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ARES E-Letter Issues

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The ARES E-Letter
June 16, 2010
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE
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The View from Flagler County

Many readers have asked about the "ARES® Code of Conduct" that was recently promulgated here by the new leadership in the East Coast District, which includes Flagler County, and Volusia County (Daytona Beach). The Code was discussed in a recent issue, and it is reproduced below. Please note that the set of principles only applies regionally; it is not an ARRL or otherwise nationally-approved document. However, other ARES groups may be interested in incorporating elements of the code in their own local programs.

The East Coast District ARES Code of Conduct

ARES members are the personification of Amateur Radio to the public and to our governmental and quasi-governmental agencies whom we serve. As such, we have elected to publish guidelines under which we expect ARES registered volunteers will operate. Although these are not conditions for participation, we strongly encourage each ARES member to abide by these standards.

• ARES members will conduct themselves with respect and courtesy to those whom we serve. We will be listeners and communicators.

• ARES members will not act as or be perceived as agents or employees of the agencies whom we serve. We are a serving agency and have no authority to act on behalf of the agency.

• ARES members will not use profanity, vulgar language or language or expressions which may be considered derogatory when in public.

• ARES members will not park in restricted areas, unless specifically authorized or invited to do so by the agencies we serve.

• ARES members will not use flashing lights while vehicles are underway, since it is illegal in the State of Florida. Use of flashing yellow lights is permitted only when vehicles are stationary for the purposes of collision avoidance. If in doubt, please inquire with Net Control and they will request clarification from the EOC.

• ARES members will not solicit contributions or gifts, merchandise or services from any individuals or businesses while using the name of local EOC's or the phrase Emergency Services. All solicitations using the name of Flagler Emergency Services or Volusia Emergency Services (or associated, related names) must be approved in writing by those associated agencies, in advance. No ARES member (including ARES leadership) is authorized to use the name of the agencies without their prior written permission.

• ARES members will not use the logos or identifying marks of the agencies that we serve without prior approval in writing by those agencies.

• Prospective ARES members who are convicted felons will not be accepted into the organization.

• All prospective ARES members must be able to pass their respective County EOC credentialing requirements. These requirements are not negotiable.

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Flagler County ARES news and views are now being posted to a new blog site that also features updates on the ever-evolving northeastern Florida D-STAR network. Check it out here: The Journal of the North East Florida D-Star Repeater Network

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In This Issue:

 

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Northwestern Ohio Response to Tornadoes

On Saturday night, June 5 and Sunday, June 6, severe weather and tornadoes ripped across an area of northwestern Ohio, laying down a large path of destruction. ARES and SKYWARN groups in Erie, Huron, Sandusky and Wood counties activated nets at 10:30 PM Saturday, and many did not stand down until 4:30 AM Sunday morning. Reports of severe weather damage, flooding, and downed power lines filled the nets for the majority of the six-hour period.

In Wood County, ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC) Bob Schumann, W8NYY, reported that the severity of the damage was becoming quickly apparent with the increasing frequency of reports coming in during the period of 11:15 and 11:30 PM, with Tony Everhardt, N8WAC, and Assistant EC Ed Brown, K8ZCS, giving on site reports of severe damage to Lake High School, located in Millbury. Everhardt reported that he was able to see the funnel cloud only when electrical transformers began exploding and lighting up the sky. Brown added that there were broken natural gas lines and downed power lines in the area as well, which required EC Schumann to recall weather spotters from the area for their own safety. Continuous reports came in of telephone poles and power lines down blocking roads, and live electrical wires presenting an immediate danger.

During the early morning hours, EC Schumann was advised by Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasyslyshyn that a temporary command center was being set up across from the Lake Township Police Department building, which had been heavily damaged by the tornado. A decision was made to deploy the Wood County ARES trailer there. A supply of police band radios were kept in the trailer along with a generator and other Amateur Radio equipment if needed. Subsequently, Sheriff Wasyslyshyn reported that communications had been restored to Lake Township. Many Wood County ARES members remained on standby. EC Schumann was proud of the work that was performed by the radio amateurs of Wood County: "It's my hope that their dedication was responsible for the reports that ultimately sounded the sirens, which saved lives."

District Emergency Coordinator (DEC) George Henzler, WB8HHZ, maintained contact with Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) Jack Sovik, KB8WPZ, during the time of the incident, as is outlined in the Ohio Section Emergency Response Plan. Sovik said "The professionalism of the ARES members, working in conjunction with the National Weather Service and their SKYWARN program, as per the written Memorandum of Understanding, saved lives and kept the NWS and the public appraised of the situation that was developing in the immediate affected areas."

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Illinois Tornado Emergency Response

More than 20 ARES members from LaSalle, Bureau and Grundy counties were active before, during and after the June 6 touchdown of an F2 tornado in Streator, Illinois. At 10:00 AM, LaSalle County SKYWARN Coordinator Laurie Bradach, W9CAV, updated the spotter group with the hazardous weather outlook and told operators to expect activation later in the day.

At 7:35 PM, the National Weather Service posted a tornado watch for LaSalle County; Jim Morris, N9PLM, of Streator, started a weather net on the 147.12 MHz Starved Rock Radio Club Repeater. At 8:15 PM, Keith Risley, KB9VFX, reported from his spotting location that there was a lowering of a rotating wall cloud. Risley reported that the winds suddenly increased in speed with enough force to rock his truck. The storm finally produced a noticeable funnel, which was heading towards Streator. This information was passed to Morris and on to the NWS liaison in Grundy County. Risley arrived in Streator and assisted at the 911 dispatch center until 3 AM. Although there was no damage at Morris's home, he went portable so he could assist neighbors affected by the storm.

LaSalle County RACES/ARES EC Joe Tokarz, KB9EZZ, situated at the county EOC, assumed net control duty. The EOC is in the process of moving to a new building and the amateur gear is maintained separately from the EOC conference area. Bradach, at the EOC conference area, established a radio link with Tokarz so traffic could flow between the EOC conference area and the amateurs in Streator.

Several ARES members, who were also Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trained, assembled three miles north of the damaged area. From there, they relayed traffic to the EOC.

The volunteers were released at 1:30 AM Sunday, allowing just enough time for tired operators to get a few winks in before staffing the gate at the Starved Rock Hamfest at 6 AM!

Lessons Learned

-- Get Dad a weather radio for Fathers Day!

-- Have at least two safe, pre-planned spotting locations; no cul-de-sacs nor dead ends--locations MUST have at least two escape routes.

-- The closer the operator can stay near work or home, the better for the operator and his/her family. A good spotting location is where the spotter can go on to his/her porch and report "It's coming," "it's here," "it's gone," and be close enough to take care of family members.

-- Don't let your antenna become the tallest object around--even if you have a great insurance policy.

-- During the middle of the disaster is the wrong time to take a class in weather spotting, damage assessment, CERT, ARRL EC-01, and FEMA IS courses. Take classes as they are offered by the local Red Cross and Emergency Management during "peacetime."

-- Modify your mobile rig so you can take it, a battery and a power supply with you. Someone's rig will fry and you can get them back to work with your "portable" mobile rig.

-- Have the public service frequencies for your operating area/counties in your rig's memories. Initially, communications will be spotty at best and these frequencies may allow you to relay time-critical information to the decision makers. -- Joe Tokarz, KB9EZZ, LaSalle County (Illinois) RACES/ARES EC

Tornado in Michigan Brings Communications Response

At approximately 2:13 AM on Sunday June 6, an F2 tornado formed about five miles west of Dundee, Michigan, and then traveled through the north part of the village (pop. 4000) and moved eastward over a total distance of ten miles. Fifteen homes were destroyed, one trapping a resident inside for several hours before rescue crews could reach her. More than 160 homes sustained extensive damage and 1717 received damage. A hotel was also damaged. There were no major injuries, and no serious communications outages beyond the loss of local residential and business telephone lines which were knocked down by the storm.

Local members of the Monroe County Amateur Radio Public Service Corps assisted with shelter communications and served Red Cross and Salvation Army members as well as the regional Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Many of the local CERT members are also radio amateurs.

Two hundred hotel patrons were housed in the shelter set up at the Dundee Middle School, while several fire departments provided lighting and services. Sheltering began immediately after the storm subsided, and amateurs with hand-helds were on duty. The local UHF repeater K8RPT-R ran on battery power in excess of 24 hours until a portable generator returned power to the tower site on Monday. As soon as the damaged hotel was deemed secure by the owners, patrons were bussed to the scene to pick up their belongings and make travel arrangements. Many had severely damaged or overturned vehicles as a result of the tornado's action and were assisted by Red Cross officials.

Damage reports covered approximately 1300 homes and businesses. More than 200 utility poles were snapped off and required replacement. Local residents began cleanup and volunteers from a 50 mile radius offered their services to assist. - Michigan Section Manager Dale Williams, WA8EFK [Williams' home was 1000 feet from the path of the tornado - ed.]

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ARES Digest

Mississippi SAR Conducted; Subject Deceased

Over the Memorial Day weekend, the DeSoto County EMA RACES/ Reserve Group had planned to assist county Search and Rescue (SAR) with communications for lake patrol activities, but ARES DEC/EC Kenneth Johnson, KB0ZTX, reported that on Saturday morning, plans changed. The Search and Rescue Group was called out to assist the Tunica County Sheriff's Office with locating a missing person at Tunica Lake. The Group started their support at the Command Post at 9 AM Saturday morning and wrapped up before dark. They then deployed again on Sunday AM with the team; however, the search was concluded when the deceased person was located. The Group provided communications for the Command Post and documentation of the activities during the search. The operators completed the weekend's support by returning to the original lake patrol activities. The following RACES members supported the callout: KE5NBD, N5UOV, KE5NBC, W9IK, and KB0ZTX.

Operation Gale Wind Leads to ARC/ARES Negotiation

Lauderdale/Clark counties (Mississippi) EC Richard Morefield, AE5FE, reports that the Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency (LEMA) conducted their annual Simulated Emergency Test (SET) called Operation Gale Wind. This event simulated extreme weather conditions as a result of a hurricane that made landfall and consequent tornadoes in the Lauderdale County area.

During the exercise, two warnings were issued for tornadoes that resulted in structural damage and injuries at Clarkedale School, Meridian High School, Northeast High School, and Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian. Additionally, simulated injuries were reported from Lockheed at the Industrial Complex. ARES communication in conjunction with local EMA communications were used to give local hospitals advance notice of casualties inbound to their facilities. Confirmations of arrivals at Rush Hospital were relayed to the Lauderdale EMA EOC.

As a result of this exercise the Red Cross Key Chapter expressed an interest in partnering with ARES; an agreement is currently being negotiated in accordance with the MOU between ARRL and ARC National Headquarters. The City of Meridian, the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office, and Anderson Hospital also expressed an interest in ARES capabilities and the speed and ease with which information was transferred reliably.

2010 MS150 Citrus Tour ARES-Supported

The Central Florida Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society hosted the Citrus Tour MS150 on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16, supported by many ham volunteers. The Citrus Tour MS150 tested their ability to show up, set up, and go.

The main concern for everyone involved was a forecast of heat for the ride to the Caribe Royal Resort in Orlando. The Citrus Tour 2010 this year started off with bike riders departing from the lovely Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida, and traveling one of three routes: a 50 mile leg, a 75 mile leg, or a Century Loop, the 100 mile leg.

Coordinating activity was veteran net control operator "TJ" Avalon, NQ1T, of Mulberry. Avalon operated from the Polk County Emergency Management's Mobile Command Vehicle, situated at the Start/Finish line at Bok Tower Gardens. This was the busiest place to be during the weekend event. Paramedics were on hand to help with down riders, and were dispatched from the Command Post. For a look at course maps, click here.

The coordinator for communications for this year's event was Laura Pennington, NO4OO, Polk ARES EC, from Lakeland. In addition to communications, Pennington also served on the MS150 Committee, bringing lessons learned from last year's event to the table. Her experience made this year's event run even smoother.

A total of 40 licensed Amateur Radio operators took part in this year's event. From the Command Post to tail end Charlie, there was an amateur

Victoria Avalon "TJ," NQ1T, background. Larry Walker, KI4DNO, foreground (photo Evans Mitchell, KD4EFM)

stationed every stretch of the way. Hams were deployed in the Supply vehicles.

Two cyclists were also hams. Second time cyclist Jason Triolo, KD4ACG, also known as BIKE 1, and returning biker, Dana Rodakis, K4LK, was BIKE 2, endured the event on the 75 mile course. Rodakis was equipped with a D-STAR ICOM 91-AD for D-PRS reporting.

SAG (Special Assistance Group) members consisted of Orange, Osceola, Polk County ARES members, and members of the Orange and Hillsborough County CERT Teams. Also present were members of the Tampa Bay and Orange County REACT Teams.

The Command Post monitored the movements of several key SAG and Supply units, and SHADOW 1 (Ride Director, and Pennington) via APRS from Analog and Internet feeds. Live Weather Radar from the National Weather Service sites at Ruskin (Tampa) and Melbourne were also monitored from the Command Post, as was Television from WFTS Channel 9 out of Orlando, inside the Command Post. -- Evans Mitchell, KD4EFM, Assistant EC, Polk County (Florida) ARES

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Letters

In re your "Final" in the last issue, here are a few additional suggestions for disaster preparedness. Add a couple of books to while away the time spent in an evacuation shelter. They may help your mental security and stability.

I'm glad to see you are thinking about your animals in your planning. However, many people don't think to add a well built, airline approved travel crate for their pet(s). Think about it: If those cardboard carriers many pet owners use to transport pets to the Vet's on a good day can fail, why trust your pet's safety to one under the worst of worst case scenarios? And forget about those EZ snap together crates -- if they can go together that easily, when dropped or bumped they can come apart that easily. NEVER trust the pop-rivet attached handle for anything but short trips by hand.

I also suggest (especially for cats) to put their walking harness on early and leave it on. Animals can smell the anxiety chemicals in your sweat and often react accordingly. You might not get another chance. I also strongly suggest a strong 20 foot leash/line be added to your kit and kept or attached to the crate. Your pet will need to exercise and relieve itself, and even the best trained pets can and will take off for any reason. Always keeping your pet on a lead during a disaster will also allow you to yank your pet out of a fight or other dangerous situation like a displaced gator or snake.

Go to your local mountain climbing supply store to purchase enough heavy duty webbing and a couple of carabiners to fashion a secure hoist sling for helo-evac. If the climbing shop doesn't do custom work, you can take the webbing to any shoe shop to get it sewn together. [Readers should get professional advice and work for a harness for helicopter evacuation - ed.]

As for heading to the hospital for the duration, or any evacuation center for that matter, I would also take a light pop-up tent, sleeping bag and blow up mattress. A little personal space and place to sleep will be a premium. It will be hard enough to sleep with all the sights, sounds, and smells a hospital in disaster mode creates. A tent, no matter how small or simple, pitched in a corner somewhere (along with some ear plugs) will provide that much needed separation you might not be able to get otherwise. It's also a commodity you might be able to share with someone in need of comforting. -- Jeff Sabatini, KI6BCX, San Bernardino County (California) Fire Department Emergency Communications Service

Served Agency Roundup

Here is a news roundup from ARRL's MOU partners.

American Red Cross

June 7-- Red Cross Prepares Camps in Haiti for Hurricane Season

Haitians work to dig drainage ditches and lay sandbags and gravel as part of a disaster-preparedness program developed by the American Red Cross. Read more

June 4 -- Relationship Between Hurricanes and the Oil Spill

Oil slick is not expected to appreciably affect either the intensity or the track of a fully developed tropical storm or hurricane. Read more

APCO International Annual Conference: August 1-4, 2010, Houston, Texas

The APCO International Annual Conference presents the public safety communications industry's best educational and product offerings. Executives, dispatchers, and technicians involved in all aspects of public safety communications from law enforcement to PSAPs to government agencies, gather here each year.

Civil Air Patrol

CAP members fly critical missions in oil spill response.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

FEMA Administrator Fugate Addresses Florida Governor's Hurricane Preparedness Conference

National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster

NVOAD members are currently responding to the flooding in Kentucky and Tennessee, the tornadoes in Mississippi, and the social service efforts related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. More info here.

REACT International

REACT is the abbreviation for Radio Emergency Associated Communications Team.

Information on REACT's extensive emergency communications training program here.

Salvation Army

Salvation Army Responding to Double Disaster in Guatemala

NOAA National Weather Service

President Obama on National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

United States Power Squadrons

Navigation expert and non-profit boating education organization work together to enhance and promote safety on the water.

Small Island, Many Hats: St. John ARES Aids Groups Facing Antenna Tower Shutdown

Talk about an "Oh, no!" moment. Hams on St. John in the US Virgin Islands recently learned that a radio tower - home to repeaters serving a volunteer emergency rescue group and the Virgin Islands National Park Service - was being shut down. Tower eviction notices arrived. St. John Rescue and the Virgin Islands National Park Service were up against a 60-day deadline to get the repeaters off the old site.

Hundreds of times each year, residents and visitors on St. John are aided by St. John Rescue volunteers: Members assist police, fire and emergency medical services on calls ranging from traffic accidents to medical emergencies. Visitors and residents depend on the National Park Service for assistance within park land, and park employees routinely partner with Rescue. Reliable communications are critical.

With the help and cooperation of Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent Mark Hardgrove, a new physical location for a tower was found on Lizard Hill, on park land. But relocation challenges lay ahead. The Lizard Hill site was already home to a 20-foot Rohn 25G tower with VHF antenna and feed, but current needs called for something more substantial. The project would require advanced technical expertise. Up stepped George Cline, KP2G, of ARES and Communications Officer for St. John Rescue - a volunteer who has been instrumental in much of the island's emergency communications infrastructure. Hardgrove asked Cline to serve as volunteer operations director for the project, which would include installing additional sections of tower to bring it up to 68 feet, and relocating the repeaters.

As members of both ARES and St. John Rescue, Cline, ARES President Paul Jordan, NP2JF, and Rescue Chief Gilly Grimes, NP2OW, knew the importance of a seamless move as did Park Ranger and Rescue member Dave Horner. With willing volunteers from ARES, Rescue and the National Park, the group prepared for the sizable task.

Luckily, Rescue had some spare parts on hand related to the earlier installation and operation of three VHF repeaters. Materials included about $800 worth of cable, $200 in cable end fittings, lots of cable ties, ground rods, clamps, lightning arrestors and more - all necessary to get two antennas on the tower and working. (The parts are kept on hand by Rescue for emergency repairs; repurchasing these items will be necessary so they are readily available.)

Tower supports were needed. Cline donated all of the made-up galvanized steel cables, the tower guying hardware, the hardware for the ground end of the guys, insulators, turnbuckles, and other items. By providing his technical support and labor at no cost, along with needed supplies, Cline saved Rescue and the Virgin Islands National Park Services quite a bit of money, as did the many other volunteers who helped make the move a success.

Gilly Grimes stepped up to do the tower climbing - not an easy job in the first place. Gusty winds slowed the work a bit, but the project moved forward.

The long-time Mamey Peak repeater site had provided radio coverage for the north, northeast and northwest sections of St. John, including the much-used North Shore beaches. To avoid as little gap in service as possible, it was critical to get the tower up and stabilized with steel guy wires so that antennas could be mounted before repeaters were put in place. Time from shutdown, moving, installation and bringing the repeaters up on frequency at the new location was less than two hours; the plan and related execution were successful.

Future work is planned. Cline says, "Duplicate antenna and coaxial cable installations will have to soon be made to provide ready and in-place backup antennas."

With donated time and materials, the money output to build the new tower and move the repeaters was small; continuing radio service for the park and Rescue, in support of public safety - priceless. -- Phyllis Benton, NP2MZ, ARRL Virgin Islands Section Public Information Coordinator

K1CE For a Final

As we have seen in recent times, the government, at any level, cannot fully protect its citizens from manmade or natural disaster. That is not to be taken as criticism of the government, it is rather just a fact of life. As such, it is largely up to us as ordinary citizens and radio amateurs to be personally prepared to protect ourselves, our families, and our neighborhoods against calamity. I think as radio amateurs, we are generally more prepared than the average citizen, and indeed, certainly have more opportunity for better communications with the outside world.

I hate to, but have to, harp on this: Be prepared. Here is a good site I found that speaks to the basic needs of Floridians, but is universally applicable. Get prepared NOW, before the next incident occurs.

Sick of hearing about how important it is to be prepared? Think of how sick you'll be when you see the water rising over your doorstep into your home and up the walls, with no food, potable water, supplies, or plan. Last year, I saw the water up to my front door, and wrestled sand bags in place during Tropical Storm Fay. Yes, Fay was only a Tropical Storm. I've taken preparedness very seriously this year. You should, too.

The program for tonight's Flagler County ARES meeting is the Go-Kit, another essential element of preparedness for all of us as radio amateurs and emergency communicators.

See you next month! 73, Rick, K1CE, Flagler County, Florida

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