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Potential Eagle Scout working on Emergency Communication Network | News

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Potential Eagle Scout working on Emergency Communication Network
Potential Eagle Scout working on Emergency Communication Network

Land O'Lakes, Florida -- Kiran Shila, age 17, is a Boy Scout in Troop 314 is in his final step to becoming an Eagle Scout.

One of the many requirements for this award is the creation of a service project that benefits the community. Kiran has been a licensed Amateur Radio operator since he was 12 years old, which made the decision to have it as the backbone of his project and easy one. Kiran is going to construct an Emergency Communication Network around Hillsborough County using Ham Radio. This entails creating “Go Boxes” that are portable stations and placing them in three public schools. These schools are Emergency Operation Centers as well as shelters. Kiran plans to start work in June and finish in late summer, just in time for Hurricane season.

Ham Radio already has a well established reputation in the emergency operations community. Local volunteers can join the Amateur Radio Emergency Service or Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, ARES and RACES, respectively, to serve as control operators for emergency response stations. These organizations have charters all over the United States and Canada and have ties to the Red Cross and government agencies. They have shown themselves as a valuable resource when they organized the communication from the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. These volunteers pack up their own equipment and head out to shelters or places of need in an emergency situation as to establish communication when other forms have failed. This is where Kiran saw an opportunity. Instead of spending extra time getting together equipment, he could put the equipment where it needed to be and organize a separate School to School network. This would save time in a crisis situation and provide another layer of redundancy to communication when needed.

Work has already begun on fundraising and design, with the hopes of being able to start purchasing equipment and constructing boxes by the start of next month. The first school to receive one of these stations is Steinbrenner High School in Lutz, the school Kiran attends. Then, pending design considerations and suggestions from local ARES directors, he will expand the project to two more schools. The total budget is around $4,100 for the three stations and that is where he needs help. If you would like to donate, please contact Kiran at kiran.shila@yahoo.com

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