Thanks to John, KK4TCE & Dan, K4BCR for the photos.
Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness
Field Day 2021
We begin at the beginning. Let’s put up the tents!
Thanks to Greg, KM4CCG for the photos and Prince William County Office of Emergency Management for the loan of the tents.
More to come!
Field Day Menu Straw Man
- Pulled Pork w/ Memphis sauce
- Potato salad/Macaroni salad
- Various snacks
- McDondald’s Run?
Field Day 2021 is ON!
On June 3, Greg, KM4CCG briefed us on how we are going to execute Field Day 2021 (The PDF is available. Please drop David an email if you would like access to the WebEx).
Here are the key points:
- If you want to participate, please drop Greg an email (in the PDF)
- We need to know who is willing to help with:
- Set up/Tear down – details coming soon
- Food: David and Marc are going wrangle food
- Network: David has the gear, but anyone can figure out what else we need.
- Prince William County ARES and others who would like to operate
- We will use W4PWC as our call
- GOTA call to be determined
- Field Day 2021 – Saturday and Sunday June 26 – 27
- Possible setup and tear down Friday, June 25 and Monday, June 28 tbd
- Where: Prince William County Government Centre – our usual grassy spot between McCoart and Owens.
This is a fun event. Our purpose is three fold:
- Get back on the air!
- Try out some new bands, modes, or operating styles
- Test our set ups after a year in storage
We are planning to operate under the “F” flag and will be working in cooperation with our partners in Emergency Management. We hope to have a straw man menu posted on Monday, but if you have food suggestions, or dietary restrictions, please drop a note to David as well.
Thanks to Greg, Marc, and the team for leading this effort this year.
We look forward to seeing you at Field Day 2021!
Hurricane Season 2020
As we look for the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, it is easy to forget that hurricane season is right around the proverbial corner. Hurricane season officially starts on June 1. The current Virginia Executive Order Fifty Five, telling us to hunker down in our homes, is set to expire, baring other things, on June 10. And of course, we have experienced years where the season starts before June.
Early predictions expect this year’s hurricane season to be busier than average. Dr. Phil Klotzbach and the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU are among the first to issue an outlook for the season. This year they anticipate 16 named storms, 8 of which becoming hurricanes and 4 of those becoming major hurricanes. (Colorado State University)
I know we are all focused on keeping our families, and ourselves safe, but time marches on, regardless. Check your gear, fire up your generators, if you have not done so, and get out and play as much as you can.
- A nuclear attack on US soil would most likely target one of six cities: New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Washington, DC.
- But public-health experts say any of those cities would struggle to provide emergency services to the wounded.
- The cities also no longer have designated fallout shelters to protect people from radiation. Yahoo News
Each city has an emergency-management website that informs citizens about what to do in a crisis, but most of those sites (except for LA and New York) don’t directly mention a nuclear attack. That makes it difficult for residents to learn how to protect themselves if a bomb were to hit one of those cities.
I find it interesting that in 2019, having actually suffered from numerous terroristic style attacks (you might say guerrilla warfare) FEMA is now talking about nuclear attack. Or at least it is one of six scenarios they are considering. Their conclusion: Cities might struggle to provide emergency services after a nuclear strike
I am just hoping it’s a slow news day.
Vests for Deployment
Back in 2010, the ARRL announced the official vest we are supposed to wear:
ARES members, while activated, deployed, in community service activities or otherwise on duty shall wear over their normal apparel, at minimum, a florescent green ANSI Class 2 reflective, 100% polyester vest. The vest shall be decorated in the following manner:
On the Back:
In minimum 2” lettering, Arial Black font, black in color, imprinted above the horizontal reflective tape:
Those in a leadership position may add their title (SEC, DIRECTOR, EC, PIO, etc) below the words “Emergency Communications” in not less than 3″ tall font, black. (Under the lower reflective stripe). Local jurisdictions may elect to add their organization name above the words “Amateur Radio” with no larger than 1″ Arial Black lettering, color black.
On the Front:
On the Left Chest, the ARES logo, minimum 3.5 inch diameter, black in color, negative background. The Right Chest shall remain blank so as to allow wearer to affix their ARES or ARRL name badge.
Vests may have zip or Velcro type front closures. Members may choose vests with or without pockets, at their own discretion. Other apparel, such as short and long sleeve tee shirts, jackets and coats are approved for member use as long as the garments meet the same color, ANSI Class 2, lettering and decoration standard. A waiver of this standard may be given by an SEC for specific purposes with good cause.
Florescent green is the same as fluorescent yellow, which is what most vendors call it. It is not the same as fluorescent orange, which is what hunters generally wear.
The League sells a mesh vest, but the quality is questionable if you expect to use them frequently. They also have a solid vest, which is a bit more solid, but I think those of us that have used them find they are not a lot better, especially for multiple deployments (I have gone through several vests in a year). They also lack pockets or MOLLE attachments, which several have found to be a disadvantage.
Andy, KJ4MTP, Tom, W4PIO, and I have moved to a sturdier surveyor’s style vest. I can report that it has survived a couple of washings already, which is more than the League’s vests did. The problem with the non-league supplied gear is having to be handy with a needle and thread, or know someone who is, and pick up the associated panels. (Links below)
CopQuest (link below) has a panel that is 11″ by 4″ where you can get either combination:
The bigger letters are 2″ while the smaller letters are only 1″, so while it does not meet the letter of the requirement, it certainly meets the spirit and, it is reflective, unlike the League’s offering, which is matte black. Only the tape around the vest is reflective. If you do enough outside nighttime events, you will appreciate the additional ability to glow in the dark.
I generally wear the former with the larger Amateur Radio so as not to be confused as part of the Emergency Service.
Similarly, most of us use our fabric badge instead of having the ARRL ARES logo imprinted on the vest. You can quickly sew a small strip of velcro on the back (or use the pre-adhesive version) and stick it to one of the velcro mounting points on the vest. The downside to the pre-adhesive version is our summer weather. Over time the glue begins to deteriorate. I have looked at morale-styled badges (with hook velcro all over the back) but there is an increased cost. Until we run out of the current badges, we will continue to use these. If you are new to the Cadre, you are entitled to one badge. If you need to get more, please visit our swag link to order one.
If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a note.
- David’s Vest: https://www.fullsource.com/radians-sv55-2zgd/
- Tom Vest: https://www.police-supplies.co.uk/protec-medvest8
- Andy’s Vest: https://www.police-supplies.co.uk/carriage-systems/modular-tac-vests/Protec-velcro-modular-vest
- Badges: https://www.police-supplies.co.uk/tactical-clothing-and-footwear/badges/custom-velcro-badges
- Badges: https://www.copquest.com
September is Preparedness Month
Welcome to September. Fall is here (or at least just around the corner). Hurricane season is well underway. And it is time to check our supplies for winter.
I had an interesting conversation with some of my friends about being prepared. One topic that we kept coming back to was the lack of preparedness we were all suffering from. The great ramp up, concerning visibility, that came from September 11, 2001, has virtually disappeared here on the Eastern Seaboard. Even those who as recently as 2012 (Sandy) have just fallen out of the habit of being prepared. And there are many reasons.
- No storm or threat
- No reminder (or too many reminders) from the government (which, let’s face it has not showered themselves in glory about being prepared)
- No focused message
- No time/money for supplies
Even my own state of supplies is out of date and in need of replacement in many cases.
Following September 11, many people spent a lot of money on emergency supplies, spent time on preparing plans, and spent time getting ready. The problem is that it is not a one-time thing. If you do not practice, or worse, do not have a need to practice, then your preparations get stale quickly. You end up shrugging your shoulders. I’m as ready as I can be. And then you forget. Or wonder what all the hype was about.
If you do not live in a storm zone, it is all too easy to get lulled into a sense of security. Until the next unimaginable thing happens. I get it. I talk about preparedness almost every day to people, and I am woefully unprepared myself.
What can you do? There are many things. You can join your local CERT team. There they will help keep the idea in the front of your mind to exercise you plan. If you are part of ARES, you should be reviewing your plan regularly. Make it part of your monthly check-up, along with your finances. Get a Red Cross CPR certification. They expire every year, and that will force you to reevaluate your situation. At the very least, take a look at your last plan, evaluate where it was when you finished it and updated it. Phone numbers, medicines, contacts, documents, then go through your go-kits and refresh all the things that need refreshing. Remember, clothes shrink in bags stored in cupboards.
There are many good ideas for preparing for an emergency on the ARES website. Take a moment and see how prepared you are.
Are you using the right forms?
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That is the loose translation of a classic French saying about the nature of change. And like most changes, we are often not aware of them unless someone says something. Take government forms. They are constantly changing and evolving, but unless you need them, or use them regularly, or are part of the committee that is responsible for updating them, you hardly ever notice.
Today, I noticed.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for maintaining the National Incident Management Forms. Most of the forms post-September 11 came out of the fire service or the Hazmat response teams associated with the Coast Guard. They worked, but they were never optimal as far as most people were concerned. FEMA promised new forms. Most of us just carried on.
In 2015, they updated the NIMS ICS Forms. All members of PWCARES should download the new Forms book (also available on our ICS page) and use those forms instead of any prior forms.
Please take a moment to update your go-kits.
Welcome to 2018
Here we go again, it is a new year, and that means new things to talk about.
Let’s start with what the ARRL has in store. I forwarded an email from the League in late December that essentially said changes are coming to the ARES program in 2018. Details to follow. You now know as much as I do about what those changes are. But, I can make some guesses. First, I would guess that all ARES members are going to be required to take some Incident Command classes. Likely ICS 100 and 200. But since you are a member of PWCARES, and Prince William County already requires us to take not only 100 & 200, but also 700 (NIMS) and 800 (NRF), we are ahead of the game. Prince William County will also require some additional classes this year, and as they tell me what they are (and how we can get them), I will pass them on and include them in our required training regime.
Speaking of training, this year, Prince William County will be having at least one, and possibly three training events. They will focus on Shelter activities, a national event based on a hurricane coming up the Chesapeake Bay, and a full county activation exercise. Again, once things are nailed down, I will pass on the details.
Also, our friends at the Marine Corps Marathon program office are excited with how we performed at the regular events we have supported in the past (Crossroads and Turkey Trot) plus how we stepped up at the Quantico 100 and especially the Triathlon. So excited in fact, that this year, they want us to support the Triathlon & 12K again (August 25), as well as the Run Amuck (June 23), along with the Crossroads (March 24) and Turkey Trot (November 17). The dates will be added to the calendar. There is no Quantico 100 scheduled for this year as it was a one-time thing. They have also asked for our help in the Historic Half marathon that happens in Fredericksburg. As it is outside the PWCARES area, I have politely declined, but the ARES team down there may need some help. Also, the Big Event, the Marathon, is on October 28 and all the help they can get is appreciated.
Finally, what do you want to focus on this year? Some topics have been flying around the Slack channel, and they include APRS, Wire Antennas in EmComm, and HF operations for EmComm. Also, coming up in June, Field Day 2018! An opportunity for us to show our stuff. It has been a decade since our last field day. Maybe we can start a tradition!
Our first meeting of the year is Saturday, January 20, 2018, at 0900 at the EOC. We will discuss the Action Plan (as we always do), review the new EOC layout, and hopefully get a chance to see the new WebEOC. I encouraged everyone to come out, meet your fellow ARES members, and contribute to this year’s event calendar.
See you then!