ARES E-Letter for May 17, 2006
The ARES E-Letter May 17, 2006 ================= Rick Palm, K1CE, Editor <http://www.qrz.com/database?callsign=K1CE>, <http://www.iaru-r2emcor.net/> =================================== ARES reports, other related contributions, editorial questions or comments: <firstname.lastname@example.org> =================================== + THE VIEW FROM FLAGLER COUNTY [Our county has a new EOC. The following is a quick tour by DEC and county AEC Jay Musikar, AF2C, a veteran ARES leader here, who represented us at the grand opening. (Some readers asked for the location of Flagler county: We are in prime hurricane territory on the east coast of Florida just north of Daytona Beach and south of St. Augustine. The eastern part of the county along the coast is becoming crowded, while the western part is rural, mostly wetlands)]. A new paradigm of EOCs in Florida opened on April 22, with many State and local officials present for the ribbon cutting, along with representatives of various ESF organizations. The 25,000 square foot facility is designed to withstand winds of 185 mph and has the latest technology, and ergonomics. The complex is equipped with two back-up 400 KW generators. The role of ARES was discussed by EOC staff with guests touring the "War Room." ARES, as a part of ESF 2, was credited with supplying communications for the county when other services failed during the wildfires of 1998, recent hurricanes and other major events. The Operations Center is a huge room equipped with four plasma screens with LCD projectors. The room is designed to seat 35, and can hold up to 60 reps from various ESF entities. Each position is equipped with phones and computers. Surrounding the main hub are conference rooms, a media room, 911 Center, broadcast center, Emergency Management office, ARES and REACT facilities. ARES is good to go: We will conduct monthly meetings in the new facility and train for emergencies there. Flagler ARES is excited about operating and training from the new EOC. ==================== In This Issue: + APRIL ARES REPORTS + PERSPECTIVE: KATRINA OPS OBSERVATIONS + LETTERS: USE "HAM" INSTEAD + OPINION: HARDENED 800 MHz SYSTEMS AND AMATEUR REPEATERS + EMCOMM HINTS AND KINKS + VALUE OF VOLUNTEER TIME UP 49 CENTS IN 2005 + SOUTH CAROLINA ARES GROUP TO ACTIVATE EOC FOR FD + IN RE PERSPECTIVE: EMERGENCIES VERSUS DISASTERS + NEAR REAL TIME ALERT RESOURCE + AMATEUR RADIO AT THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CONFERENCE + 2006 FLORIDA GOVERNOR'S HURRICANE CONFERENCE + 2006 ARES E-LETTER TITLEIST SELECTED + K1CE FOR A FINAL ==================== + APRIL ARES REPORTS April 7, Western Tennessee -- ARES was activated for tornadoes. SEC Jimmy Floyd, NQ4U, said more than 70 counties were affected. The NWS issued more than 130 weather watches and warnings, and reported at least 26 tornadoes. Twelve people died. The Middle Tennessee Emergency Amateur Radio Society (MTEARS) repeater system carried numerous reports of severe weather and damage to many areas of the state. The MTEARS UHF system spans most of Tennessee, with Nashville as its hub. Both the NWS and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) monitor the system. Wilson County EC Pete Navarra, K4IWX, said that because of information relayed via Amateur Radio, his county was able to dispatch three ambulances, two rescue trucks, one fire engine and a host of CERT search-and-rescue responders and their mobile command post to hard-hit Sumner County. "It was interesting to hear several calls from the Metro Nashville Office of Emergency Management, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and other local agencies trying to communicate," he said. "Conventional methods of communication did not work--even cell phone service in Wilson County had gone out. Amateur Radio is needed and it works." -- Rick Lindquist, N1RL, ARRL Letter April 13, New Mexico -- A small, 150 acre fire near Mora roared into a 10,000 acre blaze overnight. ARES in Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos and Sandoval Counties were activated. Mike Scales, K5SCA, Gary Surad, K5BIQ, Andrew Parker, KC5ZYF, Jay Miller, WA5WHN, and Don Scott, N5UJT, all from the Sandoval County ARES, went to assist Mora County Red Cross shelters and the New Mexico State Police Mobile Command Center. All traffic was handled via voice through the 147.30 MHz Elk Mountain Repeater, allowing direct communications with Santa Fe and Rio Rancho, or VHF simplex. -- Charlie Christmann, K5CEC, ARRL PIO, New Mexico Section April 13, Iowa City, Iowa -- Tornadoes struck and hams from the Iowa City Amateur Radio Club's HamRad group provided communications between the Johnson County Emergency Management Agency (JCEMA) EOC and Red Cross shelters set up in the area. HamRad is organized to work with Johnson County in emergencies. HamRad teams stayed on the job until the next day, when National Guard units could take over command, ensuring that shelter management and the EOC could communicate and serve victims. Rhode Island - SEC Seán Brennan, KE1AB, <email@example.com> was invited to speak on behalf of ARES to the RI Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Planning Seminar to promote Amateur Radio use in the local community EMA for backup communications. The presentation addressed ARES abilities and incorporation of the organization into community entities. Alachua County, Florida -- ARES operators provided 120 hours of public service communications, supporting the March of Dimes WalkAmerica in Gainesville. The event is the largest walk in Florida at 8.6 miles and $750,000 was raised. Hams provided logistics communications for 14 stations along the walk route, provided mobile communications, EMS and law enforcement communications support, and ran the net from the Sheriff's Mobile Communications Vehicle. -- Jeff Capehart, W4UFL, Alachua County EC + PERSPECTIVE: KATRINA OPS OBSERVATIONS [On the eve of hurricane season here in Dixie, the following are the timely observations of Daisy Crepeau, KT4KW, and Ray Crepeau, K1HG, who were deployed to Hancock County, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, and to Palm Beach County, Florida, in the wake of Hurricane Wilma last season. - ed.] Training: No longer is the ham with an HT adequately able to respond. Nor is the ham with mobile equipment or even a radio equipped "jump kit." Amateur operators need to be adequately trained. The ARRL ARECC courses should be required, period. FEMA training, consisting of courses ICS 700, 800, 100, and 200 also should be required. Hams need to understand and be able to operate under the Incident Command System (ICS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Training to operate under extreme stress is needed. We saw a new ham arrive who didn't understand that two-way radio communication required releasing the PTT button to hear the other party. This individual also needed a crash course in the phonetic alphabet. An extreme case perhaps, but such operators were liabilities, not assets. Proper training and credentialing would prevent this. Credentialing: FEMA, most state Emergency Management departments, law enforcement agencies, and even the Red Cross do not recognize hams with a local badge. The ARRL supports the local EC as the point person for Amateur Radio emergency operations, but the reality is that most disasters are going to encompass more than the local area. ARESMAT [ARES Mutual Assistance agreements] is the right idea but few ECs have built the necessary relationships with others outside their locales. Resource Typing: We need a system of Amateur Radio "resource types" that FEMA (or anyone needing communications support) can request when needed. See the work of the World Radio Relay League and their idea of "Amateur Radio Communications Teams" (ARCT) <http://www.emcomm.org/> and <http://www.wrrl.org/>. FEMA is in the process of specifying "resources." We need to be in that system. Deployment Tasking: Pre-departure briefings covering assignments, duties and responsibilities in the deployed area, and conditions there, should be plainly explained and understood. When we went to Mississippi we were sent to the wrong place and spent half a day finding where we were to go. Message Handling: Passing messages from point A to point B is the primary mission during emergency responses. Hams are the worst at relaying messages. Butchering of messages passed to the EOC or to action personnel occurred in Mississippi. So, message handling training is absolutely necessary: The radiogram format gets the job done. Recognition: The Red Cross is mandated by the federal government to manage shelter care and mass feeding of disaster casualties. The ARRL has many MOUs with a number of different agencies both federal and private. But in the real world they don't mean a thing. The Red Cross prefers to use persons who have been through their training sequences. FEMA couldn't care less about hams in spite of an MOU. And the list goes on and on. The ARRL needs to become recognized as a "Non Government Organization" (NGO), which will be called upon. When it hits the fan, FEMA will call for Amateur Radio resources to establish communication links, and not commercial entities. -- Ray Crepeau, K1HG, and Daisy Crepeau, KT4KW + LETTERS: USE "HAM" INSTEAD Re last month's item on "Amateur" as a stigma: We "amateurs" have to some degree brought it upon ourselves by using the formal term - Amateur - in our dealings with the public and public officials. We have a tendency to use the terminology of the FCC and ARRL in referring to ourselves in a public setting. When you mention to someone that you are an "amateur radio operator," they often don't know what you are talking about. But when you tell them you are a "ham," they immediately know what you do and have a good impression from the many favorable news stories about our work, services and rescues. Dropping the regulatory terminology and referring to ourselves instead as "hams" will go a long way to avoiding the stigma of the word "amateur." -- Rabe Marsh, W3TNU <firstname.lastname@example.org> + OPINION: HARDENED 800 MHz SYSTEMS AND AMATEUR REPEATERS [The following is a response from a Palm Beach County, Florida public safety official and RACES Radio Officer to our periodic discussion of the merits and detractions of 800 MHz trunking systems viz a viz amateur and other systems. -- ed.] A well designed and maintained 800 MHz trunked radio system remained on the air while a majority of key amateur repeaters went off the air during Hurricane Wilma in South Florida last year. As the RACES Radio Officer and the Radio System Manager for Palm Beach County's Trunked/Simulcast 800 MHz radio system that provides interoperable communications for the County Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, EOC/Public Works, and all of the municipalities in the County (5000+ users), I'm reporting that all of the Public Safety 800 MHz trunked systems in Palm Beach County withstood Wilma flawlessly while the majority of amateur repeaters that were club and privately owned in both Broward and Palm Beach County went off the air. The repeater failures reported to us at the EOC were initially reported as power related and later updated to say most took major antenna and/or transmission line damage. What we can deduct from this is that a majority of amateur repeater owners in this area did not have adequate placement, design, and/or maintenance of their machines. To coach the local amateur repeater owners in Palm Beach that want to continue to participate in the County's RACES program, I developed a "best practices guide" of what we would like to see implemented. It closely resembles the design practices of the five County-maintained amateur repeaters that did not sustain any damage. These amateur repeaters, like the current trunked system for which I was the County project engineer, survived the storm because they used the same designs of our other Public Safety communication systems. In closing, Public Safety trunking radio systems can be reliable. After two wild hurricane seasons, we have all learned a lot about how our radio systems react at crunch time. As a result, I have installed concrete barriers around key generators, added additional automatic redundancies, and improved transmission line placement. It's now time to consider these types of changes to the Amateur Radio infrastructure as well. Comments welcome. -- Mark Filla, KS4VT, Palm Beach County 800 MHz System Administrator; Palm Beach County RACES Radio Officer; Florida Repeater Council District #2 Director <http://www.pbcgov.com/fdo/ESS/800MHz.htm> + EMCOMM HINTS AND KINKS Typically, there is a small blizzard of lists, procedures and documents that every ARES team member is supposed to have - and the latest version, too. To make syncing-up a little easier to manage, the Vashon (Washington) ARES team's "Document Master" maintains a ZIP file of all the required stuff on the club server. That way, it can all be downloaded at once and kept on a home PC, rather than on a server that may not be available in an emergency. Of course, it's also available on the server and can be accessed from anywhere when needed, too. -- Ward Silver, N0AX Make reduced-size photocopies of your certificates that the Emergency Management Institute sends in the mail. By doing this, and putting the reduced size copy in laminate, it can be carried in one of those neat neck lanyards available from the ARRL. Add a simple plastic ID carrier, available at any office or department store, and you have what is needed to prove compliance of any number of courses or classes. I carry my ARRL orange call sign badge, along with my ARES ID card, Red Cross First Aid and CPR cards, and the reduced size FEMA certificates IS-100, IS-200, IS-700. With three plastic ID pockets and the call sign badge, it makes a neat and professional looking arrangement. -- Jerry Palmer, N3KRX, Houston, Delaware + VALUE OF VOLUNTEER TIME UP 49 CENTS IN 2005 Independent Sector <http://www.independentsector.org/>, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of philanthropic organizations dedicated to strengthening the nonprofit sector, announced that the value of a volunteer hour was $18.04 in 2005, up 49 cents from a year earlier. Nationally, IS estimates the total value of hours volunteered in 2004 was equivalent to approximately $280 billion of contributed services. "It is a challenge to place a dollar value on the important work volunteers do for millions of charitable organizations and communities across the country," said IS president and CEO Diana Aviv. "But this number can help put into perspective the enormous contributions provided by our nation's volunteers." <http://www.independentsector.org/media/20060306_volunteer_time.html> Independent Sector Press Release 3/06/06 -- Alan Bosch, KO4ALA, EC, Arlington, Viginia + SOUTH CAROLINA ARES GROUP TO ACTIVATE EOC FOR FD Berkeley County, South Carolina, ARES will activate the Berkeley County EOC as a Class F Field Day site for the 2006 ARRL Field Day. This will be only the second EOC activated in this class for the State of South Carolina and the first in the Low country. Berkeley ARES enjoys the strong support of the County Council, Office of Emergency Preparedness and the Sheriff's Office. All Council members and staff, along with county employees are invited to attend this event and operate our station. Berkeley ARES will operate HF, VHF/UHF, along with an ATV demonstration station. Contacts with other Class F stations are invited and will receive a special QSL card. -- Dennis Zabawa, KG4RUL, Information Officer + IN RE PERSPECTIVE: EMERGENCIES VERSUS DISASTERS Tom Cox, VE6TOX, may be technically correct, but "Emergencies versus Disasters" in the last issue is a bit nit-picky. (Semantics, semantics, semantics.) If the emergency is your house that is on fire or your ship that is sinking, it is a disaster for you! Sadly, few hams are capable of handling calls for help whether they are large or small, an "emergency" or a "disaster." There is no guarantee that a distress call from land, sea, or air will be picked up by normal "professional" services. As radio amateurs, we should always be ready to handle any call for help accurately, efficiently and quickly. Several years ago I monitored one call that was botched so badly that I finally had to break in: The calling operator had a heavy accent, but he knew and was using ITU phonetics. The U.S. operator who was attempting to assist did not know ITU phonetics. If I hadn't stepped in, the victims would probably still be waiting for help. Remaining alert and knowing proper radio operating procedure is important. Maintaining a level of readiness includes keeping a "ready book" that contains key emergency telephone numbers for your local agencies plus your nearest Coast Guard station and USAF Rescue Coordination Center. (Calls normally should originate with a local or state SAR Coordinator.) A skilled operator will listen carefully, determine the nature of the emergency, the number of persons affected, the exact location or position, and write down everything immediately. Remain in contact with the calling party if possible, and notify authorities. If the calling station is low on power, maintain a radio watch, and inform them that you are monitoring. Make a schedule to contact them if appropriate. All other stations on frequency should monitor, and stand by for relaying duty if needed. Stations should not break in and offer to help unless absolutely necessary or additional assistance is requested. -- D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ, Sacramento Valley (California) SEC, Editor-Publisher EMCOMM MONTHLY + NEAR REAL TIME ALERT RESOURCE A great link that I find useful here is the Emergency and Information Service Website: <http://visz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/usa_alert.php?lang=eng> It has near real time alerts for fires, NOAA weather events, Geological updates, Avian Flu, Mumps, et cetera. -- Les Rayburn, N1LF, National Communications System-NCS047, ARES-SHARES-SKYWARN ARRL EmComm Level 3 Certified Official Emergency Station + AMATEUR RADIO AT THE 2006 NATIONAL HURRICANE CONFERENCE Amateur Radio was featured at the annual National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Florida. On Tuesday, April 11, representatives from ARRL Headquarters and the ARRL Field Organization helped sponsor a training session to discuss lesson learned from the 2005 hurricane season. Nearly 80 persons attended the afternoon session. Gary Sessums, KC5QCN, RACES Radio Officer; ARES EC, Hillsborough County, Florida, started the presentations with an in-depth discussion and slide show of his ARES team's deployment experiences to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. Later in the session, Rick Muething, KN6KB, and Bud Thompson, N0IA, gave a talk on Winlink 2000 and discussed how this system is presently working. Questions and answers were entertained. Other attendees also had a chance to talk about their experiences during this last hurricane season. During the "open forum" portion of the session, attendees discussed issues surrounding their work with served agencies and emergency communication training. -- Steve Ewald, WV1X, ARRL Headquarters. + 2006 FLORIDA GOVERNOR'S HURRICANE CONFERENCE The 20th Annual Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference was held May 8 through May 12, 2006 at Fort Lauderdale. A Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) training session was held May 10. This session is designed to provide emergency management personnel with an overview of the myriad of volunteer, local, state and federal backup/auxiliary communications systems available during disaster response and recovery. For more information about the Florida Governor's Hurricane Conference, please visit <http://www.flghc.org/> -- Gary Sessums, KC5QCN, RACES Radio Officer; ARES EC, Hillsborough County, Florida + 2006 ARES E-LETTER TITLEIST SELECTED "How about asking for something more useful next time? What purpose is served by showing off the number of titles you can attach after your name? Asking who has the most titles is almost as bad as asking who has the most antennas on his car or the most HTs on his belt. Give me the guys with the practical experience and those willing to learn; you can have all the ones that reply with the long lists of titles and absolutely no idea how or where to implement what should have come with those titles (and most likely didn't!)." -- Don Moore, KM0R, Missouri SEC [A few others felt similarly, but by and large, readers enjoyed sending in their entries for a little fun. Here is a sampling of some of my favorites, followed by the (drum roll please) 2006 ARES E-Letter Titleist. - K1CE] "My name is Dave Cline, KB9ZMF, and I currently have a Technician license. Also I completed my [ARECC] Level 1 course last month. I know that's not much, but I'm trying." "Emergency Coordinator for Union Parish, Louisiana; Official Emergency Station (OES); ARES Member; SKYWARN trained, all three levels; Mentor, ARECC Courses; IS-700, IS-100, IS-0037; American Red Cross certified in: Introduction to Disaster Services, Shelter Operations, Shelter Simulations, Mass Care, Damage Assessment; and Control Operator (and owner) of the Union Parish ARES repeater 145.230 MHz." - 73, Mack, KA5JNL <email@example.com> "IS 001-Emergency Program Manager, IS 002-Emergency Preparedness, USA, IS 003-Radiological Emergency Management, IS 005A-An Introduction to Hazardous Materials, IS 007-A Citizen's Guide to Disaster Assistance, IS 015-Special Events Contingency Planning, IS 022-Are You Ready?, IS 100-Introduction to the Incident Command System, IS 120-An Orientation to Community Disaster Exercises, IS 139-Exercise Design, IS 195-Basic Incident Command System, IS 200-ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents, IS 208-State Disaster Management, IS 230-Principles of Emergency Management, IS 244-Developing and Managing Volunteers, IS 275-Role of the Emergency Operations Center, IS 288-Role of Voluntary Agencies in Emergency Management, IS 292-Disaster Basics, IS 317-Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team, IS 700-National Incident Management System, IS 800-National Response Plan (NRP), an Introduction" -- 73, Jerry Palmer, N3KRX <firstname.lastname@example.org> "IS-100, 200, and 700; Red Cross First Aid, BLS for Healthcare including CPR/AED, First Responder; all ARRL ARECC Levels. And I have been a Ham for over 45 years. - 73, Nick, K1NGJ [Insert very long list of titles and accomplishments here. - ed.] "In looking this over, I think I had better re-balance my life a bit more." -- 73, Dick, N3DV "You want titles. Ok, here they come: Section Emergency Coordinator, Northern Florida; Assistant Section Manager; Official Emergency Station; DEC, Suwannee District (former); DEC, Crown District (former); EC, Clay County (former); AEC, Clay County (former); Section Traffic Manager, Northern Florida (former); and Affiliated Club Coordinator, Northern Florida (former). Some day, I'll wear all my different appointment badges to a hamfest!" - 73, Joe Bushel, W2DWR And now, the envelope please: The Selection Panel (of one) has chosen co-winners this year: One is Kentucky Section Manager John Meyers, NB4K, for not only his considerable list, but for the fact that the job of Section Manager is the most difficult in the Field Organization. The SM's role is largely unheralded, thankless, and involves making important decisions for what is best, which often are incompatible with popularity and political expediency. Congratulations to John on being named a 2006 ARES E-Letter Titleist, right up there with the prestige of a Kentucky Colonel. Here is John's balanced and fine entry: "Here is a list of my titles for which I have a certificate for each. IS-001, IS-002, IS-003, IS-005, IS-007, IS-008, IS-010, IS -011, IS-15, IS-022, IS-55, IS-100, IS-100PW, IS-100FW, IS-100LE, IS-111, IS-120, IS-139, IS-195, IS-200, IS-200FW, IS-208, IS-230, IS-235, IS-240, IS-242, IS-241, IS-244, IS-275, IS-288, IS-292, IS-301, IS-302, IS-317, IS -331, IS-346, IS-362, IS-386, IS-393, IS-394, IS-700, IS-800; Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) Basic Emergency Operations Center; Donations Management Public Information Officer; Radiological Emergency Management; Assessment 1; Heartsaver AED; ARRL-001, ARRL-002, ARRL-003; KY ARES 1, KY ARES 2, KY ARES NC; FEMA Professional Development Series Certificate; Basic and Advanced SKYWARN weather spotter; Red Cross Damage Assessment; Emergency Management Assistance Training (EMAC)" -- 73, John D. Meyers, NB4K, Kentucky Section Manager, Kentucky District 7 Amateur Radio Emergency Team Chairman William Grimsbo, N0PNP, sent in the following fine entry, which to the Selection Panel, represents a well-balanced portfolio of emcomm-related titles. He is this year's co-winner! Congratulations, William. "* ARECC Level 1,2,3; ARECC Examiner; Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordinator for St. Charles County; CERT Instructor; FEMA Professional Development Series IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, Is-800; Vice President, Missouri Repeater Council; Assistant Emergency Coordinator, St. Charles County ARES; former EC, St. Charles County ARES; President, Emergency Communications Association (ECA) of St. Charles County; Volunteer Manager for St. Charles County Division of Emergency Management; Communications Specialist, St. Charles County Search Rescue and Recovery; SKYWARN Advanced Weather Spotter. Plus, I work full time as a Technical Lead Engineer for a major aerospace company. Enough to keep me busy." -- William Grimsbo, N0PNP + K1CE FOR A FINAL I was struck by the discussion of the hardening of amateur repeater and 800 MHz trunking (public safety) systems in hurricane and other situations. I'm sure this isn't a novel idea, but it seems the ultimate solution may simply be to eliminate hardware on the ground and instead use hardware in the sky. Satellite systems have little or no infrastructure on the ground to be taken out by storms. For $12.95 a month for satellite service, I get 150 channels of digital programming beamed into my little ole pick-up truck with a tiny receiver and a mag-mounted antenna the size of a half-dollar on the roof. Admittedly, economies of scale are at play here, but something is wrong with this picture. Shouldn't we as radio amateurs be looking upwards at our own satellites as platforms for provision of "hardened" emergency communication services to public safety? See you next month!