During the wildfires at Midland and Ft. Myers on April 9th, KE5MKT of Midland became aware of individuals, via local repeater traffic, who were trying to locate family members who had possibly been evacuated. After exhausting other means of obtaining information, and while preparing to evacuate his own home, KE5MKT posted an urgent request for information related to the evacuations on his Twitter account. KE5ZRT and KE5ZRU of Amarillo were monitoring the newly created Twitter account representing the PARC ARES group, @PanhandleARES, and responded to the request for information by calling the Sheriff departments at nearby Fort Stockton, Alpine and Balmorhea. It was determined that 300 residents had been evacuated from Fort Myers to the Red Cross shelter at Balmorhea. KE5ZRU relayed this information via EchoLink to KE5MKT who was then able to share this information via RF and Twitter to locals that needed the information. Throughout the night, KE5MKT continued to pass health and welfare traffic utilizing both Twitter and amateur radio. Additionally, the Big Bend Emergency net was initiated on 3.922 to aid in communication efforts.
Extra Class Amateur (Ham) Radio Operator, VE, SKYWARN Storm Spotter, ARES Volunteer, TSA Security Officer, Full-time RV dweller (Amarillo TX for now), webmaster www.PanhandleARES.org
, Married to ke5zru!