Dedicated Emergency Channels used for ‘chit-chat’ costs a life
By Alison Huth
Martin Howells, Chief Commissioner, Australian Citizens Radio Emergency Monitors Inc. (ACREM) Emergency Communications, contacted WUDU to see if they could help.
ACREM has appealed to anyone who uses a UHF/CB radio while they are on the road, or even at home. It seems that the dedicated emergency channels are being used for chit chat, and this is a major problem.
According to Martin “To give you some idea of why an ill funded volunteer group is so desperate to promote these channels (other than the fact our volunteers deal with the abuse every day) comes from the early 2000’s, before we officially expanded into Queensland.
“The story relayed to us was that volunteers monitoring the emergency channel took some 40 minutes to convince people using the channel for chit-chat to move to another channel. Only after they moved did the monitors hear a call for help – a car accident where there was no mobile phone coverage.
“Unfortunately in the 40 minutes it took to clear the channel the caller had watched his friend pass away. This devastated the volunteers receiving the call and started our vow to do whatever we could to promote the emergency channels and their proper use.”
Channel 5 and 35 are dedication emergency channels only. A UHF radio is classed as a CB (Citizens Band) radio and the legal restrictions that apply to CB also apply to UHF. Basically, stay away from 5 and 35.