On August 10, 2015, the remnants of a tropical storm struck Prince William County, Virginia. The storm caused an average of five to seven inches of torrential rainfall per hour overnight, causing ground saturation and flooding. Given the expected rainfall in the next 24 hours, there exists significant probability that an overtoping event at Lake Montclair Dam will occur, which could destroy at least a dozen home and displace households withing the inundation zone. The Director of Emergency Management has authorized the opening of a shelter with an anticipated need to shelter two hundred individuals.
There were numerous objectives, but for PWCARES, our objectives were straight forward:
- Evaluate the shelter for radio opartions
- Get traffic from the shelter to the EOC (and back)
- Demonstrate BBHN for use in a shelter in the event of Internet interuptions
The exercise was for both a human shelter and a pet shelter, just in time training, and to practice shift change, starting at 0900 and ending at 1500.
PWCARES had the following operators:
- ECIC: David, KG4GIY
- First Shift: Chuck, KA3EHL and Mary, KK4GOW at the shelter. Keith, KM4AA and Ric, KJ4ZIH at the EOC
- Second Shift: Zach, K4RSU and Spenc, KG4GFW at the shelter. John, KG4LAA and Jeff, WB6UIE at the EOC
- BBHN: Clarence, K4CNM and Terry, WA5NTI
We used ICS-213 as our message template and ICS-214 as our unit log.
What went right:
- We got a signal out of the shelter site using an antenna and a cross-band radio
- We practiced sending traffic
- We practiced a shift change, which is not something we have done
- We got a view of the shelter operation process
- We got to demonstrate BBHN
- We gained valuable exposure for our skill and professionalism
- CSALTT: We need to make sure our messages contain Capability, Size, Amount, Location, FEMA Type, Time needed
- We need to practice sending messages via voice
- We need to work on our digital set ups. While we did not do one for this exercise, we probably could have
- We need to work on our handwriting. Many of our forms have to be read by others. Some options suggested include a portable printer at each site to print off messages.
It was a good exercise, with lots of opportunities to practice. A success in all people’s eyes.