After a long nine hour day of flood deployment, the Centralia ARES team has been told to stand down. As floods in Lewis County go, this one wasn’t bad as many in the past have been 3-5 day deployments. Each flood is different. While flood predictions showed the Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers rising over flood stage, the majority of damage and water problems to Centralia occurred from a feeder supply called China Creek which overflowed causing extensive water problems in the downtown area and along the major streets to and from I-5.
Centralia ARES tends to best serve the City of Centralia during these floods by providing a constant stream of update information on which roads are closed, which routes are still open into the city and noting changes in water depth throughout the day. Incident Commanders appreciate the ability to turn to the amateur radio console and ask if we have a windshield survey team available to check this area or that area. Our ARES volunteers, always willing to use their own vehicles, radios and fuel, provide this timely information generally not available from other sources.
Thanks to everyone who was able to assist with todays flood deployment. Once again you have shown that while amateur radio is a hobby, Amateur Radio Emergency Services is a commitment.
I’m very proud of all you do.
Bob Willey, kd7own, Emergency Coordinator.
10:30am Local – Centralia ARES is now under a limited flood deployment activation. China Creek has once again provided fairly deep water into the downtown area and many streets are closed. The Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers are predicted to rise into a Phase One flood stage sometime today into Tuesday. Centralia EOC is now open and the amateur radio console is currently manned. We will also deploy one to two windshield survey teams to provide updated information to the EOC.
At this time, we will NOT be using tactical call signs. Continue to contact the EOC using the K7CEM call sign.
Centralia ARES team members are asked to monitor the K7CEM repeater for update information. If radio traffic is light, feel free to contact the EOC radio operator with updates or questions.
Our regularly scheduled ARES meeting this evening will be cancelled due to deep water in the downtown area. Our next training meeting will be Monday January 19th.
The Cascadia Rising disaster exercise involving Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, is scheduled for the summer of 2016 but agencies are gearing up for the event now. The scenario is based on a region-wide 9.0 earthquake. Amateur Radio is schedule to play a critical part in this scenario. In the early hours of the event, the exercise will simulate no cell phone, no telephone and overloaded or non-functional public safety communications. This will place Amateur Radio center-stage.
Will Centralia ARES be a part of this exercise? That is yet to be determined and neither Riverside Fire nor Centralia Police have decided if they will participate. This exercise could require some real overtime expenses on the part of our public safety partners as local EOC’s are asked to “ramp up” to full staffing for this multi-day event.
If we are involved, it will require us to be knowledgeable concerning multiple repeaters, HF radio communications, digital communications and message handling. All equipment must be in place and in working order and everyone should be trained to operate at all levels. As always, this is a good time to assess your skills as a ham radio operator, your equipment and train on what you don’t know. Also a great time to become a General Class ham if you are currently a Technician Class ham (especially as the question pool will change July 1, 2015).
Don’t be satisfied with where you are at in your abilities as a ham radio operator. Learn, improve, and familiarize yourselves with all aspects of Amateur Radio Emergency Services. Stay tuned for more information about Cascadia Rising as we move into 2015 and beyond.