At the time that the WCOARA was formed on 29 August 2000, it was implicitly understood by the former members of the Kettering Medical Center Amateur Radio Association (KMCARA), when they adopted the WCOARA Constitution and By-Laws, that the WCOARA would continue to provide members to support the mission and communications needs of the Kettering Medical Center (KMC), and, by implication, those of its restructured successor the Kettering Health Network (KHN). This commitment includes, but is not restricted to, staffing the KHN’s radios during emergencies and training exercises, providing radio support using the members’ handheld radios, when portable communication needs exist within or beyond the confines of the KHN Hospitals, providing radio support using the member’s portable or mobile radios, for example, during the transport of hospital staff during a snow emergency, by utilizing the WCOARA and other amateur radio repeater systems to communicate hospital needs and information, and to coordinate with the West Central Ohio District 3 Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) or if warranted with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA).
Since the formation of the WCOARA, the form of the support needed by the KHN and by the west-central Ohio region have evolved. Shortly after the formation of the KHN, the WCOARA assumed the responsibility, to provide members, to staff the radios at the Grandview Medical Center, in addition to the KMC, during emergencies and exercises. Coincidentally, a regional effort was initiated to improve cooperation and communications between west central Ohio hospitals. This effort was implemented under the auspices of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA), and eventually led to the realization that ARES, and the larger networks of hospitals, such as the KHN, would have to coordinate and set up, an amateur radio repeater hosted system of communications nets, as a practical means for hospitals to continue to exchange information, when the normal means that hospitals use to communicate are disrupted during times of emergency. To meet this need, the KHN has expanded the capabilities, and the radio signal coverage area, of its W8KMC, 147.075 MHz repeater, to encompass all of its major medical facilities.
The WCOARA and the KHN repeater systems have had and continue to enjoy a close mutually supportive relationship over the years. Because of this new KHN emergency communication need, and since KHN no longer has a pool of amateur radio operators, to operate and maintain the W8KMC system, the WCOARA will endeavor to fulfill this role, and has already expanded its support for this repeater system, by making arrangements to provide members who will serve as net controls and liaison stations, during emergencies, exercises, and, when required, to satisfy other public service needs.
The Purpose of this WCOARA Policy Statement
Because the preceding implicit WCOARA commitment has actually been in place, and in operation, for almost twenty years, the purpose of this WCOARA Policy statement is to explicitly correct the omission of this commitment from the WCOARA Constitution and By-Laws, by enshrining it in a written form, and to clarify this commitment for the benefit of current and future WCOARA members.
Continuity of the WCOARA Commitment
As time has passed, and driven by technological advancements, the amateur radio emergency communications needs of the KHN have evolved, and historically, the WCOARA has responded by modifying the form of its support to conform to the changing needs of the KHN. It is anticipated that the emergency communications support needs of the KHN will continue to evolve in the future. It is the intent of this WCOARA Policy that the commitment of future support for the KHN will be interpreted as having the flexibility needed to adapt the commitment to meet the future needs of the KHN as they evolve, without having to make written changes to this document.