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Tribe Strengthens Emergency Radio Capabilities

During the month of September, as part of National Preparedness Month, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians worked with the San Gorgonio Pass Amateur Radio Club (SPARC) to test its amateur radio communications between the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The tests were to interconnect the four reservations and ensure that emergency communications could be made between the tribes if they needed each other’s assistance during major emergencies or disasters.

Each of the four Southern California Tribes that participated in this exercise face significant threats that they are continuously preparing for. During National Preparedness Month the Morongo Band of Mission Indians completely revamped its emergency communications room (See Images Below). Focus on the revamp inside the Emergency Operations Center was to increase amateur radios and work with the local amateur radio group. Amateur radios are often the only means of communicating during disasters as cell and satellite phones are busy. Some of the emergency planners working on the effort noted that even during minor tremblers cell phone services become useless, so alternative communications are required.

Many efforts the Tribe undertakes are generated from its monthly disaster preparedness meetings known as “First Thursdays.” In addition to the amateur radio effort, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians is also working on its own Reservation Disaster Radio Network, installation of low-power radio broadcast stations, and using its cable system for warning the population on the reservation.