The Centralia Amateur Radio Emergency Service’s main radios are located in the Centralia Emergency Operations Center (EOC) located on the second floor of Centralia City Hall. This radio station contains one dual band (2 meter / 440) VHF radio, one single band VHF radio and one UHF (440 Mhz) radio. There are three radios so the EOC radio team can monitor three different frequencies will little difficulty. Generally during a call out situation, the team will monitor the BawFaw amateur radio repeater, the Centralia ARES main simplex frequency of 146.540 Mhz and the primary 440 repeater (442.050, tone 103.5).
The primary Emergency Operations Center radio station also contains an Airmail packet system which can be used to send e-mail type messages via VHF radio to the Lewis County EOC, Washington State’s Camp Murray’s radio station or any other packet station. Packet stations are used when sending lengthy lists such as lists of those who are currently in area shelters or extended lists of needed equipment.
In addition to the main Emergency Operations Center, the City of Centralia uses an alternate EOC, currently located at the Riverside Fire Station #2, 1818 Harrison Avenue. This facility is a modern one story brick building as compared to the main city hall building which was build in the 1920’s. The alternate EOC contains only a 2 meter radio and roof mounted antenna.
The Mellen Street Training Facility, located next to I-5 exit #81, also contains one 2 meter amateur radio and may be used as yet another alternate EOC.
For additional command and communications needs, the Centralia Police Department uses two mobile command / control vans. The “command” van contains three police/fire department radios but no amateur radio systems. This van is used to house the command staff during an extended incident. A mobile “2 meter radio in a box” system can be installed in minutes if the need arises.
The “communications” van – a larger, newer vehicle, contains four radio stations: three fire/police radios and one permanently mounted amateur radio station. Several Amateur Radio team members have been trained to drive and deploy this vehicle and it generally falls to the ARES team to deploy this vehicle during flood conditions. The radio in this van is currently a 2 meter VHF radio. The K7CEM call sign is used during any training or activation.
Additionally, Centralia ARES owns a smaller, more versatile communications van – designated “Comm II” – as its primary Amateur Radio Emergency Services vehicle. This vehicle contains two VHF radios, one UHF radio, one digital communications radio, one HF amateur radio and one law/fire radio. Comm II was created as a special communications project by the Centralia Amateur Radio Emergency Services team.