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Most of the information pertaining to emergency operation procedures is contained in the RIC-22 document. Although this document was originally created for the Restricted Operator's Certificate, which is no longer being issued, the general information provided is still relevant to all radio operators, and continues to be offered for that purpose.
Below is a summary of the general information relating to emergency communication. More details can be found in the RIC-22 document.
Important Disclaimer: The distress communications procedures outlined below should not prevent a station in distress from making use of any means at its disposal to attract attention, to make known its position, and to obtain assistance.
In radiotelephony (voice), the spoken word for distress is “MAYDAY” spoken three times and pronounced as the French m'aider. In CW (Morse code) it is “SOS”. Since the distress call has absolute priority over all other transmissions, all stations who hear it must immediately cease regular transmission and continue to listen on the frequency.
The distress call should have the following form:
[call sign of the station in distress](spoken three times).
To interrupt a lower priority conversation to signal a distress call, break-in immediately following the transmission of the active party with the above sequence.
If you hear a distress call:
To acknowledge the receipt of a distress message, use the following form:
[call sign of the station in distress](spoken three times)
[your call sign](spoken three times)
The urgency signal indicates that the station calling has a very urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of a station or a person, but does not require immediate assistance. The urgency signal and message may be addressed to all stations or to a specific station.
The urgency signal is the word “PAN PAN” spoken three times and can be addressed to “ALL STATIONS” or to a specific station.
The urgency call should have the following form:
[the name of the station addressed]or the words “ALL STATIONS” (three times)
[your call sign]
[the nature of the urgency condition and other useful information]
The urgency signal has priority over all other communications except distress.
Stations that hear the urgency signal shall continue to listen for at least three minutes on the frequency which the signal was heard. After that, if no urgency message has been heard, stations may resume normal service. All stations that hear the urgency signal must take care not to interfere with the urgency message that follows.
The safety signal is used mainly in the maritime mobile service. It indicates that the station calling is about to transmit a message concerning the safety of navigation or important meteorological warnings.
The safety signal is the word “SECURITE” spoken three times and pronounced as the French sécurité and can be addressed to “ALL STATIONS” or to a specific station.
The safety call should have the following form:
[the station addressed]or “ALL STATIONS” (repeated three times)
[your call sign]
[the nature of the condition]
[your call sign]
In a real or simulated emergency, a person operating radio apparatus in the amateur radio service may only communicate with a radio station that is in the amateur radio service in order to transmit a message that relates to the real or simulated emergency on behalf of a person, government or relief organization. 6)