FEMA, ARRL sign cooperative agreement

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) announced on Friday a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in the area of disaster communication.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and ARRL President Craigie signed the agreement, which aims to raise awareness of amateur radio while sharing resources between the two organizations, at the ARRL National Centennial Convention in Hartford, Conn., according to a FEMA press release.

"Radio is one of the most resilient communications technologies we have," Fugate said. "When the power is out and telecommunications are down, the amateur radio community can serve as a vital resource in support of emergency responders and survivors during a disaster. This MOA will strengthen FEMA's partnership with ARRL and build upon our work to expand emergency communications capabilities and the use of amateur radio in emergency management."

The agreement outlines ways for FEMA and ARRL to cooperate with respect to disaster mitigation and preparedness operations. It also sets forth terms by which the organizations will provide resources, services and personnel.

Federally-licensed amateur radio operators have been responding to disasters since the early 20th century. The agreement between FEMA and ARRL aims to encourage first responders and other citizens to join the ranks of radio amateurs.