BCARES participates in a variety of planned events every year in addition to supporting our served agencies during unplanned emergencies.
Fortunately, true emergency communications services are not often in high demand. However, the same skills, technologies, and spirit of volunteering are appropriate for a variety of planned events.
BCARES offers its services for bicycle races, football games, parades, and other public events, at the request of our served agencies.
For bicycle races throughout the year, we provide voice communications from roving support vehicles and rest stops. This includes health and safety traffic (e.g., when a rider is injured or a bicycle is damaged) and secondarily logistical coordination for event planners (e.g., how best to distribute the available supply of water and food at rest stops as the event progresses).
At parades and road races, we may be stationed along the route, watching for anyone in need of assistance — thus acting in a public safety role, able to contact.
And at CU football games, we provide Amateur Television support to the CU police department, offering video coverage from outside the stadium so event planners can see a real-time, close-up view of police and medical interactions, and of course can have the same video saved to memory sticks for future review.
Training and Exercises
While all BCARES activities serve in part as training for emergencies, we also participate in some exercises designed solely as training events. Some of these may be specific to amateur radio, but most are exercises our served agencies coordinate.
These exercises simulate large-scale emergencies, requiring the involvement of medical crews, law enforcement, fire crews, and communications services like us.
The support of BCARES is written into formal emergency response plans throughout Boulder County. In an emergency, we may be called upon to provide communications. BCARES officers carry pagers that allow our served agencies to get in touch with us 24/7, and officers can initiate a call-out of BCARES members.
In the recent past, our biggest contributions have been during large forest fires in the Boulder area, where we've been able to provide live TV coverage of burn areas (allowing fire crews to assess where to deploy resources) and to establish stable communications links to Red Cross shelters, typically via packet radio.
Notably, our contributions in an emergency are often through digital modes and television. The prevelence
To raise awareness of BCARES and its activities, we staff a table at each of the two major swapfests held in Boulder County every year.
- LARCfest is held the first Saturday in April
- BARCfest is held the fourth Sunday in September
These events advertise BCARES to fellow hams attending the events. BCARES also occasionally receives wider publicity during actual emergencies as reporters investigate general emergency response activities in the area.