ARES E-Letter for November 29, 2007
The ARES E-Letter November 29, 2007 ================= Rick Palm, K1CE, Editor <http://www.qrz.com/database?callsign=K1CE>, =================================== ARES reports, other related contributions, editorial questions or comments: <email@example.com>;; =================================== In This Issue: + October 18 Tornado Responses + Winnebago County, Illinois ARES Supports 2007 Head of the Rock Regatta + Ham Radio Operators Gear Up for Special Olympics Dress Rehearsal + Gwinnett County (GA) SET Supports Homeland Security + LETTERS: SETS of UFOs + LETTERS: SATERN's National Director Offers Background + LETTERS: Add Other Red Cross Training + LETTERS: Dura is Dead On! + LETTERS: AHA Leader in CPR/AEC/First Aid + LETTERS: SET on Weekdays Versus Weekends + WXSpots Fills the Gaps in Alabama Weather Event + LETTERS: REACT, Just REACT + LETTERS: CEM's Should Be Exempt from ARES Requirements + LETTERS: NIMS Five Year Plan Means ARES Needs ICS/NIMS Certifications + National Fire Academy On-Line Training Available + K1CE For a Final --------- + October 18 Tornado Responses On October 18, a strong low pressure system centered over Minnesota touched off major thunderstorms throughout Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and to the panhandle of Florida. These storms produced about 35 tornados. In Wisconsin, SEC and State RACES Officer William M. Niemuth, KB9ENO, reported "We activated SKYWARN, but the one tornado to touch down was small and short-lived." In Michigan, Ingham was the hardest hit, with ARES activating. Lapeer ARES was also activated. Caro had a particularly interesting night: ARES ops ran their SKYWARN net until after midnight, then shut down and went to bed. A few minutes later a tornado touched down with the damage being very localized. The ARES ops did not realize they had been hit until morning. Tornado response information can be found on the Michigan ARPSC Web site <http://arpsc.mi-nts.org/>. -- John J. McDonough, WB8RCR, SEC/State Radio Officer, Michigan In Kentucky, SKYWARN was activated for the largest October tornado outbreak ever seen in the region. Eight tornadoes spun across the area. The strongest was an EF3 that destroyed homes in southeastern Clark County, Indiana. Fortunately no lives were lost. Tornado warnings were issued throughout the state, and SKYWARN activated a net at the Louisville NWS using the call sign WX4NWS. Ten counties in Kentucky were affected, with 50 ops activating. The KY4KY net handled 50 messages for the Louisville National Weather Service. - EC Stu Kratz, WX4ME, <firstname.lastname@example.org> In Kentucky's District 3, four separate tornado tracks flew through Daviess County. SKYWARN was activated there, with 18 participants. The Henderson County ARES responded with communications support and damage assessment after the EF3 tornado went through downtown Owensboro. ARES provided communication between the Red Cross shelter and the Red Cross headquarters in the days following the event. All of the counties in the district communicated during the event via the District's 145.330 MHz repeater in Owensboro to relay information to each other as the storms passed through. -- Kevin Simmons, KI4JXN, <email@example.com> In Mississippi, tornadoes touched down on the Mississippi State Campus at Starkville. DEC Jason D Scallions, KD5FUO in Columbus, Mississippi, reported ARES was activated. <firstname.lastname@example.org> In Pensacola, Florida, "several buildings were damaged, and power failures were reported, but apparently there were no injuries," reported Northern Florida SM Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP. "It was a matter of minutes and the thing was over." ARES ops were standing by and waiting for a call from the EOC. + Winnebago County, Illinois ARES Supports 2007 Head of the Rock Regatta Rockford, Illinois - On Sunday, October 7, more than 1,700 rowers from throughout the US gathered in Rockford, Illinois for the 22nd annual Baird Head of the Rock Regatta sponsored by the YMCA of the Rock River Valley's Rowing Club. Participants hailed from 60 rowing clubs and universities, and they rowed 550 boats in 45 events. Sixteen ARES operators provided communication services for eight hours for a total of 112 man-hours donated. Two repeaters were employed: the 147.255 MHz N9MCS machine, and the 444.725 MHz WX9MCS machine. The ARES ops handled over 200 messages for the YMCA of Rock River Valley Rowing Club, US Rowing Association, Rockford Fire Department, and the Winnebago County Sheriff's Dept. -- Thanks, John Cotner, KC9IED, EC, Winnebago County, Illinois + Ham Radio Operators Gear Up for Special Olympics Dress Rehearsal Boise, Idaho, November 9 -- Amateur Radio operators are gearing up to provide support to the 2008 Special Olympics Invitational Games in the Boise region, according to Brian Adams, W7CVS, Ada County EC, and Chuck Robertson, KX7ID, Southwest Idaho DEC. The Invitational Games are seen as the practice run for the full 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise. Michele Walker, event Senior Director of Communications, wrote, "The diversity of the delegations participating in the (Invitational) Games will allow the Games Organizing Committee to test operational plans for the 2009 Games in such functional areas as competition aspects and results distribution, language services, food and beverage services, transportation, press operations and many more critical functions that will be vital to the success of the 2009 Games." See also <http://www.2009worldgames.org/> and <http://www.idahoares.org/> + Gwinnett County (Georgia) SET Supports Homeland Security Gwinnett County (Georgia) ARES supported the county's Homeland Security and Emergency Management agencies with backup communications as part of their ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) in October. Two months earlier, Gwinnett ARES was placed on alert as one of the county's trunked communication sites experienced an equipment failure, impairing communications in an area of the county. Afterwards, county Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency officials asked ARES to use its SET exercise to simulate an outage of the county's communications system and the use of ARES to provide critical communications traffic to Fire and Police services. The SET exercise began at 6 AM on October 6 with a call to activate. Assignments to three critical locations with fixed stations at the 911 Center, Westside Police Precinct and Fire Station 11 followed. The ARES Mobile Communications Trailer (MCT) was deployed and activated at a staging area just outside the exercise area for staging of personnel to move into positions during the exercise. The MCT also functioned as a cross-net communication point for the three nets in service. Mobile communications was established in various Police and Fire vehicles to provide service with the 911 Center and the hub locations of the two emergency services. Parallel traffic was sent from the 911 Center over normal county communication systems and also given to ARES personnel operating in the center for dispatch to evaluate accuracy and timing of communications. Packet communications was successfully used as the primary method of dispatching calls to the Fire and Police hub sites to minimize voice traffic congestion on nets. During the exercise, new ARES members who had not participated in an SET were paired with experienced operators, where possible, to gain valuable experience for future exercises. The exercise concluded with a lunch debriefing session for the valuable identification of exercise successes and areas needed for improvement. According to Greg Swanson, Gwinnett County Emergency Management Coordinator, the exercise successfully demonstrated the ability of Gwinnett ARES to provide critical backup communications in the event of a failure or impairment of the county's primary radio communications system. More info on the SET and Gwinnett ARES is available at <http://www.gwinnettares.org/>. -- John Davis, WB4QDX, Emergency Coordinator, Gwinnett ARES, Georgia <email@example.com> + LETTERS: SETS of UFOs I did enjoy the comments [in the October issue] about the Simulated Emergency Test (SET) that involved a UFO landing in Florida. Sandoval County, New Mexico, ARES had the very same exercise on July 7 - 9 of this year in remote northern Lincoln County, New Mexico, near the original "Roswell" or "Corona Crash site." Several ARES/RACES members were involved in the exercise, dubbed "N5C," which was also a special event station. They recreated the "recovery of a spacecraft of unknown origin from a remote location in northern Lincoln County sixty years ago." Voice and digital (Winlink) modes were used for communications. More information about this exercise is located at the following: <http://w5bi.no-ip.org/> and <http://www.w9wsw.com/> "Remember, this was only an exercise." -- Jay Miller, WA5WHN <firstname.lastname@example.org> + LETTERS: SATERN's National Director Offers Background In re David Rust's letter in the last issue, the writer perhaps doesn't know that ARES personnel, and particularly Rick Palm, K1CE, have been strong supporters of the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) program. Rick has consistently highlighted the work of SATERN over the years and is a friend of The Salvation Army. He was the ARRL representative to NVOAD for many years and worked closely with us. One of the primary motives for starting SATERN was to engage ARRL and ARES support for The Salvation Army. Over and over ARES has come to the rescue of Salvation Army disaster response. When you see the video, "Amateur Radio Today," you see ARES personnel on the field helping Salvation Army canteens respond to Colorado wildfires. They came to our rescue when we had no opportunity other than amateur radio communications to determine the changing locations of our canteens. The SA disaster director asked for help and ARRL Headquarters helped secure their personnel in Colorado to help us. In 1990 in Plainfield, Illinois, to name another tragedy in which ARES personnel were involved, a horrific tornado caused 29 deaths and 200 million dollars worth of damage. The Salvation Army had 35 vehicles, four primary areas of operation and the support of 100 Salvation Army officers. ARES, working with SATERN, helped provide 64 amateur operators per day and specifically because of that, we had communications with every mobile feeding vehicle, every Salvation Army tactical leader and every principal SA operation during the 11 day feeding operation in that response. For nine days the communication system ran 24 hours straight. We could not have done it without the support of ARES. That operation helped explode the SATERN operation in the Chicago area and we ended up with 211 SATERN members after that, many of whom were ARES personnel. SATERN depends on the ARRL, ARES and a number of other communication entities in amateur radio to get the job done. I am proud to be an ARES member and supporter of ARRL. We have thousands of SATERN people now in many places, a large portion of them are ARES. Dave, I appreciate your early on zeal for the SATERN program. You have done a great job starting up the Missouri network for us. Please remember in the communication world that we are all friends and depend on each other. When disaster hits, we especially need all resources and all organizations to win the day. We highly regard ARES and ARRL, the role they play in the amateur community, and the dynamic help they have been to The Salvation Army. God bless you this day. -- Patrick E. McPherson, WW9E, Major, National Director, SATERN <http://www.satern.org/> + LETTERS: Add Other Red Cross Training In re the last issue's report on current ARES-recommended training, along with "Introduction" (now called "Fulfilling Our Mission: Translating Your Compassion Into Community Action") I would add the following Red Cross classes: "Damage Assessment," "Shelter Operations," "Mass Care Overview" and "Logistics." Since most of the traffic that we handle for Red Cross is for these functions, it would be good for ARES operators to take these courses for better understanding. Specifically, in our Chapter, the Capital Area in Tallahassee, Florida, we send hams out with the Damage Assessment Teams so that the info can be transmitted back to the Chapter via voice, WinLink2000 or D-Star quickly so that we can develop our response plan quicker. -- David Perryman, KG4YZI, <email@example.com> + LETTERS: Dura is Dead On! I was thrilled to see K2DCD's comments in the last E-Letter. [Dennis Dura, K2DCD, is ARRL HQ's national Emergency Response Planner.] It is good to see ARRL HQ express a vision that enables ham radio to be used to its full potential. We are working closely with our county emergency planners and served agencies, and have even had ham classes for the last year that have brought in 120 professional emergency service officials. I am excited to hear Dura's ideas, and am gratified that they are so closely aligned with the work we have been doing! Great news! -- Brian Short, KC0BS, JOCO ARES EC, Kansas + LETTERS: AHA Leader in CPR/AEC/First Aid In the list of recommended classes in the last E-Letter, you fail to note that other organizations offer CPR/AED/First Aid training that is at least as good as what the American Red Cross offers. The American Heart Association (AHA) is the real leader in CPR/AED. First Aid is more of an ARC specialty. Personally, I am an AHA and National Safety Council CPR/AED/First Aid instructor, as well as an NREMT-B. I have also helped teach ARC classes. Any of these can provide the amateur with the background s/he needs to play his/her important role in the "Chain of Survival" when someone suffers sudden illness or injury. None is really better than the other -- though I strongly recommend buying the class text/CD and using it as a personal refresher to keep your skills sharp. -- David Coursey, N5FDL, NREMT-B EC, San Joaquin County ARES, California, ARECC I/II/III [editor's note: As an RN, I re-certify in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) every two years. These two courses are conducted by the American Heart Association and they are excellent. - K1CE] + LETTERS: SET on Weekdays Versus Weekends We had a very successful Simulated Emergency Test (SET) in Towns County, Georgia, with all of the local emergency agencies (Sheriff, EMS, 911, Fire, Haz-Mat Team) participating. However, our local hospital (which did give us permission to erect a 2 meter antenna on the roof with a feed line into a waiting room where our operators established a portable transceiver) is a privately owned corporation, and did not want to spend extra money to call in staff on a weekend for a drill. We were only permitted to simulate a nurse meeting an ambulance carrying two injured "terrorists" in the parking lot and declaring them DOA, terminating our drill. The bottom line is that on weekends, even the emergency services (Sheriff, EMS, etc.) have to call in personnel in order to participate. Perhaps we could pick BOTH a weekday and a weekend to maximize participation by the operators and the served agencies. -- Alton Higgins, W4VFZ, EC Towns County, Georgia <firstname.lastname@example.org> + WXSpots Fills the Gaps in Alabama Weather Event In the last ARES E-Letter, I reported a new program called "WXSPOTS," which operates in a similar fashion to the DX Spotting software that many hams use daily. This software allows amateur radio storm spotters, SKYWARN groups, and others to post information about severe weather and share it in a real time environment. It is a free program, and has a user base of over 5,000 and is growing rapidly. On October 17, we received a callout from our served agency, the National Weather Service office in Calera, Alabama, near Birmingham. Along with other hams, my wife and I responded and reported for duty at the amateur station there around 8 PM. We are both members of the Alabama Emergency Response Team (ALERT), which mans the amateur station at the NWS office, and coordinates reports received from various local SKYWARN groups. Around 11 PM, one of the meteorologists on duty asked if we could obtain information about a storm that had just passed through Meridian, Mississippi and was currently approaching the Alabama border. This area of the state is often a problem area for obtaining "ground truth" reports from. Repeaters are not linked in this area, and there are only a few amateurs there. I explained that this was outside of our normal range, but did attempt to raise someone in West Alabama using the statewide ARES HF net on 75 meters. After meeting with no success, I had an idea. I quickly downloaded and ran the WXSPOTS software on a computer used at the NWS office for our activities. I checked to see how many observers were on-line. I spotted Steven Earnest, WV5D, who is the EC for Clarke County, Mississippi, using the software at that late hour. Using the "chat" feature of the software, I sent a quick private message to Steven asking for reports about the storm. While he was almost 60 miles from the storm, he was able to relay reports from a nearby repeater. He let us know about tree damage in nearby Moselle, and the temporary closure of I-59 due to the fallen trees. We quickly relayed that information to the staff at NWS, who were quite impressed with our ability to deliver the information that they needed. In the end, the event turned out to produce only rain in Central Alabama, but using the software, we were able to demonstrate amateur radio's capabilities to our served agency and meet their needs. Even at that late hour, there were over 70 users logged into the WX spotting software, including many in the Southeast. Using radios alone, we simply would not have been able to provide the requested information, but the combination of software, Internet access, and local SKYWARN reports on a repeater in Mississippi provided a valuable "piece of the puzzle" for our local meteorologists. I strongly encourage all hams interested in EMCOMM and SKYWARN to download a copy of WXSpots and consider its use for their needs as well. It can be obtained at: <http://www.wxspots.com/> My sincere thanks to Glen Davis, N3FJP for developing the software and offering it freely to other amateurs. -- Les Rayburn, N1LF, Shelby County, Alabama EC + LETTERS: REACT, Just REACT I noted in the last issue that you referred to "Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams." When I was president of REACT International, Inc., I did my best to stomp out that nomenclature, but alas, I wasn't successful. Our name is "REACT." Somewhere along the way, someone fitted the "Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams" to it, but "REACT" isn't an acronym. Our name on our corporate charter is "REACT International, Inc." -- no periods, no acronym. The REACT in all caps is a trademark, by the way. -- Charles A (Chuck) Thompson, DCR 44, KAD4253, N5IAG, Secretary/Treasurer, Dallas County (Texas) REACT, Inc; General Counsel (and Past President), REACT International, Inc. + LETTERS: CEM's Should Be Exempt from ARES Requirements Some hams are professionals in the field of Emergency Management/Business Continuity. Of those, many hold the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) designation. I have just returned from the 2007 annual meeting of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) where nearly 2,000 attended. <http://www.iaem.com/>. 15 nations were represented. About 90 new CEMs were inducted. About half of those in attendance, including me, are active in the private sector. When it comes to qualifying ARES members in FEMA type training, I believe ARRL will face resistance from professionals who have attained the professional designation of Certified Emergency Manager (CEM). I personally have no need to replicate FEMA courses, having attended over 50 such courses. I am a certificated instructor for the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), a California incident command system for over 10 years before it led FEMA into adopting the comparable Incident Command System (ICS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). As part of legislative law in California, SEMS has been recognized by FEMA. My suggestion is that you promulgate ARES rules and regulations in a way that relieves individuals holding a CEM designation from having to enroll in FEMA training or comparable ARRL training. In other words, a CEM should be automatically pre-qualified for ARES with respect to such training. -- Tom May, W6YXX, CEM, Independent Consultant, Managing Partner, Disaster Prep Group Auditors/Planners/Consultants Emergency Management/Business Continuity + LETTERS: NIMS Five Year Plan Means ARES Needs ICS/NIMS Certifications For those amateurs who are still on the fence about the importance of advanced training and ICS/NIMS requirements, the draft release of the Five Year NIMS Training Plan makes for interesting reading. One point that is made very clearly is that "access to future national incidents will be restricted to those who have met the mandatory requirements." Within the next few years, you simply won't be able to obtain credentials for access without proof of completion of required instruction. Also, having volunteers who have not completed ICS/NIMS training may already be adversely affecting your served agencies ability to obtain grant money. And, as one of my instructors pointed out to us, "The Incident Command System wasn't developed by a bunch of egg-heads in Washington. It was developed on the ground by wilderness firefighters in California. It actually works!" ARES leadership also needs to get comfortable with resource typing, and to start integrating that into their databases. We need to be prepared to help our served agencies easily fit amateur radio into their planning and funding requests, and the easiest way to do that is to resource type our operators and equipment. The draft report is at: <http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=2962> -- Les Rayburn, N1LF, Shelby County, Alabama EC + National Fire Academy On-Line Training Available Of interest to hams seeking to complete their ICS/NIMS requirements: Emmitsburg, Maryland - The U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Academy announced the launch of a new web-based online training system NFAOnline. NFAOnline provides an easy one-stop Web site where fire and emergency services personnel, first responders, emergency management personnel, and the general public will find free training and education programs that they can complete at their own pace. "Now is the time for us to embrace the future and improve our education through distance learning," said NFA Superintendent, Dr. Denis Onieal. "NFAOnline provides another option to help further the professionalism of the nation's fire and emergency services and strengthen their ability to combat all hazard emergencies." NFAOnline provides a user-friendly, state-of-the art training system with technical support and the ability for the student to immediately print a certificate and transcript. The primary effort of NFAOnline is to make available training and materials for the fire service, particularly those unable to attend resident courses in Emmitsburg, Maryland. There are currently several courses available in the new NFAOnline. Additional courses are in development and will be added as they become available. Course subjects include Community Safety Educators, Fire Service Supervision, ICS 100 and ICS 200, Emergency Response to Terrorism, and Emergency Medical Services. To enroll in NFAOnline, visit <http://www.nfaonline.dhs.gov/> and browse the course catalog through the 'New Students' option. + K1CE For A Final The 9th annual SKYWARN Recognition Day special event will take place Saturday, December 1. It is co-sponsored by the NWS and ARRL. During this 24-hour event, amateurs visit their local NWS office and work as a team to contact other hams around the world. See December QST's Public Service column for more info. Happy Holidays from the entire editorial/production staff here on the ARES E-Letter corporate campus in sunny Flagler county, Florida, where hurricane season officially draws to a close in just a week -- YES!