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Urgent Call to Action: HAM Operators for Emergency Comms in Panama City, FL Area

 

Attention all HAM radio operators:  We need HAM operators to help in Bay County, FL (Panama City, Mexico Beach, etc.). Cell phone signal is very poor and sometimes non-existent. Power is still out for most of the area. We would like to increase communications capabilities in the hard hit Florida Panhandle during the disaster relief period.

You DO NOT have to be a member of Oath Keepers to volunteer for this.

The request is for HAM operators who can be totally self-sufficient and self-sustaining for seven days in an area that has been nearly totally devastated by the hurricane. That means you need to roll in ready to operate your radio on your own in a place without power, out of your vehicle or, at best, in an improvised station. Be prepared to operate entirely on your own, when it comes to shelter, food, water, fuel, batteries, light, solar charger or generator, etc.

We do have a local business shop owned by an Oath Keeper that we will be using as a rally point/base of operation for the Panama City area, and a local residence that can provide good well water, but please bring some backup bottled water just in case you are sent to another area, and please bring your own water containers to fill for your own use. And please understand you will likely be tasked with going out into another area to provide emergency comms and you cannot count on being able to sleep in that shop. Be ready to use your own tent or tarp for shelter, or to sleep in your vehicle.  If you have a cot, it is strongly advised you bring it. See our general CALL TO ACTION for other recommend gear.

NOTE:  If you cannot come in person to help, please donate to help us with fuel and other expenses for our volunteers. The fuel bill alone will be significant.

DONATE HERE

The Panama City Oath Keepers rally point/base of operations is at: 

SVS Inc.

2513 Jinks Ave

Panama City, FL 32405

Local Panama City Oath Keepers leader:  Charlie Huffman (also one of our HAM radio leaders).  His cell is 850-381-4994

 

How to volunteer:

  1.  Call Don Esty at 850-292-9930.   That is his primary.  For backup, if he doesn’t answer his cell, then call the Pensacola Oath Keepers operations phone at 850-454-5366.   Don is a 30 year HAM operator and Search and Rescue leader in Pensacola who can give you info on what you need to bring to be effective in the area, and he is also part of our vetting team and is helping us keep track of volunteers.  He can also give you info on the best route in.   Please be sure to call him before you leave your home. Please also email us at:  volunteers@oathkeepers.org with “HAM Volunteer for Panama City” in subject line, and give us your name, number, ETA, where you are from, etc. so we can better keep track of volunteers.
  2. If you are coming in from anywhere West of Pensacola, FL, please stop at our Pensacola rally point/deployment base first, before you go into Panama City, to be in-processed, to be sure you have everything you need before you get into an area where supplies are severely limited, or non-existent, and so you can be given guidance on getting in. The Pensacola rally point/base is at: 310 John Gray Street Pensacola, FL 32505Contact/Local leaders:  Alan Flowers and Don EstyContact number:850-454-5366 (operations phone) or Don Esty’s cell at 850-292-9930After stopping there at the Pensacola base and being in-processed, you can proceed to the Panama City rally point/base of operations.
  3. If you are coming from Southern or Eastern Florida, go straight to the Panama City shop we are using as a rally point/base of  operations. But please do also call Don Esty at 850-292-9930 so he knows you’re coming.

Panama City rally point/base is at:

SVS Inc.

2513 Jinks Ave,

Panama City, FL 32405

Local Panama City Oath Keepers leader:  Charlie Huffman (also one of our HAM radio leaders).  His cell is 850-381-4994

 

Once you arrive at the shop in Panama City, Charlie will help you plug in with the Panama City EOC and get you deployed out to help with communications.

Any questions, please call Don Esty at 850-292-9930 and/or Charlie Huffman at 850-381-4994.

NOTE:  Please be prepared to provide for your own security, and if you have someone you can bring with you to help watch your back, that would be a good idea (from past experience, it is best to have someone else with you anyway, for many reasons). There is a heavy police presence in the Panama City area, but there has been some looting reported by business owners (we already have one request from a business owner to help with security for their business if we can spare the manpower) and it is best for you to keep your own security well in mind.

Florida is a concealed carry only state, so if you carry a firearm  on your person it needs to be concealed, with a permit from Florida or from a state with reciprocity. With or without a permit, you can have a loaded handgun in your vehicle, but it must be concealed (i.e. it can be in a shoebox with a lid, briefcase, bag, etc. so long as it is concealed). Long guns need to be kept in the vehicle (and only brought out in event of a life threatening emergency, or when on private property with permission of the owner), and long guns in vehicles must be kept in some form of case or container, again, so it is not visible. Any questions on Florida firearms laws, please call Don Esty at 850-292-9930 (he is a Florida firearms instructor).

 

OTHER SKILLSETS NEEDED IN PANAMA CITY AREA:

In addition to HAM radio operators, we also need:

  1. Emergency medical personnel.  The local hospitals are shut down and there is only one emergency trauma center running in Panama City so we do desperately need medical personnel who can go out to do wellness checks.  We already have a small (two person) medical team going in today, with a retired police officer and fire-fighter as security escort, but we need more medical personnel.  We will provide security for you.  Please volunteer.  Call 850-454-5366.  if no answer there, then call Don Esty at850-292-9930.  And please also email us at:   volunteers@oathkeepers.org
  2. Help clearing downed trees and roads blocked by debris.   Bring any tools that are useful for such work. i.e. chainsaws, hand-saws, axes, 6′ or 8′ digging bar (pry-bar), bolt cutters, etc.  A winch or come-along would be great, if you have it, and anything else that is useful for such work.  Bring as much fuel as you can safely bring, or empty fuel containers (you can fill before you enter the affected area).
  3. Security for medical and HAM teams.   There is a fairly strong police presence in the Panama City area, but we do want our medical teams and HAM radio operators to be safe, so we could use some security trained and experienced people to be security escorts. Must have a concealed carry permit that is recognized by Florida. We have also had a request from a local business owner who has experienced some break-ins, to assist with preventing looting, if we have enough man-power to spare. But please keep in mind that security is a secondary mission for this area. Primary is emergency communications, emergency medical, and road clearing. The greater security need is for our other operation in the small town in the Florida pan-handle that has formally requested our help securing the town.  See the other call to action on that security mission.

 

To help us support and expand this disaster relief operation, please

DONATE HERE

 

Urgent Call to Action: HAM Operators for Emergency Comms in Panama City, FL Area
Aftermath of Hurricane Michael. weather.com

 

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Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.

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2 comments

  1. I have been studying for my HAM radio license but haven’t completed it … BUT … I’m recently Early retired and have a 22′ travel trailer and the truck and funds needed to take it there and provide support if I could learn from a licensed operator that doesn’t have such accommodations. It would be a great learning experience for me, so I’d be glad to pay for the expenses. I don’t have a generator right now, as most Texas Parks don’t allow them, but I could get one, or maybe another member could volunteer the use of one. It sure would be nice to have enough to run my 30 amp system enough to cool the air/dehumidify a couple of hours a day.

    Just an idea and offer. I’ve been through it here in the southeast Texas area through the years and love to help when I can. I’m also in good physical shape for my late 50’s and can do a good amount of work to help out, I had first responder and blood-born pathogen training, HOWEVER, my certifications are not current. (Maybe something we could work on as OathKeepers to self-pay to keep those current?)

    At any rate … I’m willing to go and fund the trip and learn. I am a female, but kind of a “hunting/fishing/tomboy” gal and would be fine with a well-behaved guy to facilitate this effort.

  2. Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief Communications Team was requested by FL and left yesterday to set up in Panama City. These guys also responded to the request to go to Puerto Rico.

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