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GlobalSET 2015 is a Wrap, with Lessons Learned


More than three dozen countries took part in the 2015 Global Simulated Emergency Test (GlobalSET) last month, organized by IARU Region 1 and designed in part to measure the disaster readiness of Amateur Radio. IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Coordinator Greg Mossop, G0DUB, pointed out that the 2015 event differed from other GlobalSETs held since 2006, which emphasized message handling and setting up stations in the field.

“The IARU emergency communications coordinators decided that the best way to achieve this would be to have an availability or ‘call-out’ exercise,” Mossop said. “It asked all countries with emergency communications groups to contact their members and ask them how quickly they could get on air if required.” The start of the exercise was not announced in advance but propagated through a variety of channels, including e-mail and social media. IARU regional coordinators chose December 18 as being clear of most social and cultural events. A time limit of up to 48 hours was set for potential responding organizations to complete the local callout exercise and submit results via a web form.

Mossop estimated that 10 times more radio amateurs took part in GlobalSET 2015, with a few groups returning after a few years absence.

The exercise aimed to demonstrate that radio amateurs can respond quickly and in a coordinated manner, as well as to involve groups and IARU member societies in an event without concern for language, time, or propagation barriers.

Another goal of GlobalSET 2015 was to update information on how many radio amateurs around the world would be available in an emergency.

Advance publicity had sought to explain to new GlobalSET concept, Mossop noted. The web reporting form was aimed at overcoming language barriers through freely available online translation tools, making it easier for emergency coordinators to complete. As it turned out, the survey and the GlobalSET itself confounded a few, who later said they either did not read the reporting instructions or sent the form to other individuals else to complete.

The survey collected data from national emergency communication groups about their organization's response, asking them to identify their members’ overall availability, those immediately available to respond, others needing to obtain supplies before responding, and those having commitments that needed to be cleared.

The survey results covered an estimated 8466 members worldwide, of which 2048 reported they could be available in less than 1 hour.

“This exercise occurred on a normal business day in many countries,” Mossop said. “An availability rate of 20-30 percent of stations is very good and does seem reasonable as a planning assumption for future exercises.”

On the other hand, he said, the survey failed to elicit a complete response from some countries; for example, in the US, emergency coordinators in only 14 states answered the call.Mossop said the exercise identified a need to revise or improve alerting procedures. “Where possible a mixture of methods should be used for alerting members with automatic feedback of message delivery or the response,” he said, adding that reliance on any single system, such as e-mail, was not the best approach.

Mossop said GlobalSET 2015 produce good data to support the need for Amateur Radio spectrum and demonstrate that radio amateurs are ready to respond when needed. -- Thanks to Jim Linton VK3PC 



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