AS HURRICANE SANDY approached the Philly region Monday afternoon, the emergency shelter at Cheltenham High School was more than ready to withstand Sandy's best punch.
In addition to 100 cots, three prepared meals a day, a nurse, a mental-health professional and a generator, the shelter also has two volunteer amateur-radio operators working 12-hour shifts to provide emergency communications between the shelter and Montgomery County's Emergency Operations Center in Eagleville and the American Red Cross.
"We basically provide emergency backup communications if all power goes out," said Ed Kenna, a volunteer with the Auxiliary Communications Service, which works with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. "I brought a battery I can operate off . . . for 12 hours if we lose power," said Kenna, 54, a database administrator for an advertising agency. If there was a medical emergency at the shelter and all power was lost, Kenna said, he could use the ham radio to get an ambulance dispatched to the shelter.