News release 3/14/2010
Lake County Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Helps with “ ibini tera “
Lake County’s lakes are a lot cleaner now thanks to the ibini tera lake cleanup project that took place on Saturday morning March 13, 2010. This is a “ clean up our lakes “ event that takes place each year around this time for which hundreds of volunteers gather up trash bags and walk the shores of Lake County Florida’s larger lakes picking up cans, bottles , plastic bags, old tires and anything else they see that shouldn’t be there. Some of the volunteers bring along their boats and patrol the lakes looking for large floating objects that could be hazards to navigation. In the past such things as a sofa, pilings and a partially submerged boat were found.
This lake clean up is a joint venture between the St. Johns Water Management District , Lake County Water Authority and Lake County of Florida. Some of the community organizations that also sponsor the event are the City of Leesburg, Cemex, Sea\\Tow , WAV. ,and the Daily Commercial newspaper. The Lake County Amateur Radio Emergency Service also takes part by providing radio communication between each of twelve clean up sites throughout the county. The Hickory Point Recreational Facility on Lake Harris is the hub of all this activity and where Lake CountyARES sets up it’s net control station. Results from the separate clean up sites are radioed to the ARES net control station and tallied up so that awards can be given out in a timely manner by early afternoon. Awards such as who found the largest object, what was the most unusual object found , who was the oldest and the youngest volunteer , are just a few of the awards handed out . The ham radio operators volunteer their time and radio equipment to help make this project a success.
This year the Lake County ARES group had twelve volunteers on the job some doing double duty by fulfilling the role as site clean up captain as well as ham radio communicator.
The hams enjoy this activity and join in the festivities that take place afterwards but there is a serious side to this as well. This is considered a practice session for those times when they may be called upon to provide emergency communications during times of natural or manmade disasters. When hurricanes and tornados blow down power and telephone lines they are ready to assist first responders such as police and fire departments with portable and mobile communications. In the not too distant past ham radio operators from Lake County have been deployed to man emergency shelters and National Guard staging areas to provide communications back to the Lake County Emergency Operations Center in Tavares, Florida.
If you would like to learn more about amateur radio or ARES please check out the following web sites. < www.n4fla.org > < www.k4fc.org >
Pictures available on request.
John T Luebbers
Lake County ARES PIO