Ham Radio. Irma and the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

The following bulletin has been issued by the ARRL on communications between Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the US Mainland

ARRL HQ Update #2 at 1900 UTC on September 7, 2017
The ARRL Headquarters has started receiving health and welfare inquiries from family members in the Continental United States (CONUS) for the US Virgin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico (PR). At this point we have not heard from anyone in PR.
Eearlier today ARRL Emergency Preparedness Assistant Ken Bailey, K1FUG, spoke with the USVI SM Fred Kleber, K9VV. Here is an update from him.
“Fred has communications capability on 80, 60, 40, 20 metres and has been in contact with the Red Cross, and getting lots of help from FEMA, National Guard, US naval ships.  They are currently in the search and rescue mode on St. Thomas, St. John’s, and St. Croix all of which have been severely impacted.  Work continues on evacuating people from the islands in St Thomas harbour, damaged hospitals and other buildings and providing shelter and meals in the form of MRE’s and water.
Traffic is being passed from his location to stations in PR and the HWN but communications has been compromised by the solar flares of earlier today. Priority messages being passed at this time, with health and welfare to follow when they can.
1) Another solar flare occurred today resulting in loss of HF capability.
2) We will have W1AW in monitoring mode today through SaturdaySunday we plan on activating W1AW.
3) If you have an HF net active please let us know so we can get the word out on frequencies to keep clear.
4) Ham Aid equipment has been deployed to the West Central Florida section. The window to get additional gear deployed is quickly closing, so if you have a request get it in NOW.
Ham-Aid information can be found at http://www.arrl.org/ham-aid.
5) Requests for Ham Aid equipment should be submitted as soon as possible. If you wait too late we may not be able to get it to you.
6) Correction:  Use of the 60 metre interop channels has been authorized. Channel 1 (5330.5 KHz) will be for VOICE and channel 2 (5346.5 KHz) will be for DATA. Direct communication between federal and Amateur stations is permitted.
7) FEMA will be using special callsigns if/when on Amateur bands. These callsigns spell FEMA i.e. KF4EMA, WF3EMA, NF2EMA, etc.
8) Please provide regular sitreps to ARRL HQ.
9) If you receive a request for information from a national entity (federal partner, national level NGO, etc.) please refer them to Mike Corey, KI1U, at ARRL HQ ki1u@arrl.org
10) Make sure you are sending your media and PR info to the right ARRL HQ contacts. News items go to Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, ww1me@roadrunner.com, and Social Media items and Media Hits to ARRL Social Media Specialist Michelle Patnode, mpatnode@arrl.org
11) Remember this is as much an IARU Region 2 event as it is a US event. Amateurs in Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic will also be active. There may be health and welfare requests that come from the islands directed to family in the States.
12) As we get information from national partners we will distribute it in further updates.
There is a dedicated landing page set up for Irma at www.arrl.org/irma If you need something added let Mike Corey, KI1U, know.
Remember, you first priority is to make sure you and your family are safe. If you need anything from ARRL HQ please email or call Mike Corey, KI1U, ki1u@arrl.org 860-594-0222
Mike Corey, KI1U
Emergency Preparedness Manager
Doug Mercer, VO1DM CEC
RAC Vice-President and Community Services Officer
Emergency Coordinator IARU Region 2