Friday, July 24, 2009

NCTTRAC Radio Drill

Handled NCTTRAC check-in for 4 Arlington hospitals this morning on the primary Arlington repeater frequency. Other Tarrant County EOC's apparently all checked in either to the City of Fort Worth and/or the Tarrant County repeaters. There is apparently some contention as to who has actual priority under NIMS. Arlington, with a population approaching 400,000 and the site of the new Cowboy Stadium and a greater potential for a MCI, chose to do did it's own thing. Following check-in with the EOC radio operators at the Arlington hospitals were directed to make direct contact with the Red Cross via simplex. Red Cross was asked to report back to Arlington on our repeater frequency. One operator was unable to set the radio at new frequency. The 3 others encountered heavy noise and were unable to make contact via simplex despite line-of-sight. One operator was unable to access the radio equipment at his designated location and was using a personal HT. Red Cross did not report back to the Arlington EOC, and I was unable to make subsequent contact with them on the primary FW frequency/repeater. This will obviously needs to be rectified ASAP. Dave wasn't sure what the problem was. An issue, at least in this region, that came to light prior to the drill is that notice and details of the drill were sent to hospital administration, many of which apparently failed to forward it on to the necessary personnel.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

E-NET-OPS Emergency Net Operator (ARRL EMCOMM Level 1 Certification)

Classes to be held at Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas on July 26 and August 2nd. For Details and email to ask about registration click here.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Interesting Water Spout Footage from Greece

Water spout footage through rope out taken from the Island of Lefkaka on June 23rd.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Monthy Siren Test / Startling personal news

The loss of Ben Patterson has left some apparent confusion as to who needs to be doing things they were not necessarily aware he was doing with regard to coordination of activities involving Radio volunteers. Consequently there was no one at the EOC to give me access at the time I needed to start the pre-test script. In fact, knowing at the last minute there would not be, I started it from my HT in my drive-way, continued in the Administration Bldg parking lot, and then from the hallway outside the EOC while still waiting. Didn't get access until less than 10 minutes before the test was to start, THEN had some radio problems that took a few minutes to figure out and clear up (which is why we always want to be there early!) Though a few minutes late in starting, the testing of both the direct and battery power systems went without a hitch and ended right on time. Still, it was pretty frustrating there for a while.

Debrief with today's responsible staff member revealed the reasons for the confusion which led to honest communication. It won't happen again - I hope. Can't vouch for the radios, however. Complicating matters a bit more was that today we had 2 first-time volunteers to whom I had intended to give a bit of info before we started, but then was not able to, and fewer experienced volunteers were out than usual.

The short debrief also brought to light that the person currently assigned to CERT (and maybe others) has a somewhat different take than Ben had as to what CERT was initially intended to be, what it should be limited to, and what volunteers should (or should not) be asked or expected to do. No idea what, if anything, might happen there. EMST is still an up-in-the-air issue as well - at least for me. We spent parts of three monthly meetings just discussing (with no resolution) what our monthly meetings should be about and how to recruit more members. We spent another entire meeting putting together the calendar for the remaining months of 2009. I don't know if we'll keep the same schedule or not. I learned from Ben a LONG time ago that the push was to merge EMST into CERT. Many, if not most Radio Operators are only interested in working the radios and not being part of CERT. Which is why the push to get CERT members to get amateur radio licenses and their own radios. Very few are members of the local radio club and only a handful in EMST. Irish is taking over EMST and we should know pretty quick what the PTB want and expect, and what they don't want. He certainly is not as familiar or used to working more directly with radio operators. I reserve comment. Dave wants to have radio training classes AT the EOC, as new operators from the CERT group and operators from the Rotary CERT group all need to learn HOW to actually USE the radios, net protocol, NIMS, etc. At the most basic level, we need to know who is doing what, coordinate and communicate! Except for individual mentoring, the Arlington Amateur Radio Club offers nothing to assist new opeartors. Something I've complained about to more than one member. I was told they would. So far they haven't.

I didn't leave the EOC until 2:30. After which I went to eat lunch and on the way home my daughter called me on the cell phone. She never calls me on the cell phone. Could NOT be good. I listened long enough to know it wasn't an emergency. I got to my drive way, called back and sat in car with A/C blasting waiting for shoe to drop. After a few minutes of other discussion I thought, but could not possibly have heard: "he asked me to marry him." "And I said yes." Who and what and who the heck is she talking about? I said "Uh, would you repeat what you just said?" I didn't even know until last weekend she was even dating!! Does it always happen like this?

A good day is one in which I don't sleep through my alarm, don't make an utter fool of myself as I learn how to deal with radios I never use often enough to really learn how to quickly analyze and fix without a lot of guessing and fumbling, the rare cell phone call isn't an emergency, etc. And a really good day when my daughter is excited and happy!!

Wednesday, was a very good day.

Abbreviation Key

AARC - Arlington Amateur Radio Club
- Amateur Radio Emergency Service
- Community Emergency Response Team
EMST - Emergency Management Support Team
- Emergency Operations Center - part of the OEM
FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency
- National Weather Service
NWS FWD - National Weather Service - Fort Worth/Dallas
OEM - Office of Emergency Management
- Public Service Event - ARES Net
RACES - Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services
- TExas Severe Storm Associaton