ARES Supports Emergency Communications During Colorado Flooding
Pikes Peak Amateur Radio Emergency Service (PPARES) volunteers on August 9 provided communication support to several organizations during the Waldo Canyon flood in Manitou Springs, Colorado. PPARES members assisted the El Paso County Emergency Operations Center, the Colorado Springs EOC, the National Weather Service-Pueblo/SKYWARN, the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross and one Red Cross shelter.
“We deployed several operators with hand-held radios and mobile radios, even to areas blocked off from non-emergency traffic, as well as operating on two nets and at least three repeaters,” PPARES PIO John Bloodgood, KDØSFY, told ARRL. “It was a hectic 6 to 7 hours, but we were able to pass some valuable information and observations for our served organizations.”
Some two dozen operators checked in with reports on rainfall rates, creek and roadway water levels, traffic and shelter populations, he said. PPARES activated again on August 12 and 14 to support the EOCs and NWS-Pueblo, providing rainfall rates, street flooding, creek levels, and hail occurrences, Bloodgood said.
“Our SKYWARN program holds daily nets with briefings from NWS-Pueblo and is able to [validate] NWS products and observations critical to their decision process regarding issuing weather warnings,” he explained. “We deploy observers to pre-designated creek observation points to enable the EOCs to make evacuation and emergency response decisions. We also support the flow of information from Red Cross evacuation shelters to the main Red Cross chapter, facilitating their processes regarding supplies, emergency needs, and shelter utilization.”