Comm III Work Party

Skip, K1HEK, muscling screws into the walls

Alex, KI7PAZ, showing off his measuring & cutting skills.

After a well attended brunch at Judy’s Country Kitchen today, eight “skilled” carpenters descended on the  Mellen Street Police & Fire Training Center to measure, cut and install wall boards in our newest communications van, Comm III.  The van, originally with bare metal walls and floor, received a plywood coating to the floors a week ago.  Today, it was all about walls.  Installing pre-painted plywood to the walls will make it much easier to mount bulletin boards, white boards, clock, maps and other equipment and, more importantly, will make Comm III look nicer when finished.  Installing walls inside a metal van, is easier said than done, however.  Straight lines?  Nope!  Three to four full sized pieces of plywood had to be cut, fitted, and usually cut again before screwing them onto the metal walls of the van.

Creating magic in the large vehicle bay at the Police/Fire Training Center.

As you can see by the intricate cutting of the piece Alex Galloway, KI7PAZ, is holding, it can take while to correctly place even smaller pieces when sheathing walls around wheel wells, gas tanks and heaters.  Skip Kingman, K1HEK, a prospective new member, certainly earned his way onto the team today with his carpentry skills.  Today was all about teamwork.  Helping with the project was:  Alex, KI7PAZ, Skip, K1HEK, John, AD7KT, Paul, KE7PCB, Loyann, W7LOY, Lyle, KB7PI and Bob, KD7OWN.  Many thanks to everyone who gave of their time, once again, to create the magic that becomes a completed ARES communications vehicle.

October 16th ARES Training

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!

Great October SET Exercise

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.

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