Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month

Looking out the window on this Labour Day, it is hard to believe that we are on the downhill run to the end of the year. Or that Houston is busy drying out after record setting rains (and photoshopped sharks swimming on the highway). And yet, as lovely as the weather is today, out in the Atlantic Ocean, a hurricane, named Irma, is churning away at Catagory 3. Depending on what set of computer models you are prone to follow, or whose newscast you favour, one thing is certain, there is a major risk of a hurricane striking the East Coast, and that hurricane could be category 3 or higher.

We may be in the bullseye, we may get a glancing blow, we may get lucky and it misses us all together. However, now is the time to prepare. Let us pretend that Irma is going to strike the East Coast in such a way that it will come up the Chesapeake Bay and into downtown Washington. Are we ready for this? Are **you** ready for this? Let us review.

Personal Preparedness

  • Have you had any life changes that will affect the status of your personal documents? You know, the ones that you have on a CD, a USB, or something else off-site? Have you updated those document stores?
  • Have you and your family reviewed your plan? Where you will meet? How you will communicate?
  • When did you last refresh your food and water stores? When was the last time you checked the _best before_ date on those cans of SPAM you bought following September 11, 2001?
  • What is the condition of your home? Roof in good shape? Sump pump operational? Siding? Is your insurance up to date?
  •  Go-kit? When did you last refresh your medicine? Check the elastic in your underwear? Do those pants still fit? (Yes, clothes do shrink in your go-bag. It is a fact!)
  •  Got pets? Are you ready to bug out with them? Food, medicine, toys, leash or carrier?
  • What happens if you have to spend several days out of your house? At a shelter, or a hotel?

ARES preparedness

  • Do you have a generator? Is it in good condition? Do you have gas for it and backup gas
  • Are your batteries charged?
  • Did you repack your radios after Field Day or just put them in a corner? Do you have all the cables and connectors with them
  • Have you loaded Slack on your mobile device and logged in lately
  • Do you have maps to key locations printed out? Have you taken a road trip to each location and looked at alternate routes to get to them if the primary roads are blocked?

We all know that the DC area cannot do an evacuation. So if we are evacuated, do you know where you will go? What route will you take? What alternate routes are there? These are only some of the questions we can ponder as we continue to monitor the course of Irma. And even if she does not impact us, we will have some impact unless it completely passes the continent by, and the current models do not show that happening.

Let’s take a moment to review our own preparedness, and the preparedness of the Cadre. We will keep you posted as the path of Irma becomes more predictable.

 

After Action Reports for Crossroads 17.75 & Quantico 100

Crossroads 17.75

On Saturday, March 25, 2017, sixteen ARES members deployed to Prince William Forest to support the Marine Corps Marathon program office. The Crossroads 17.75K run is an event we have supported in the past and the lessons learned from that event have lead to a well executed morning in the park. The weather was nice, starting in the low fifties and ending up in the low seventies by the time the race concluded.

We utilized simplex (147.525) as our frequency and the conditions behaved themselves enough to allow us to reach each other without any problems. Tom, W4PIO, put up an antenna at the Start/Stop to reach back into the forest and to hear us from his location. Most of the rest used a combination of mobile and HT units to communicate.

The day was lovely, the race successful, and everyone got a good work out.

 Quantico 100

On Saturday, April 29, 2017, nine ARES members deployed to Quantico to support the MCM put on the Quantico 100, a one hundred minute race to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of the Quantico Marine Corps Base. Unlike the Crossroads, the afternoon was hot, humid, sticky, and threatened rain all during the event. The course was a two and a half mile loop that runners circled as many times as possible in the hundred minutes.

We utilized the K3FBI repeater with mixed results. Several people utilized a crossband repeater set up to bounce local signals to the K3FBI machine, others used higher power to talk to the repeater. This was a good warm up for our participation in the MCM Triathalon in August, which will utilize almost 30 members over the course of the event, also on MCB Quantico.

Thanks to those who helped out with both events.

2016 SET After Action

Set After Action

Radios up and runningOn Saturday, October 1, 2016, PWCARES participated in the ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET). The objective of this year’s exercise:

Objectives:
* To provide a public demonstration to served agencies and through the news media of the value of Amateur Radio in times of need.
* To provide training and experience in communication under simulated emergency conditions.
* To provide a framework allowing all District Emergency Coordinators, Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers to evaluate how well they are performing.

Chuck, KA3EHL running the radio room
Chuck, KA3EHL running the radio room

The scenario: A line of powerful thunderstorms, spawned by a hurricane, is approaching the state from the southwest. Strong winds, flood producing rains, damaging hail & lightning have paralyzed most of the counties in your district. Wind speeds exceeded 85 MPH and have produced many downed-trees causing power lines to fail. Estimates are between 85% and 90% of homes are without power. Many roads are impassable due to flash-flooding, tree debris, and downed-power lines. Communications has suffered greatly as well. Downed utilities, power outages, and failed back-ups have crippled normal communications. Amateur Radio operators have not gone unscathed. Repeaters without back-up power are no longer operational.

Derek, KV4SH, waiting for traffic
Derek, KV4SH, waiting for traffic

This gave us an opportunity to practice traffic handling and interact with both HF and digital networks. It also gave us the opportunity to practice with the ICS forms, especially the ICS–213 message form and the ICS–214 unit log.

What worked:

  • No problem checking into the HF SSB net. Good comms with only 10 watts on battery power. Many check ins, but didn’t hear them passing any message traffic. Was also able to copy PSK31 on 7050 KHz.
  • Several EOCs from other counties (W4COV and AD4TJ) then used VDEM frequencies, digital modes and waterfall to perform antenna checks, software checks and other tasks.
  • PWCARES VHF1 (simplex) worked well for passing traffic into and out of the EOC but verbal messages are slow. Effective but slow.
  • Numerous messages were sent successfully by voice

Some issues:

  • Appears that the HF net was really only check-in. There was no formal message traffic passed. While the net-control was able to hear and speak to most all districts and conducted a professional level as net control. The main thrust of the exercise seemed to be to verify that all counties could be reached via HF
  • Some Counties used FLMSG for ICS traffic. Others used WordPad to create and pass exercise traffic. When FLMSG was used, W4COV (not VDEM) asked me to stop and use WordPad instead
  • After the initial 40m check in, VDEM Digital NCS (N1XP) left the net and remained offline for the entire exercise. Nothing heard on 80m. 40m was open throughout the exercise
  • VDEM should set a single procedure for passing ICS traffic—FLMSG or WordPad
  • VDEM should maintain a digital NCS throughout an exercise.
  • Need to improve FLDIGI support at the EOC
David, KG4GIY running the SimCell
David, KG4GIY running the SimCell

In all, the exercise was a success from the PWCARES perspective, although I would say it was less than successful from a section level. Because they did not pass traffic, there was no indication of how the traffic would flow or if the net would be able to handle it. Traffic sent to the section from PWCARES was not transferred.

Thanks to the cadre for their participation and to Andy, KJ4MTP, for the photos.

July Training After Action Report

On Saturday, July 16, 2016, PWCARES conducted our regular training outside at the Prince William County government facility. During this training we did two things:

  • Learned how to remotely control a station using TeamViewer[1], remote control software
  • Practice digital communications with FLDIGI

Remote Control

Chuck, KA3EHL, demonstrated how to remotely control a radio. The use case for this is in case we have to use HF, but we cannot run wires. For example, at the EOC, where the building has to remain secure. There are two parts to the system.

Chuck working the remote station
Chuck working the remote station

 

The first part is the remote system, a laptop running Windows and the TeamViewer software. The second part is the host station, connected to the HF radio, running TeamViewer software, and additional digtial software and radio control softwere. Chuck’s radio, an IC–7200,[2] comes with control software, but you could easily use FLRIG if your radio supports it. Chuck demonstrated sending a message with FLDigi, set to the Olivia[3] transmission protocol.

The HF host machine and HF rig
The HF host machine and HF rig

 

This is possible by setting up a BBHN[4] mesh network. TeamViewer needs a network connection, whether that connection is a Local Area Network (LAN), an Internet connection or a BBHN mesh connection. Chuck had flashed two Linksys routers with the BBHN software and connected each laptop to the router. Each router was powered by its own battery, but could be powered by commercial mains if available. He then sent a message which was received and responded to by Larry, K0LB, and was also seen at Tom, W4PIO’s station on the other end of the field.

Tom, W4PIO, working HF
Tom, W4PIO, working HF

 

Chuck’s full presentation is posted to the PWCARES website in Operating Procedures[5].

Digital Exercise

The second part of the exercise was the sending and receiving of messages using FLDigi. This exercise utilized the standard setup for FLDigi in a VHF environment[6]. We had a couple of team members operating from their home station as well as some in the field. There was a combination of radios and laptops and as we have discovered in the past, just bcause it worked yesterday, it may not work today. Each problem was worked through as it came up, and some problems will require a bit more research.

Members of PWCARES getting ready for the next exercise (Photo: A. Lenhart
Members of PWCARES getting ready for the next exercise (Photo: A. Lenhart)

 

Thanks to those who came out and those who partcipated from home.


  1. You can use TeamViewer for non-commercial purposes for no charge.  ↩
  2. Details about the IC–7200.  ↩
  3. Details about the Oliva protocol from Wikipedia.  ↩
  4. Details about broadband-hamnet  ↩
  5. A quick link to Chuck’s presentation.  ↩
  6. As detailed in Section 6.11 of the PWCARES Action Plan.  ↩

July 2016 Exercise

Prince William County ARES July 2016 Exercise

Version: 20160713–01 v1


Overview

Because of the high temperatures expected, we will move the beginning of the exercise back to 0830 EDT .

If you are not coming out, but are going to be around during our training hours, please feel free to jump on the air and participate as well, either by voice or digital means.

I will bring out a couple of pavilions for shade (and so you can see the monitors) and I will bring out a large video screen as well. Tables, chairs, and gear as I have room.

We will be conducting a multi-pronged exercise.

  • There will be a demonstration of remote control of an HF station by Chuck, KA3EHL
  • There will be a demonstration (and hopefully some traffic passing) of HF digital
  • We will again exercise VHF digital
  • We will practice sending and receiving voice traffic

Remote HF

Chuck, KA3EHL will demonstrate remote control of an HF station, using BBHN. This should be quite interesting!

HF Digital

As part of the demonstration of remote control, we will do some HF digital work. Coordination and details of the HF digital part of the exercise will be hashed out over the next couple of days with the parties who have volunteered.

VHF Digital

We will follow our normal plan of operations for VHF digital (see the Action Plan, section 6.11 for details). This is a good chance to come out and get your gear working, configure your gear, or find out more about digital.

Please make sure you have the FLDigi software loaded prior to coming out, as we will not have reliable Internet connectivity.

Voice work

Please bring a sample ICS–213 form as we will do some voice message traffic work as well!

Prince William County ARES March 2016 Exercise Results

Overview


Participants

  • David, KG4GIY
  • Brian, W4CJ
  • Ray, AA4SI
  • Mark, W4IAD
  • Clarence, K4CNM
  • Steve, KM4KWZ
  • Bill, K5AE
  • Mark, W3SR
  • Larry, K4MLA
  • Richard, KG4GFW
  • Zach, K4RSU

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Operational Parameters

We will be testing the K3FBI repeater at 147.345+ PL 167.9, the Woodbridge machine at 147.240+ PL 107.2, and simplex at 147.525, the normal ARES operational frequency. Please ensure each of these frequencies and their PL tones are in your radio to make net changes efficient.

Each operator will be asked to take up station at one of the parking lots or crossroads as indicated on the check sheet which will be provided on Saturday morning along with a copy of the map. We will then systematically check that we can hear each other at each location around the park in each mode. You will likely want to have a pen and paper with you.

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Results

Thanks to those who came out and to the K3FBI repeater association and Woodbridge Wireless. The weather was overcast, the trees were mostly bare. Operators set up at the Start/Stop location, parking lots C through I, Burma Road/Scenic Drive and Oak Ridge/Scenic Drive.

Start/Stop, Lot C, and Oak Ridge utilized 1/2 wave or greater antennas, most on tripods. The rest used some form of vehicle mounted antenna. Radios were primarily mobile radios running at 50 watts. In one case, while running Simplex, Burma Road utilized an HT at 8 watts, with a small mag-mount.

The test was to evaluate the performance of two repeaters (K3FBI, WWI) and simplex for use in the passing of messages for the Marine Corps Marathon Crossroads 17.75 race, to be held April 2, 2016 in the Forest. We know that the Forest presents unique challenges for radio communications and we needed to ensure that options were available come the event day.

General Results

In all, both machines and simplex worked acceptably, with varying results of good, while simplex seemed to work the best over all. In general, the K3FBI machine performed better than the WWI machine, as expected.

Specific Results

Despite being pointed out prior to the event, we had some issues with PL tones not being pre-programmed. This resulted in negative connections. There is also one indication of location deafness which may be a machine issue, a location issue, or both between Lot I and the K3FBI machine. We also experienced difficulties communicating between Lot I and Lot G, despite there being no issues communicating between Lot I and Lot H and Lot G and Lot H. Further investigation into the geography, topology, and geology between these locations will need to be undertaken.

Start/Stop

Start/Stop was running a mobile with a full wave antenna on a tripod. In all situations, the signal between Start/Stop and other locations was solid with this set up on all machines and simplex.

Lot C

Lot C was also running a full wave antenna on a short tripod with a mobile. There were some poor signal reports on the K3FBI machine and the WWI machine. This is likely the result of topology. Simplex resulted in a good, strong signal.

Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge was also using a full wave antenna and mobile on a short tripod. Results were mixed. Reports against K3FBI were mostly strong, while against WWI, they were weak to no response, likely because of PL. Simplex was also strong.

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K3FBI Grid

Note (R) meant the signal was heard on the reverse, not the repeater. In one case, due to PL, in the other case, location and possibly an issues with the repeater.

K3FBI Start Lot C Lot D Lot E Burma Lot F Oak Ridge Lot G Lot H Lot I
Start X 4 4 3 3 5 5 5 0 3
Lot C 3 X 4 5 5 5 5 4 0 3
Lot D 3 5 X 4 4 5 5 5 0 5
Lot E 3 4 5 X 5 5 5 5 0 5
Burma 5 5 3 4 X 5 5 5 0 5
Lot F 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 5 0 5
Oak Ridge 5 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 0 5
Lot G 0 0 0 0 5 (R) 5 (R) 5 (R) X 5 1 (R)
Lot H 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 X 5
Lot I 2 2 0 0 1 5 (R) 5 (R) 5 (R) 5 (R) X

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WWI Grid

Note Initially Oak Ridge did not have the right PL configured. It was fixed. In general, the reception on the WWI machine was not as good as it was on the K3FBI machine.

WWI Start Lot C Lot D Lot E Burma Lot F Oak Ridge Lot G Lot H Lot I
Start X 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4
Lot C 3 X 5 3 3 4 5 4 4 3
Lot D 3 5 X 4 4 5 5 5 5 3
Lot E 3 4 5 X 5 5 5 5 4 4
Burma 5 5 3 4 X 5 5 4 5 5
Lot F 5 5 5 5 4 X 5 5 4 4
Oak Ridge 5 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 4 5
Lot G 4 3 4 4 5 5 5 X 5 4
Lot H 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 X 5
Lot I 2 2 3 3 3 5 5 5 5 X

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Simplex

WWI Start Lot C Lot D Lot E Burma Lot F Oak Ridge Lot G Lot H Lot I
Start X 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4
Lot C 5 X 5 4 4 4 5 4 5 3
Lot D 4 5 X 4 4 5 5 5 4 5
Lot E 5 4 5 X 5 5 5 5 5 4
Burma 5 5 5 4 X 5 5 4 5 5
Lot F 5 5 5 5 4 X 5 5 5 4
Oak Ridge 5 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 5 5
Lot G 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 X 5 3
Lot H 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 X 5
Lot I 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 X

Return to Summary

Preparing for an Emergency

On Saturday, January 16, 2016, PWCARES had their normal training where we discussed preparing for all emergencies. This discussion was generated from this new reference page, which will now be found at Preparing for and Emergency and has its own tab. The slides from the presentation are available at Haiku Deck. Updates will be added as needed or relevant. Please send any corrections or updates to the Emergency Coordinator.

Summary


Personal Preparedness

Routine things to think about

  • Store your important documents such as personal and financial records in a password-protected area, either in a shared storage location or a secure flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available. This flash drive can be kept on a key ring so it can be accessed from any computer, anytime, anywhere. Remember important documents, such as:
    • Personal and property insurance
    • Identification: Driver’s license/passport (for family members, as well)
    • Banking information
    • Don’t forget your pets!
      • Store your pet’s veterinary medical records documents online.
      • Consider an information digital implant.
      • Keep a current photo of your pet in your online kit to aid in identification if you are separated.
  • Program “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone. Let your ICE contacts know that they are programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have.
  • Do you take maintenance medicines
    • What happens if you cannot get them
    • Do you know what they are
    • Do you have a list of them with you
  • Create a communications plan
    • Contact numbers and addresses
    • Alternate meeting places
    • Alternate means of communications
      • Text
      • Social media
      • Amateur Radio
  • Shelter in place or Evacuate
    • What is your decision tree?
      • How do you decide it is time to go?
    • What do you need to shelter in place?
    • What do you need to evacuate?
      • Transportation?
      • Road conditions?
      • Weather conditions?
  • Consider a Personal Emergency Kit
  • Personal hygiene
    * Toothbrush
    * Wet wipes
    * Hand sanitizer

    • Whistle on key ring

Things you might not think about

  • The best thing you can do to prepare is be in good physical and mental shape
  • If you own a cell phone, keep extra batteries for your phone in a safe place or purchase a solar-powered or hand crank charger. These chargers are good emergency tools to keep your laptop and other small electronics working in the event of a power outage. If you own a car, purchase a car phone charger because you can charge your phone if you lose power at your home.
  • Text messages and the internet often have the ability to work in the event of a phone service disruption
  • If you have a traditional landline (non-broadband or VOIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless receiver in your home because it will work even if you lose power
  • What happens when your commute does not go as planned?
    • Options?
    • How do you get home if your travel system breaks down?
    • Can you walk out if you have to?
  • What happens if a disaster happens at work?
    • Active shooter
    • Long-term shelter in place
  • Go bag should weigh no more than 1/4 your body weight

Return to Summary


Family Preparedness

Routine things to think about

  • When did you last exercise your plan?
  • When did you last update your plan?
  • Create/Update your communications plan
    • Contact numbers and addresses
    • Alternate meeting places
    • Alternate means of communications
      • Text
      • Social media
      • Amateur Radio
  • Family first-aid kit
  • Shelter in place or Evacuate
    • What is your decision tree?
      • How do you decide it is time to go?
    • What do you need to shelter in place?
    • What do you need to evacuate?
      • What are you going to take with you?
      • What are you going to put it in?
      • Traffic?
      • Road conditions?
      • Weather conditions?

Things you might not think about

  • How will you be warned of an emergency
  • What would you do for shelter?
  • Can you treat the water?
    • Bleach
    • Pills
    • Filter systems
  • Has everyone in the family taken a first aid course lately? CPR?
  • Go bag should weigh no more than 1/4 your body weight.

Return to Summary


Preparing to Deploy

Routine things to think about

  • Do not self-deploy
  • Is your family safe?
  • Point the media to the PIO/JIC/Leadership team
  • Are your batteries charged?
  • Do you have a manual for your radio(s)
  • Do you know where you are going?
  • Do you know who to check in with?

Things you might not thing about

  • Are you prepared to be deployed longer than expected?
  • Are you ready to be flexible?
  • Do you have something to write on?
  • Do you have something to read?

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Weather issues

  • Snow
    • Make sure to add additional blankets
    • Are you tires ready for winter?
    • Is your car ready
      • Antifreeze
      • Windshield washer fluid
      • Temperature appropriate oil
      • Chains where appropriate/required
  • Severe cold
    • Similar to snow
    • Block heater where appropriate
    • Follow your user’s manual for proper low temperature operations
  • Floods: Turn around, don’t drown
  • Severe weather
    • Lightning
      • Do not seek shelter under a tree
      • Disconnect all radios and move them away from the antenna line(s)
    • Tornado
      • Do not seeks shelter under an overpass
    • Hurricane
      • Pay attention to warnings
      • Flooding and tornados are likely

Return to Summary


Make a Plan

Return to Summary


The Emergency Kit

Your kit should be sufficient to sustain you, your family, and your pet, for at least 72 hours, either sheltered in place, or in case of an evacuation. You kit should include, water, food, and other supplies you will need. Remember that in the event of a large scale emergency, routine resources such as electricity, water, and sewer may also be cut off, so your kit should include resource to compensate for this.

There are a number of ways to build or buy an emergency kit. A simple web search will show you a number of pre-made kits, complete with carrying devices, for anywhere from $40 to over $500. Even if you decide to buy one, consider what you need in your kit before you rush out to purchase one.

Personal Emergency Kit

There are several different personal emergency kits you could make and carry with you. Some fit in a small tin, other in a larger personal pouch. In most cases, your personal kit is not likely to pass muster with TSA unless you remove certain objects.

SAS personal kit

  • Tin to store it in
  • Matches
  • Candle
  • Flint
  • Magnifying glass
  • Needle and thread
  • Fish hook and line
  • Compass
  • “Beta” light (tritium)
  • Snare wire
  • Flexible saw
  • Medical kit
    • analgesic
    • antibiotic
    • intestinal sedative
    • water sterilizing tablets
    • anti-malaria tablets
    • potassium permanganate
  • Surgical blades
  • Butterfly sutures
  • Band-aids
  • Condom (non-lubricated)

Pouch sized ekit

  • Milti-tool
  • Flashlight
  • Mini-pry bar
  • Whistle
  • Smoke mask
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof matches
  • EMT shears
  • Cord
  • Pouch to put it all in

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Suggested Foods

The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies. You may already have many of these on hand.

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants/pets
  • Comfort/stress foods (a bag of Doritos goes a long way to making you feel better)

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Suggestions for Water

You should store at least one gallon of water per person for three days. A normally active person needs about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily, from water and other beverages. However, individual needs vary, depending on age, health, physical condition, activity, diet and climate.

To determine your water needs, take the following into account:

  • One gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation.
  • Children, nursing mothers and sick people may need more water.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water.
  • If you live in a warm weather climate more water may be necessary. In very hot temperatures, water needs can double.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person.
  • Do not forget extra water for your pets

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Suggested Supplies

This list is not all encompassing and should be amended and supplemented as needed. For example, if you have a pet, you may want to add a grooming brush or favorite chew toy.

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container, flash drive, or stored in the Internet.
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from Ready.gov
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container (and a striker!)
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for yourself, and your children
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Return to Summary

Suggestions for the Radio Kit

  • Identification
  • Photo ID (driver’s license)
    • Copy of FCC license
    • Other ID and paperwork(Emergency management ID, health insurance, medicine list, next of kin)
  • A radio
    • At least a 5W dual-band HT
    • Charged batteries or charger
    • A (well read) copy of the manual (Paper or electronic)
  • A spare antenna and coax
    • J-pole
    • Magnetic mount
  • Headset/external mic
  • PWCARES Quick Reference Guide
  • ICS forms & Notebook
  • Personal Medications
    • Your favorite pain reliever
    • “Sucky things” (lifesavers, throat lozenges)
    • Allergy medicine
    • Other basic meds (pain relievers etc)
    • Sunscreen
    • lip balm
    • Appropriate Clothing and Footwear and Hat
    • Food, water, snacks
  • Money
  • Extra power (deep cycle batteries, solar, generator)
  • Connectors
  • Supplemental reference material
  • Tool kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Work gloves/latex gloves
  • Collapsable chair
  • Collapsible table
  • Change of clothes
  • Clock/Wrist watch
  • Extension cords (power and signal)
  • Sweater/Sweatshirt
  • Blanket
  • Downtime entertainment
  • Supplemental lights
  • Non-flammable flairs
  • Toiletries
  • Clean underwear
  • Shelter

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Seasonal issues

  • Summer Preparations

    • Additional water
    • Sunscreen
    • Hat
    • Light weight, light colour clothes
    • Bug spray
    • Tarp and rope to provide extra shelter
  • Winter Preparations

    • Winter Hat (watch cap/beanie)
    • Gloves
    • Second change of clothes
    • Wool socks
    • Wool sweaters
    • Specialized winter clothing
    • Additional blankets

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Resources

Return to Summary

Welcome to 2016!

Welcome to the New Year!

Summary

Every indication is that 2016 is going to be a busy year. Starting off with a bang, the weather. As we go into 2016, we are already dealing with record warm temperatures caused by our friend El Nino. According to most sources, this is not likely to let up in 2016 and has been called a Godzilla event. The predictions for warmer, wetter weather in the Northeast are already up, as well as predicitions for heavy rains and mudslides in California. In between, who knows what will happen. There is already heavy flooding in the midwest, especially along the Mississippi which we do not normally see until spring. So already, 2016 is going to be a year of some unpredictability. Which brings me to the first topic: Are you, and your family, prepared?

Preparations for 2016

Take a moment and ask yourself: If I were to lose my house, right now, would I be able to:

  • Survive for the next 48–96 hours?
  • Care for my family?
  • Prove I owned it?
    • Be able to fill in the insurance paperwork to get the money for the things I lost?
  • Do you have copies of all the important documents, such as:
    • Passports
    • Driver’s License
    • Marriage/Divorce paperwork
    • Bank paperwork
  • Other things that might be critical?

There are a number of things that could put you in the situation where you cannot get to your critcal paperwork. Do you have copies of it in a secure location (or several secure locations?). Make photocopies and send them to trusted releatives (or friends), get a safe deposit box, make copies and carry them on your phone, or put them in some off-line storage. These are just some of the suggestions.

Can you survive for 48–96 hours? Food? Water? Generator? Batteries? What do you need to survive. And do not forget your pets. Last winter there were several cities that had power outages for extended periods of time. Clearly staying in the house was not an option and many went to hotels. Do you know the nearest pet friendly hotel? An all-hazards aproach to preparation is best, but it means you have to sit down and take a look at what you have and what you would need. For additional information, please visit the FEMA READY website.

And of course, it is winter, so make sure you have some additional supplies, just in case:

  • Blanket
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow shovel
  • Kitty litter

We will cover this and more as part of the Workshop at the January meeting. Saturday, January 16, 2016 @ 0900 @ EOC

2016 Training

The Training link has been updated for 2016. More information will be added as events are confirmed and finalized. But if you are curious, here are some of the PWCARES specifc training plans for this year.

Date Location Event
16 Jan EOC Training: * Review 2015 * Look ahead to 2016 * Field Day 2016 * Action Plan review * Prepare for 2016 workshop
19 Mar EOC Training: TBD
2 Apr Prince Wiliam Forest Park MCM Crossroads 17.75K
21 May EOC Training: Digital/Traffic in the field
25/26 June TBD Field Day 2016
16 July EOC Training: Digital/Traffic in the field
17 Sept EOC Training: TBD
Oct Virginia Section wide Simulated Emergency Test (est)
30 Oct DC et al Marine Corps Marathon
19 Nov EOC/MCB Quantico Training: MCM Turkey Trot

Field Day 2016

The last time PWCARES participated in Field Day was 2008, and you can see the video here if you are interested to see what we did. It does not have to be a large operation, but it would be nice to put on a demonstration. If you would be interested in heading up the effort, please contact David, KG4GIY.

SET

Every October, the ARRL conducts a simulated emergency test (SET). Traditionally, the SET for Northern Virginia has been the Marine Corps Marathon, an event that requires over 150 operators. This year, our new Section Manager wants to do a section wide SET. And of course, the Marine Corps will still be hosting their marathon, and they will still need operators. The specifics of the exercise have not been released but once they are, they will be communicated to the cadre so you can balance your participation in the SET and the Marine Corps Marathon.

Other MCM Events

Two MCM events, the Crossroads 17.75K and the Turkey Trot are held in Prince William County every year. This year the Crossroads 17.75 will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016 in the Prince William County Forest. We usually need about 20 operators for this event and a sign-up link will be sent once the Program Office provides it.

The Turkey Trot is normally the third Saturday of November, this year, Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Marine Corps Base Quantico. This is a good introdcutory event. We use about a dozen operators for this event. Details will be provided as we get closer to November.

And there we have it. It is already a busy year for us and more events will be added as the year progresses. For example, there has been a discussion about doing a county-wide exercise, but there are no details availble yet.

As always, if you have questions, issues, or things you would like to talk about, please contact David, KG4GIY.