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The ARES E-Letter
November 21, 2018
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE
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In This Issue:

 

California Fires Responses

(11/13/18) From Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, ARRL News Desk (summarized) -- Amateur Radio volunteers have been active on several fronts as wildfires raged in large sections of California.

Camp Fire

In Butte County, northern California, the Camp Fire caused multiple shelters to be opened to evacuees, with five Sacramento Valley ARES groups involved in communications support between the Red Cross Disaster Operations Center (DOC) and the shelters.In addition to supporting the shelters, ARES members were also tasked by Red Cross to shadow Red Cross delivery vehicles to provide communications in the mountain areas to the shelters.

ARES voice, WINLINK, and email were used to pass shelter counts and tactical messages between the shelter and the Red Cross Disaster Operations Center and Cal Office of Emergency Services. The Red Cross supported ARES at the shelters with hot spots and backup radios.

Working 12-hour shifts, Sacramento Valley Section District Emergency Coordinator 3 Michael Joseph, KK6GZB, staffed the Red Cross radio station as net control for the DOC, passing messages and tracking ARES personnel. Sacramento ARES members have been pitching in as needed. Joseph also has been coordinating ARES deployments as needed.

Visit the ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Facebook page or Twitter account for more information. -- Thanks to Section Emergency Coordinator Greg Kruckewit, KG6SJT

Woolsey Fire

The Woolsey Fire swept through the westernmost portion of Los Angeles County and the easternmost area of Ventura County in the ARRL Santa Barbara Section. "Governmental radio systems used by fire and sheriff held up," said Los Angeles Section Manager Diana Feinberg, AI6DF. "Evacuees went to areas where cell phone service was generally available." She said Los Angeles ARES (ARES LAX) was not activated because no county hospitals were in the affected area and no hospital outside the fire zone was in danger of losing communication. A team of ARES LAX operators organized by LAX-Northwest District Emergency Coordinator Roozy Moabery, W1EH, did perform logistics work at a major drop-off site in the San Fernando Valley for evacuee supplies.

On the air for the Woolsey Fire, both the Los Angeles County Disaster Communications Service (DCS) -- Amateur Radio volunteers overseen by the Sheriff's Department -- and the City of Los Angeles Fire Department Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS) operated nets and monitored their respective frequencies. "The DCS group at Lost Hills Sheriff Station covers most of the Los Angeles County areas affected by the Woolsey Fire and communicated with organized amateurs in the cities of Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Westlake Village, and unincorporated mountain areas when not affected by respective mandatory evacuation orders," Feinberg said. "The City of Los Angeles' ACS group was involved when the city's West Hills neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley became the fire's northeastern front, forcing about half the West Hills community to evacuate."

Feinberg said ACS members have also been involved with delivering food and water supplies to LAFD firefighters and performing fire patrols. American Red Cross volunteers are reported to be using Amateur Radio in connection with some of their fire response activities, Feinberg reported.

Click here for full story.

And here is an 11/19/18 update: Repeaters, Amateur TV Play Communication Role in California Fire Emergency

ARES Briefs, Links

Maritime Mobile Service Network Operators Assist Vessel with Ill Crew Member (11/14/18); Eastern Massachusetts SEC Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Receives Blue Hills Observatory Outstanding Service Award (11/12/18); Oregon ARES Drill Scenario to Simulate Double Virus and Hypothetical Terrorist Attack (11/08/18)

Key References

See the ARRL 2018 Hurricanes Page for Information Resources, ARRL News, Media Hits, and Donations to Ham Aid.

ARES Annual/Monthly Reports can be found here, organized by date, with a link to download a PDF of the full report.

Archives of the ARRL ARES E-Letter going back to the original issue (September 2005) are available for download.

ARRL Emergency Coordinators may register their ARES group here for a group ID.

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Hurricane Michael: Northern Florida ARES Groups Begin to File After Action Reports

Last month, Hurricane Michael slammed into Florida's panhandle, the most severe hurricane to ever hit the region. ARES groups across the entire state were either directly involved in disaster communications efforts or secondarily involved by providing support via numerous HF and VHF emergency/disaster nets, various modes, and organizations for those in the affected areas. After Action Reports have begun to be drafted and filed with Section and ARES leadership. The reports lend insight into operating conditions and challenges, and all-important lessons learned.

Escambia County (Westernmost Panhandle County)

On Tuesday, October 9 through Wednesday, October 10 at 1700 (almost 18 hours), Escambia County (at the western end of the panhandle) ARES was activated for the County EOC Level 2 activation for Hurricane Michael operations. Assistant EC Joe McLemore, KF4DVF, reported that 21 Amateur Radio operators/stations were involved in total (fifteen county ARES members, and six non-ARES personnel).

The ARES room inside the EOC was staffed by four ARES members. Both open evacuation shelters were staffed by radio operators.The Escambia County Emergency Net (also the local ARES net) was activated on the 146.76 MHz VHF repeater. Several messages were sent via a tactical VHF local net and the HF statewide nets: The Northern Florida ARES Net and the Northern Florida Emergency Net on 3950 kHz, were monitored in the ARES room at the EOC for the following agencies: Red Cross and shelters (also BRACE, the Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies), Escambia County Fire Rescue, and Escambia County Emergency Communications.

The SATERN net was also monitored by Eugene Brannon, KB4HAH, per the request of the Salvation Army coordinated through ARRL Northern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator Karl Martin, KG4HBN. Digital modes were also employed in various capacities, including APRS and Winlink. The operators monitored National Weather Service NWS Chat, and HURREVAC (storm tracking and decision support tool of the National Hurricane Program, administered by FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Hurricane Center) was also used. [NWS Chat is an Instant Messaging program used by NWS operational personnel to share critical warning decision expertise and other types of significant weather information that is exchanged in real-time with the media and emergency response community, who in turn play a key role in communicating the NWS's hazardous weather messages to the public. NWS partners can use NWS Chat as an efficient means of seeking clarifications and enhancements to the communication stream originating from the NWS during a fast-paced significant weather or hydrologic event.]

The new ARES Connect system was used to keep Escambia County ARES members notified and to ask for assistance. The ARRL volunteer management, communications, and reporting system allows information to be logged by ARES members and managed through the Field Organization. Six e-mails were sent to Escambia County ARES members via the ARES Connect system. Two Escambia County ARES members volunteered and were deployed to the Panama City disaster area to provide communications support.

All told, ARES time invested included an estimated 70.3 person-hours for direct incident involvement, and three hours for planning and documentation.

Gilchrist County (east of the Big Bend region)

Gilchrist County is a large rural agricultural county bordered on the north and west by the Santa Fe river and the famous Suwannee River, with a population of roughly 20,000.

Gilchrist County EC John Greiner, KJ4YPZ, reported on pre-landfall actions taken Thursday, October 4, activating the county 2-meter ARES Net on the Bell repeater (147.285 MHz) at 7:30 PM. Amateurs were informed on the progress of the storm and of the Nightly Storm Net to begin Monday, October 8. (The storm net designation and operation starts within 72 hours of impact to the area per ARES protocol).

By Sunday, October 7, Michael was still a Tropical Storm. Information was posted by Greiner on the Dixie Amateur Radio Klub web blog page and emailed to all radio operators and ARES members on the contact list. On Monday night, the Nightly Storm Net began operations with briefings. Greiner tested and set up radios at the Gilchrist EOC and station NF4EC. Emergency Management planned to go to Level 2 activation on Tuesday afternoon: By 2 PM, Michael was a Category 2 hurricane and by 5 PM was upgraded to a Category 3. More information on hurricane nets and advisories, frequencies and schedules, was passed. On Wednesday, October 10, the storm made landfall near Mexico Beach as a devastating Category 4 storm.

Gilchrist County ARES monitored the situation at level 3 activation through the passing of the storm. When the State EOC lost Tallahassee radar and the internet, Greiner was able to provide the state EOC staff with timely info on the current location of the passing storm. In Gilchrist, three shelters -- one for special needs at the Bell High School -- had been opened and three persons sought shelter.

Post-storm Recommendations: Greiner said repeaters,HF antennas, cell towers and 911 took blows in the affected areas."There needs to be more reliance on and training with VHF FM simplex and mobile HF antennas and operation for resilience." A local area club has since initiated a simplex net to begin November 20. Greiner is encouraging his ARES members to improve their antennas for operation and participation on simplex nets. He also said "Those that have the capability to go mobile with HF radio and antenna are encouraged to be prepared to use the systems after the storm's passing necessitates the lowering of fixed HF antennas/towers."

Hurricane Michael: American Red Cross Thanks Radio Amateurs

The American Red Cross Communications Manager for the hurricane Michael response sent the following letter to ARRL Northern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator Karl Martin, KG4HBN:

"I wish to acknowledge and congratulate each of you and the many amateurs who manned the stations at the Red Cross shelters and District Operations during Hurricane Michael. As the Amateur Radio leadership team on DR 748-19 I hope you will pass along to your associates our heartfelt appreciation for an outstanding job. The professionalism and dedication by each operator was truly inspiring.

"I wish to give special recognition to Sal Martocci, K4YFW, who was by my side throughout the first three weeks. He has become the voice of the American Red Cross in North Florida. Special thanks to Randy Pierce, AG4UU, whose vision and hard work in support of Florida SARNET demonstrated what a phenomenal emergency communications system we are so fortunate to have in our state, and to Pat Lightcap, K4NRD who tirelessly served as Net Control for more hours than one can imagine.

"Special recognition to Karl Martin, KG4HBN, who pulled the ARES team together and maintained a full staff at all locations throughout the entire critical period.

"Beside SARNET we were fortunate to have the North Florida ARES net on 80 meters run by Terry Webb, N0TW, and Paul Eakin, KJ4G. With the 80 meter net we had virtually 100% coverage. Their team provided a much needed service day and night.

"Supporting this outstanding leadership team were a group of phenomenal amateur operators who are the unsung heroes spending countless hours in the field to help alleviate human suffering. On behalf of the American Red Cross we hope you will give your team the recognition they richly deserve and express our sincere appreciation.

"God bless each of you." -- David Morris, K4AW, Communications Manager, October 10 - 31, 2018, Hurricane Michael DR 748-19, American Red Cross, Tallahassee, Florida

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How to Send E-mail to a Disaster Area via WINLINK

There's a common misconception that one has to have complicated equipment, software and skills to leverage the ham radio-developed WINLINK system to reach into disaster areas. In fact, one of the major advantages of the system is that it can easily connect disaster area-located volunteers (who must use radio to make any connection) with anyone else in the state, nation or world. It provides an easy way for "back-home" supporters, family and friends to keep in touch with deployed volunteers.

First you have to know the correct email Winlink address of the disaster-located ham: it is simply their callsign (e.g., K4AAA) @winlink.org thus K4AAA@winlink.org

Second, because WINLINK was built to handle slow-speed radio connections, receiving a load of spam would be catastrophic for throughput over a slow modem protocol. To avoid this, WINLINK developers put in a "white list" -- a list for each WINLINK email user of who is allowed to send them email. While the WINLINK user can simply add you to their email-okay list, there's an even simpler way for support amateurs to bypass this, which will not be known by spammers -- just put //WL2K at the beginning of your subject line. For example, like this: //WL2K What is your current Status?

With those two critical components of the Winlink email message format, anyone with normal email can make needed communications to a deployed volunteer who is participating in the WINLINK system. One caveat: WINLINK can't "force" email onto a volunteer who doesn't have their radio turned on, or isn't connecting into a Winlink server station, so it depends on periodic check-ins by the participant to check for, receive and send email by radio.

Approximately 50,000 messages per month are transacted by this system, so it is in regular substantial usage. WINLINK email-users can also add entire domains to their "white list" (e.g., arrl.org, arrl.net, em.myflorida.com and state.fl.us ) -- which might be a useful thing to do for those who are going to be deployed and will be in contact with officials or managers. Click here for additional information: -- -- Gordon Gibby, KX4Z, North Florida Amateur Radio Club

Southern New Jersey ARES Team Supports Search for Missing Man

On November 10, 2018 Ocean County, Southern New Jersey ARES members assisted search groups in looking for a man who was reported missing from a local nursing home on November 2. The man suffered from dementia. Searches had been ongoing and somewhat weather dependent in neighborhoods around the nursing home. On Saturday, November 10, a search was planned by the family of the missing man.

Tim Tonnesen, NJ2N, notified Bob Murdock, WX2NJ, the Ocean County ARES Emergency Coordinator, that this search would be taking place in a wooded area. This was considered an emergency operation for Ocean County ARES and a plan was put into place. Tonnesen was instrumental in contacting the local authorities and

Tom Devine, WB2ALJ, and Ocean County EC Bob Murdock, WX2NJ, attend search briefing. (photo courtesy N2XW)

working with the family and search teams to execute the search plan. Murdock concentrated on the communications technical side and manpower. Notifications went out to all Ocean County ARES members. They coordinated the area to be searched with Stafford Twp Police.

Search volunteers and ARES members met at 9:00 AM Saturday morning at the Ocean County Vocational School and ARES ops established a Net Control station at a park two miles from the school where commercial power, shelter and rest rooms were available.The ARES mission was to coordinate communications between the search groups. There were 143 volunteers divided into three groups and nine Ocean County ARES radio operators. Each group had two radio operators. The groups then set out in the three designated search areas. Topo maps were used to plot out the search areas.

Communications initially took place on the Manahawkin 145.835 MHz N2OO repeater, but coverage for the H-T's was a challenge due to topography. Operators switched to the 449.825 MHz WA2RES repeater for great coverage.

When there was a private property/trespass issue, the request of the landowner and his permission were relayed by Amateur Radio and handled quickly. The search teams came back to the park by 1:00 PM as was requested, with negative findings.

ARES members assisted with making sure all were accounted for. Operators were positioned to remind searchers to sign out at the rally point after leaving the search area.

The group of operators returned by 3:00 PM and all were accounted for. The coordination between ARES and local and state police was smooth and went well. Searcher-volunteers were made up of local citizens and volunteer fire and EMS personnel. All involved were required to sign in and out. This was well coordinated with the ARES members. All ARES operators wore ARES ID reflective vests and were easily visible to everyone.

While the missing person was not found during this search effort, this was a good experience for all ARES operators. A future issue that the group will discuss is obtaining or constructing an ARES command post shelter or vehicle.

Mike Daly, KC2SBR, summed up the event like this: "Bottom line to me was it was real world, meaning all of elements of the incident response got pulled together quickly and ad hoc. What I saw were volunteers thinking on their feet, adjusting on the fly to the 'fog' that can creep into an event response, looking for where we could fill the gaps and add value as we went beyond just holding a radio. That experience to me was a highlight: no exercise plan I have ever been involved in, in the military or in Emergency Management and Continuity of Operations, ever runs as scripted in the real world, and it's that experience to roll with the punches and adjust as it happens that no book can teach." -- Tom Preiser, N2XW, ARRL Southern New Jersey Section Emergency Coordinator

Search Terms to Know

From the Kentucky Emergency Management agency --

Search Area - When search teams begin looking for a person (search subject), they often draw lines on a map to divide the world into search areas. These areas will then get labeled, such as A, B, C, D, etc. or 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. When teams are sent into the field to look for the person, they are assigned a search area and given a map of that area. It is up to the search team to complete their assignment, return to base and report their findings.

Point Last Seen (PLS) - This is the point on the map where the person was last spotted by a witness with a positive identification. It might be a trailhead, hunting camp, boat dock, parking lot, etc. If you know for certain the person was seen standing by their car in the parking lot just two hours ago, then you have a place to begin your search. You also know about how far the person might be able to travel in two hours, which helps limit your search area.

Last Known Position (LKP) - During a search, clues will turn up about the person. Occasionally, the clue will be solid enough to be reasonably certain the search subject left it. For example, if the person is hiking a trail and searchers have a good unique shoe print, a tracker can often find the same print along the trail, at a stream bed, etc. and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person left the clue. Since the LKP is more recent than the PLS, you basically have a new starting point for your search. Knowing just these two points allows you to determine general direction of travel, approximate speed of travel, etc.

Probability of Detection (POD or PoD) - POD is the likelihood of finding the search subject in a given search area with the technique used. Different search methods typically yield different PODs.

For example, imagine someone lost a silver dollar coin in a child's sandbox. When you begin looking for it, you simply shuffled the sand around hoping it would turn up. Your probability of detection for this hasty search might be 25%. In other words, 25% of the time, this hasty search would have turned up the lost coin. But it didn't. So, you begin digging a little deeper, looking a little harder, etc., but still with no definite technique. When you finish, you might begin asking the person if they were sure they lost it in the sandbox. Now, you're 50% sure it isn't in the box. So, you search a third time. But, this time you approach the search with a more structured approach. You draw some large blocks in the sand and run your fingers through each "grid" looking for the coin. When you've searched the entire sandbox you declare, I'm 75% sure the coin isn't in there. Finally, you divide each large block in the sand, into smaller blocks and search each block by screening the sand through a wire mesh. Sure enough, you discover the coin. It was in there all along.

Each of the above search techniques carries with it a "probability of detection." The more thorough the search technique, the higher the POD. However, the more thorough the search technique, the longer it will take you to complete the search of the same area. Managing a search is usually a balancing act between POD and search time in the field.

Also, as you might guess, POD for a given search area becomes cumulative. So, searching the sandbox twice quickly is usually more effective (higher POD) than searching it once very slowly.

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FEMA Releases 2018 National Preparedness Report

FEMA has released the 2018 National Preparedness Report. In its seventh year, this report summarizes the nation's progress toward becoming a more secure and resilient nation.

The report highlights lessons learned from previous responses, along with findings from preparedness activities. The events and activities captured in the report allow responders and emergency managers throughout the nation to better understand capabilities, identify shortfalls, and build capacity in preparation for future large-scale and catastrophic incidents.

The 2018 National Preparedness Report also identifies gains made in preparedness across the nation and identifies where challenges remain. These findings provide insights into preparedness and informs decisions about future program priorities, resource allocations, and community actions.

The 2018 Report considers select 2017 real-world incidents that tested the nation's capabilities, preparedness trends from state, tribal and territory perspectives, and an overview of activities and investments to build and sustain capabilities. As a result, it provides in-depth evaluation of five core capabilities identified in previous reports as facing persistent preparedness challenges-- Infrastructure Systems, Housing, Economic Recovery, Cybersecurity, and Operational Coordination.

Driver Rescued Thanks to Alert Badger Weather Net Members

In Wisconsin, the Badger Weather Net has as its purpose the reporting of ground truth weather data - specifically temperature and precipitation information -- from the previous day as well as current comparison.This net covers all of Wisconsin and some of the surrounding area. We have capability on two bands - on 75-meters at 3.984 MHZ and on 2-meters on the various linked Wecomm repeaters.

The following is a narrative of the emergency communications that took place during one early morning Badger Weather Net. As I was serving as net control for the net Saturday morning, a weak and broken signal came in on the repeater system. It took a few calls to determine that a fellow ham was in the ditch with a trailer, sliding off the icy roads in Price County. He was requesting assistance of the Sheriff's Department.
I called 911 and spoke with the friendly and helpful dispatcher at the Dunn County Sheriff's Department. She gave me the phone number of the Price County Sheriff's Department. I called the Price County Sheriff's office and got Bob Hoffman, KQ9J, the dispatcher there. As a ham, he was aware of how I had become involved and was most helpful. After asking a few questions of the driver via a three way conversation with me in the middle relaying, he dispatched a car to block traffic while the pickup and trailer were pulled out of the ditch and back on the road.
While there were no personal injuries in this incident, the driver was very cold and his cell phone was useless because of the terrain. Amateur Radio and the Badger Weather Net were in the right place at the right time to be of assistance. That's what we hams do. -- Ron Purvis, WB9WKO, Knapp, Wisconsin
[The Badger Weather Net (BWN) was started December 14, 1964 by a handful of Wisconsin Amateur Radio operators. Since that time the net has provided the National Weather Service with valuable weather observations of high/low temperatures and precipitation from across the state. This collected data is used for input into the river forecast model, for public and fire weather forecasts, verification of watches and warnings, for local media use, and various research projects. The BWN has grown over the years from only a handful of reporting sites to over 60 stations that report the weather data daily. For more information on this historic service net, click here. -- ed.]
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News Media Covers Amateurs' Hurricane Michael Involvement

News 4 JAX (Jacksonville, FL) 10/17/2018 | Local amateur radio operators needed to help communication after Michael

Florida Times-Union newspaper (Jacksonville, FL) 10/14/2018 | Nassau County amateur radio operators aid communications following Hurricane Michael

Gainesville Sun daily newspaper (Gainesville, FL) 10/13/2018 | Local ham radio operators helping with post-hurricane communications

WKRN News 2 (Nashville, TN) 10/12/2018 | Ham radio operators connect emergency teams and families stranded by Hurricane Michael

Good Morning America-ABC News 10/11/2018 | Historic Hurricane Devastates Gulf Coast (at 6-minute mark, look for ARES operator and ARES logo on his truck)

WFLA NewsChannel 8 (Citrus County FL) 10/11/2018 | Amateur radio operators provide hurricane aid through the airwaves

WTSP-TV News 10 (Tampa, FL) 10/11/2018 | Hurricane Michael downs countless trees in Marianna, Florida

The above media hits were reported by Scott Roberts, KK4ECR, Northern Florida Section Public Information Coordinator, who said in the November issue of the section newsletter QST NFL "Kudos to our PIO's and EC's who took the time to talk to our media and give them accurate accounts of what we do. Many of the operators in the Northern Florida Section assisted with support of our served agencies in one way or another during Hurricane Michael." Roberts is seeking more media hits for his compilation.

Ham Radio Assists in Rescue of Missing Mariner

[St. John, US Virgin Islands, October 3, 2018] It was Thursday night and I was nodding in and out while watching TV. From the other room I heard what sounded like a weak scratchy signal trying to access the local repeater. I answered "This is Fred, NP2X, on St. Croix. The station trying to access the repeater, you are very noisy into the system, please try it again." I then heard, "This is Tia." (NP2RE). Unbeknownst to me, Tia's parents had been attending the monthly meeting of St. John Rescue, a volunteer organization serving the St John, USVI community. Shortly after arriving to the meeting, St John Rescue received a request for assistance from the VI Police Department: They had received a report of a dingy spotted washed up on the rocks in Reef Bay with no occupant. Tia's parents Larry Pruss, NP2LP, and Jennifer Pruss, NP2QT, immediately headed to Reef Bay. Other members of St. John Rescue headed to the marina to begin conducting the maritime portion of the search.

What follows is Larry's summary in his own words: "Jennifer and I traversed the various shorelines and beaches in the dark in search of the boater. The terrain became too rocky for Jennifer to continue, so she remained behind perched on the rocks providing flood lighting. As the Rescue radio coverage was marginal, Jennifer and I kept in touch via our VHF amateur radios. When the lights of the Rescue boat became visible in the bay, both Jennifer and I found we had unreliable communications with the boat."

"After finding the dingy on the rocks, I continued traversing the rocky shoreline, and found the boater huddled along the shore in a rock crevice. The boater reported his boat hit the reef, he was thrown from the dingy. His position was an extremely treacherous spot, which the Rescue boat could not reach. We were at the water's edge at the base of a tall seashore cliff. The boater had minor scratches, was cold and thirsty. I gave him a Mylar blanket for warmth and he gladly drank the water we brought.

"With no cell service and having difficulty with our VHF radio, the immediate need was to contact the Rescue boat that we had located the missing person and plan his evacuation. Using our radios, Jennifer called our daughters Tia, NP2RE, and Skylar, NP2QS, at our home and requested they relay we had located the missing person to the Rescue boat. Tia and Skylar immediately contacted other Rescue members that passed along the message.

"The boater was not able to hike out as he was exhausted and without shoes. Jennifer hiked to the top of the hill to acquire some shoes from a resident to protect the patient's feet as we moved him from the sharp rocks. Due to the proximity of the reef and large waves, it was also not feasible to land the Rescue boat on the beach. Another Rescue member, Dylan Baird, arrived on scene and managed to reach me. He

Skylar Pruss, NP2QS, (left), and Larry Pruss, NP2LP.

had taken a 4-wheeler to the site, hiked down the beach, and climbed the dangerous rocks to reach the boater's location. Dylan had the good idea to try using the dingy to get our Rescue subject to the Rescue boat. In the dark, Dylan and I pulled the dingy off the rocks, bailed enough water out of it to keep it afloat, and started the engine. Dylan made a break for the reef to get the boat further drained of water and to coordinate next steps with the Rescue boat.

"I stayed with the boater. Dylan reached the Rescue boat and returned with Brian Grassi, another Rescue member. We put a lifejacket on the boater and together transported him to the Rescue boat. Upon reaching the harbor, he was transported to the local clinic for treatment."

"We felt good about a number of things: Within approximately thirty minutes of locating the injured boater, he was transported to the Rescue boat. Our daughters aged 12 and 13 flawlessly executed the relay of critical information using their newly learned skills. (Note: Tia has been licensed for just two weeks and Skylar, just five months).The radio and Rescue training our family received and practiced, may have well saved a life."

Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Larry and Jennifer Pruss have been the spark plugs of a new generation of hams on St. John. In the last six months, and with the support of St John Rescue, they have held two ham class sessions resulting in 23 new hams: 19 on St. John, two on St. Thomas and two on the British Virgin Islands, through their instructional efforts. These new licensees are members of the community, St. John Rescue, the National Park Service, the Fire Department, and include four youngsters under 13 years old. -- Larry Pruss, NP2LP, and Fred Kleber, K9VV/NP2X, ARRL USVI Section Manager

[Section Manager Kleber added this postscript to the editor: "Thanks so much for sharing your spotlight to highlight this success in the Virgin Islands. There will be more coming for sure. We have recently completed a UHF link system to link the three USVI repeaters together. Soon we will be adding IRLP/Echolink, as well as ham radio links to Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands."]

K1CE For a Final: HDSCS, the End of an Era of Extraordinary Service

For years, at 5 AM on Sunday mornings as I woke to go to work at the large Daytona Beach city hospital where I was an ICU RN, I would check my email, and like clockwork, there would be the weekly Hospital Disaster Support Communications System (of Orange County, California) report from its dedicated founder and coordinator April Moell, WA6OPS. I was always amazed to read of the weekly work of the organization: its training, drills, certifications, awards, and, of course, mission critical responses to the area's hospitals.

Moell wrote last month: "Effective today, October 14, the Hospital Disaster Support Communications System has been disbanded after 38 years of service to Orange County medical facilities. After dealing with significant medical issues the last several years, it has become unrealistic for me to continue as coordinator and I have tendered my resignation to the Section Manager. HDSCS members have been unusually dedicated and resourceful, but no one has the requisite time or specific expertise to take on the role of coordinator, which means a succession plan has not been possible at this point and there is no gradual way to discontinue a group such as this.The ARES model has proven to be the most effective way to support hospitals and it is hoped that at some point that can be continued."

April said "she is not leaving Amateur Radio so I hope I will still have the opportunity to interact with many of you at conventions or over the airwaves."

ARRL Southwestern Division Director Dick Norton, N6AA, said it best when he wrote to April: "Thank you for your very long-term contribution to Amateur Radio, and by it, to public service. The Southwestern Division website shows you were given the Division Meritorious Service Award in 1992. Your dedication and leadership will be missed."

I would echo Dick's comments and simply add that April Moell, WA6OPS, has represented the very best of the amateur community's values. And, I will miss waking up early on Sunday mornings to find her thoughtful, comprehensive reports to start my long work shift. Best wishes for the future, April!

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