July 20th Disaster Drill

After a pleasant briefing in Borst Park, Centralia ARES team members deployed for disaster drill training.  Based on a large earthquake scenario that damaged or destroyed much of downtown Centralia including the EOC, the ARES team was tasked with five support missions: (1) set up a communications center using our ARES Comm Van in a forward staging area, (2) establish a temporary helicopter landing zone for medical evacuations, (3) assess significant damage to a community reservoir which required evacuation of 276 people, (4) establish a series of emergency shelters to house those evacuees and (5) set up a series of temporary Neighborhood Communications Hubs to inform citizens of post disaster information sent out by the Incident Commander.  Just for good measure, three significant arterial streets were damaged and team members had to use their maps to get to their assignments and for evacuation routes.

Three prospective new team members shadowed the support missions visiting each of them and talking with the team members in charge.  While we were expecting a few glitches, the drill came off better than any previous disaster drill.  The real helicopter landing drill two months ago meant this LZ was established in record time and all information given to Comm II in a timely manner.  The evacuation process went very well and those team members had thought through alternate shelter locations and routes.  The actual shelter situation was in a perfect location just outside of the damage zone and the shortest possible distance from those needing evacuation.  The Neighborhood Communications Hubs were set up near the damaged downtown EOC to facilitate information flow to community members seeking help from the EOC.  The team in Comm II handled all traffic well and kept track of the entire situation without a hitch.

Very proud of these people.  They handled the support missions like the pros they are.  Good Job everyone!

Seattle To Portland Bike Classic This Weekend

The annual Seattle To Portland Bike classic will pass through beautiful, historic Centralia this weekend, July 11th and 12th.  The route enters Centralia from the north along Hwy 507, then south on Pearl street to Centralia College for the halfway stopover.  From the college, riders proceed down Pear Street to Lakeshore Drive, under I-5 at Mellen Street and then south along Airport Road to Chehalis on their way to Portland.

Bicycle traffic for this event is, of course, heavy.  Use caution when driving around bicyclists and avoid the bike route if possible.

Chehalis Valley Amateur Radio Society Swapmeet July 25th

Chehalis Valley Amateur Radio Society (CVARS) will present its 17th annual indoor/outdoor ham radio tailgate swapmeet on Saturday, July 25th at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds in Chehalis.  General admission will be $3 and the swapmeet will run from 9am – noon.

This is a fun, tailgate type swapmeet where you simply drive in under the covered exhibit building and unload your items for sale onto a tailgate or a table.  Others are doing the same around you.  Lots of great electronics and amateur radio gear for sale.  For additional information, go to www.CVARS.org.