July 17th – ARES Training

Our August 7th ARES training exercise is still on schedule to be a joint drill with Riverside Fire Authority and Airlift Northwest Medical Evacuation Services.  We have some work to do prior to being ready for the August event and will practice our helicopter landing zone procedures at our upcoming training.

On July 17th, team members should meet at the south end of the Southwest Washington Fairgounds – entrance at the senior citizens center, across from Gootee Chevrolet, 2500 block N. National Avenue.  Comm II will be set up near the large grass field at the very south end of the fairgrounds. Net check in beginning at 6 pm with training to follow at 6:30 pm.

During this exercise we will practice all helicopter LZ procedures, including choosing a location, documenting obstacles, setting up the LZ, preparing the pilot briefing and ground to air communications.  Please bring your normal deployment equipment (ID, vest, HT, go bag with note taking material and field resource manual).  After a successful LZ setup at the fairgrounds, we will seek out another LZ location somewhere nearby (not already on our list) and practice another setup procedure there.

Remember – dress for the weather as this will be outdoor training, bring a folding chair if you wish and don’t forget to keep hydrated if temperatures are excessive.

Independence Day In Centralia

Summerfest In Fort Borst Park

Independence Day In Centralia can be a long day for the ARES volunteers. but it is always a fun  holiday.  A few team members begin early readying the CPD and ARES vehicles that will be on display in Fort Borst Park for the morning’s Summerfest activities.  They generally clean and prep these vehicles before delivering them to the park around 9:30 am.  Working these large vehicles through the narrow roads within the park and under the huge trees can be “interesting” work.  With everything in place, it is time to open the doors to kids and adults alike who just want to see – as one little boy put it – ” all the cool junk inside”.  Passing out badge stickers, pencils, CPD sunglasses and just making sure no one plays with a few “essential” buttons is a full time job but our volunteers are good at it.  By 10 am, the park is a mass of kids, adult and dogs all having a great time listening to music, exploring the military vehicles on display and working their way through a free pancake breakfast and hot dogs lunch.

Start position’s ham & CPD command post for the downtown parade

Frank, KF7RSI, tour guide

By early afternoon, it’s time to break everything down and move equipment downtown where ARES volunteers will set up a police department and amateur radio command post during the parade.  Working the start line for the parade can be very noisy but it provides the best view as well.  Exactly at 4 pm, the police car sirens go off and the parade is underway.  The parade always includes some very large trucks which must maneuver through several tight 90 degree corners.  Very capable ARES volunteers keep the kids, who swarm for candy, from being squished and at the same time help the trucks through the tight intersections.  By 5:30 pm it is all over but the clean up. Time to pack everything up and return equipment to their various facilities.

Independence Day can and usually does start out overcast and around 65 degrees for the activities in the park but when the sun comes out for the parade, it can get very warm very quickly on the downtown streets, usually reaching the upper 80’s – which in the Pacific Northwest can be a near death experience!  Once again, our volunteers noticed a much larger crowd for the parade than previous years.  Thankfully, with the great work by ARES hams as well as the CPD officers, everything went smoothly and there were no injuries.

Thanks to all the ARES volunteers who donned their bright yellow vests, stuffed their HT’s into the radio pocket and stepped up to make this much loved community event safe and enjoyable.  You really do a GREAT job.

July 3rd ARES Training – Review

Shay Goff with Riverside Fire Authority

It was a busy training night as the Centralia ARES team gathered at the Riverside Fire Authority station #2 Monday evening.  We began with a tour of the fire department’s Aid Vehicle with Fireman/ Paramedic Shay Goff.  Shay has been with Riverside a little over a year. He walked us through every compartment and every piece of equipment on the van.  What an impressive vehicle! Thanks to Riverside Fire for the tour and their continuing support.

Next, we finalized plans for Centralia’s busy July 4th celebrations which include Summerfest in beautiful Fort Borst Park in the morning where the ARES team volunteers as part of the CPD equipment display .  Our team not only delivers and sets up the large CPD command van as well as our own Comm II, but helps with the tours as zillions of kids troop through the equipment, get badge stickers and cool CPD sunglasses.  After the park detail, the team moves the vehicles downtown and sets up the CPD command post for the 4 pm parade.  From 4 pm – 5:30 pm it’s time to work the parade route and help the large trucks through the tight corners without squishing small children.  When the parade is over, we disassemble the command post and move the vehicles back to quarters.

During Monday evening’s training, we also covered new and updated helicopter landing zone protocols given to us by Airlift Northwest.  The ARES team has obtained two sets of Flashing Roadside Emergency Disks, which are preferred for nighttime LZ operations, so it was necessary to conduct a little training on those great devices.  Before going home for the evening, we discussed some training exercise plans for late July and August that hopefully will include another full scale helicopter landing zone exercise with Airlift Northwest and Riverside Fire.

To end the evening, we had some hands on training installing Anderson Powerpole connectors followed by a “debrief” at Dairy Queen.  Gotta love summer in the Pacific Northwest!

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