by Craig Dirkes
The St. Paul Fire Department has donated thousands of dollars’ worth of radio equipment to The Salvation Army, including ham radios and a 50-foot antennae.
The gear will allow emergency disaster services teams to communicate with one another and with disaster officials regardless of distance or electricity supply.
“Often after a disaster, cell towers are down, emergency power is out, and communication is needed,” said Jim Daly, a longtime Salvation Army disaster volunteer. “If there’s no cell service, there’s really no way to communicate.”
Daly helps oversee disaster responses in the Northern Division and is often deployed to serve at high-profile disasters around the country. He and others are excited about the new radio equipment because it will allow The Salvation Army to create a mobile command center that can be taken virtually anywhere.
“We have a 17-foot trailer that we will be outfitting with a good portion of the new radio equipment,” said Major Rae Doliber, Northern disaster services secretary. “Having this mobile command center will not only help us at the point of disaster, but at training events we participate in with the government and military.”
Other pieces of the equipment will be installed in the emergency operations center at the Northern Divisional Headquarters and in mobile kitchens that provide food, water, flood kits and other supplies for disaster survivors and first responders.
The City of St. Paul originally bought the radio equipment to prepare for Y2K but hadn’t used it for many years.
“We are thankful for this donation and the new opportunities it gives us to help people,” said the major.