With new license plate in hand, we picked up our next team project today! Jim Nodell, WB7BHN, donated this sweet little trailer and now the real work begins. Over the next few months, we’ll sand it down and paint it, replace the floor boards, then construct a complete emergency communications trailer out of it. The trailer will ultimately be fitted with a generator and solar power, storage batteries, a three piece 30′ antenna system, extra fuel and water, radios, cell phone charging system, and scene lighting.
It is designed to be capable of supplying emergency communications at our field day event, shelters, disaster areas, or any other place requiring its communications capabilities. This little trailer will double the current capability we have with our comm van, “Comm II” – just without the creature comforts of being inside a heated van!
Comm II turned out so well, we were encourage to take on yet another volunteer project for the community we serve and its emergency management resources.
It is almost fall and in beautiful Western Washington, that means we’re only a month or so away from flood season. The Centralia ARES team has been deployed every year for flood situations since its inception in 2008. Some were large events and some were small, 6-8 hour “watch” events. All required the Emergency Operations Center to stand up which also brought the amateur radio team in.
Last evening’s training was a busy night. First, Police Chief Carl Nielsen spoke to the group. As the new Chief of Police for Centralia, he took the opportunity to introduce himself and thank the ARES team for their work. The team updated their volunteer application packets and then we got down to business. Each fall, we update all the information in the team member’s Field Resource Manuals so we can be sure everyone has current information. Next we reviewed our team’s callout procedures. Just this last week we tested the notification system which worked well.
Finally, we reviewed the Incident Command System so the new team members fully understood how our EOC operates during a flood or disaster. We set up the Emergency Operations Center as it would be during a disaster, reorganizing tables and chairs, placing the ICS position boxes and setting up the law/fire radios. About half of the team were “selected” to don the ICS position vests and had to tell what their responsibilities were. The team discussed what they would see, hear and do if assigned to the EOC before cleaning up and putting all EOC materials back in their storage cabinet.
Most of the team will be working outside positions during a flood or disaster, doing windshield surveys, monitoring sandbag locations or checking river levels so it was great to have the opportunity to learn about what goes on in the Emergency Operations Center.
With all material updated, we are ready for flood season, wind season, snow season or whatever. Bring it on!
It is contest time once again in Washington State as our annual Washington State Salmon Run jumps into action this weekend, September 19th and 20th. All Washington State counties will be on the air waiting to talk to you. I will be on the air Saturday and some time on Sunday from Lewis County so if you hear me out there, say hello!
See you on the airwaves.
Bob Willey, KD7OWN