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WALDO ‒ On June 25, during national American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Ham Radio Field Day, the public is invited to see the debut of the newly-created Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the City of Waldo. The Gainesville Amateur Radio Society (GARS) has joined forces with Waldo City management to establish a room at Waldo City Square to serve residents with emergency communications, even when cell phones and the internet are non-functioning.

All over North America, Field Day simulates these conditions, emergency communications are practiced and the public is invited to come and talk on the radios.

Waldo City Manager Kim Worley welcomed the offer from GARS to do the labor and planning of the room and to set up the radios that will be used to gather and share information to help local officials assist citizens during a crisis.

“We have two Council members who are Amateur Radio operators. During Hurricane Irma, people set up here informally to relay messages, but now we will have an established EOC. The major storms in South Florida showed governments that when cell towers and the internet are down, important information is scarce,” said Worley.

The furniture for the room was drawn from surplus and the radios are made available by GARS, “The Waldo EOC is being created through a collaboration of GARS volunteers and the City of Waldo,” said Club Vice-President and Waldo Council Member Shannon Boal. “GARS members hope this EOC relationship can exemplify the spirit that drives volunteer fire departments to help the community.”

Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio's science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.

ARRL Field Day starts at 2 p.m. at the Waldo City Square, 14450 N.E. 148th Avenue and runs for 24 hours. Adults and youth are invited to come by on Saturday afternoon to join the Club’s activities. For more information, go online to GARS.club.

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