Second-tier Support for the UK’s Emergency Services

RaynetWho are they?
Mid-Herts RAYNET.

Where are they?

What do they do?
Provide radio communications as a backup to the emergency services and for local events where it is required.

How big are they?
15 members; a budget of less than £3000.

What did they receive?
Office Professional 2003; Office XP Professional; Encarta Premium 2008; Publisher 2007; Frontpage 2003; MapPoint 2006 Europe.

The outcome?
Laptop is now up-to-date with software required to keep the organisation running smoothly.

November 2007. Exceptionally high tides are forecast for the East of England; flood warnings have been issued and many people have left their homes as a precaution. Alongside the blue lights of frontline emergency services, a well-drilled network of volunteers prepare to move into action should the worst happen.

“Yes – many of us keep 24-hour emergency bags in our cars,” explains Keith Batchelor cheerfully. “Just add fresh water and we’re ready to go.”

Keith is secretary to the Mid-Hertfordshire branch of RAYNET. An organisation formed in the 1950’s to provide organised radio communications in the event of a disaster, the ‘Radio Amateur Emergency Network’ brings together licensed volunteers with radio expertise to help vital services communicate in times of crisis.

As operational training, the organisation provides a backbone of radio support for large community events such as marathons and charity cycle rides. It’s here that the skills and procedures required to take part in a big operation become second nature to the volunteers. It’s also an important safety role for spectators, the competitors themselves and other support services such as St John Ambulance or Red Cross.

Because volunteers use their own equipment, the charity has few physical assets, and whilst they will sometimes be offered a donation for their services, this is not something that is expected.  Acquiring a laptop for the organisation’s use was therefore a big deal – but software has been provided via donations from the Microsoft CTX programme.

“We use it for correspondence, for PowerPoint presentations and particularly for training new and existing volunteers at our monthly training evening,” explains Keith. He cites the MapPoint software in particular. This allows them to easily examine the geographical coverage of a major event and pinpoint exactly where best to place radio points, bearing in mind the route competitors will take and the distance operators will have to walk between stations. Without the CTX scheme, paying market rates for this software would have been difficult? “It’s saved our organisation a fortune,” replies Keith.



This site is using cookies.
Session Cookie: Looks like: SESS636698fd811c0f0105518e7332ea5f41

A unique session ID. This expires when you stop using the site
Show the cookie icon?