Briefing at the 2017 SET Exercise
Our October 16th Amateur Radio Emergency Service meeting will once again be held at the Riverside Fire Authority training room at Station #2, 1818 Harrison Avenue beginning at 6:30 pm.
With our 2017 Simulated Emergency Test exercise completed and our recent communications outage to the phones in the county and the 911 system, we will take some time to discuss both events. Additionally, we’ll have a presentation from Lyle Olmsted, KB7PI on the changes that have happened in amateur radio over his extraordinary 60+ years as a ham. Additionally, now that our digital communications survey has been completed, Bill Knepper, N7GWK, will talk about the final tally and some training ideas for the future.
As we do each fall prior to the flood season, we will take time to go over our team call out and deployment procedures and work through preparedness ideas for possible winter weather activations. Finally, with a nod to our newest ARES team members, we will set up a display of VHF antennas – both homemade & factory built – and discuss their merits.
It is going to be a busy evening. Please bring your go-bags and field resource manuals. Be ready to open your go bag and display its contents to our new team members. If your go-bag is picked for display purposes, we’ve got a prize for you!
October 2017’s Simulated Emergency Test team
Handling medical helicopter landings from Comm II
Last Saturday, members of the Washington State Guard and the Riverside Fire Authority joined our Centralia Amateur Radio Emergency Service team on a joint disaster exercise. Since January, the Centralia ARES team has worked on several disaster scenarios based around the 2014 Lac-Magantic, Canada railroad oil train derailment and explosion where two locomotives and 72 oil cars devastated much of the small Canadian community. Centralia’s railroad layout, passing through the downtown area, is eerily similar. Between January and August, the team trained on setting up disaster shelters, shelter communications, evacuation procedures, escape & evacuation routes, setting up staging areas for fire and medical equipment, and handling medical helicopter landing zones. Our 2017 SET exercise was designed to cover it all.
Washington State Guard Personnel simulating comms to the State EOC
What made it even better was having the Washington State Guard emergency communications team work alongside our own group handling communications from the disaster shelter and the helicopter landing zone back to the Emergency Operations Center. They were embedded in the EOC as well setting up their own comms and working as the disaster link back to the Washington State EOC at Camp Murray. Adding even more realism, one of the guard hams – a military helicopter pilot – was on hand to play the part of the approaching medical chopper pilot.
To top it all off, Riverside Fire Chief Mike Kytta and five of his fire professionals worked alongside us throughout the exercise adding their technical expertise to equipment staging and evacuation planning. Their knowledge of how a large oil fire would be attacked really made the exercise seem like the real thing.
Our thanks to the great folks from the Washington State Guard and Riverside Fire Authority for making this Simulated Emergency Test a success.
Manager Ro Cornelio with Line-X Total Truck Center in Chehalis
When the Centralia ARES team received our second communications van we knew it would be quite a project but we had completed an exact copy only a year or two earlier and knew we were up to the job. Any project funded with donations and volunteer help needs people willing to go that extra mile to make their community a safer place to live.
Our help from Line-X Total Truck Center began with team member Paul Barwick, KE7PCB, working diligently day after day to polish the van and bring back some of its original luster.
Dan Beebe (left) with team member Paul Barwick, KE7PCB
It next moved to a conversation between Paul and his neighbor, Dan Beebe who used to work at Line-X and is now retired. Dan and Paul decided the van bumpers needed some extra attention and suggested a Line-X coating. Dan arranged with Manager Ro Cornelio to have the work done at no cost as a donation to our project. The great mechanics at the Centralia City Street Department gave their time to remove the bumpers and sandblast them in preparation for the Line-X coating work. Within a week or so, the job was done and it really looks amazing.
Our thanks to Manager Ro Cornelio and his team from Line-X Total Truck Center in Chehalis for making the front and rear bumpers on our new Communication Van, Comm III, look absolutely fantastic. The whole crew were great to work with and we are very happy with the amazing results. Thanks again for all your help.
No project like our communications van comes together without the help and generosity of many people. Within a week, the bumpers will be reinstalled by Matt and Terry at the Centralia City Shop and we’ll be moving on to flooring and walls.
Thanks to everyone who has been willing to lend a hand to make this project work.