|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - August 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Onalaska’s emergency radio station is on the air at AM 1610
Polk County Enterprise - August 2009
Onalaska Mayor Lew Vail announced Monday radio station AM 1610 is on the air in downtown Onalaska. The radio station is the City of Onalaska’s radio station to be activated during emergency situations such as the major power outage last year during and after Hurricane Ike. “The radio station has a radius of at least one mile from City Hall and will be a benefit during storms or major power outages,” said Mayor Lew Vail. The station is broadcasting a “loop” message lasting under two minutes. The test message asks residents to call in if they can hear the signal to give City Hall an estimate of how far the signal travels. Also in preparation of emergency situations, members of the Upper Lake Livingston Wireless Association, Polk County Emergency Management and local fire departments are taking steps to ensure communication throughout the county during a major power outage. Polk County fire departments will have a licensed HAM operator at each station and various operators throughout communities. HAM operators usually take advantage of the wireless communication system to communicate with each other as a hobby but they are also able to support communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary. HAM communication also does not interfere with other forms of public information during emergency situations. Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department volunteers currently include licensed HAM operators. Other local residents who enjoy HAM radio as a hobby can be activated for public service during an emergency. Communication during emergencies can include distribution sites for supplies, traffic and road conditions and weather updates.