The purpose of the EPAP organization in Sun Lakes is to prepare for and respond to the occurrence of a catastrophic event affecting our community. When a disaster occurs, electrical power can fail, and telephone, cell-phone and internet networks can stop working, cutting off Sun Lakes from outside assistance.

A critical part of the EPAP program is the Radio Communications System that is independent of electrical, telephone and internet utilities. This system provides an essential link with fire, law enforcement, and medical response agencies, and enables communication with District EPAP volunteers within Sun Lakes.

The EPAP Communications team provides an effective network for radio messaging in any emergency. All radio equipment is powered by emergency power, assuring reliable communications. Trained radio operators are Sun Lakes residents who represent each District.

In addition to this network, Amateur Radio Operators (‘Hams”) provide communications with Banning, Beaumont, local hospitals and medical centers, as well as other nearby communities and Riverside County Emergency Services.

When a disaster occurs, volunteers report to the EPAP Operations Center and set up operations. The Radio Communications Team establishes a network of contacts with Sun Lakes Districts, city and local emergency operations centers, hospitals, and radio operators in neighboring communities. This lifeline to the outside world is essential to send and receive information, request assistance, and keep track of Sun Lakes residents who have been sent to hospitals.

Within each District, radio operators relay vital information to the District EPAP Coordinator, who in turn contacts the Operations Center. Radio operators also support each District Medical Response Team, and can request essential medical assistance from the Operations Center to aid residents. During an emergency, EPAP volunteers will be needed 24/7 to carry out operations.

According to Dick Heitman, Communications Unit Director, “we are facing a shortage of volunteers who are willing to help staff the Operations Center and District teams in an Emergency.“

Training is provided, so that in an actual emergency each Team member will know exactly what to do. Helpers as well as radio operators are needed, and no experience is needed.

Visitors are welcome at the EPAP Radio Check-in Drills held on the first Monday of each month at 8:00 a.m. at the EPAP Operations Center in the Maintenance Building.

For information contact Dick Heitman (951) 769-1096, or dickheitman@gmail.com.

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