Aroostook County does not often see great impacts from hurricanes and tornadoes, but the region is at risk for widespread power outages during snow, wind or ice storms.
When those emergencies happen, Caribou Emergency Amateur Radio Service wants to ensure ham radio is a consistent back-up for first responders and residents of outlying towns.
The nonprofit group is raising money to build a nearly 200-foot emergency amateur radio tower to bridge communication gaps between Caribou and the St. John Valley.
Public safety responders in Aroostook benefit from towers scattered throughout The County, but those are operated and used by local law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics.
Amateur radio groups primarily use ham radio towers for their hobby. But those towers can become crucial back-up if public safety infrastructure becomes compromised in a major weather event.
Aroostook’s geographic isolation also can put residents at risk if cell phone service gets spotty or stops altogether, said T.H. Merritt, president of Caribou Emergency Amateur Radio Service.