateur radio operator and Cienega School administrator checked in with 25 students and staff on the school’s radio.


Sara Steiner/KJ6SAS, SBCARA board member, called in from the Willow Grove school with 13 students and three staff.


Finally, Clark Stone/KK6UGA, SBCARA member, was stationed at the Panoche School with 11 students and one teacher. This made a grand total of 67 people.


These three schools, along with Jefferson and Bitterwater-Tully Schools, are part of a multi-year effort to connect all of San Benito County’s rural schools via amateur radio.


Members of the SBCARA have been working to equip, and train interested staff and students with amateur radios so they can call-in in the event of local or major disasters (events like the ShakeOut are used as training). With little to no cellular and internet coverage, amateur radio is the natural choice for connectivity for these rural schools. The radio stations set up in the schools have batteries that allow the stand-alone radios and antennas to function for many hours without external power.


Steiner wrote grants that secured funds from the 2019 Monterey Peninsula Foundation. This effort was also funded in part by a 2021 Community Impact Grant from the Community Foundation for San Benito County.


If you would like to know more about emergency communication in San Benito County and amateur radio, please visit http://sbcara.org.


For more information about the International ShakeOut, please go to their website at http://shakeout.org


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