Wednesday, November 3, 2010

OEM Photo & Volunteer Opportunities

A photo of some of the Office of Emergency Management Staff taken and posted on Facebook by the US National Weather Service Fort Worth.  Left to Right: Matt, Rebekah, Irish Hancock (OEM Administrator), Mayor Robert Cluck, NWS (embarrassed but name escapes me) and Fort Worth NWS Warning Coordinator Meteoroilogist Mark Fox.

Since I last posted:
  • August:  - RACES check-in and training net and the monthly warning siren test
  • September - RACES check-in and training net and monthly warning siren
  • September 7 - RACES activation for spin-up tornadoes part of the former Hurricane Hermine system moving north through central and north Texas
  • September 8 - RACES activation for torrential rains of  up to 11 inches just south of Arlington causing major flooding across the entire Central and North Texas area - short stint at EOC then home to constant droning of helicopters hovering above flooded apartment complex  (about a mile from my house) taking video of several rescues that made international news. I had over 6" at my house, then my rain guage overflowed.. The creek at the bottom of the back yard looked like a lake. I've never seen it that high. Water came up over the bridge on the major street around the corner. My neighbors, driving around to see the water and damage, drove into water much higher than they expected and ended up with new car.
  • September 19 - CERT volunteer at all day EOC Super Bowl Exercise
  • October - RACES check-in and training net and the monthly warning siren test
  • October 11 - meeting at OEM re the monthly warning siren test - Arlington is instituting an "adopt a siren" program giving local citizens the opportunity to report in on their neighborhood siren rather than having a Ham operator observing it from time to time. There has been some mis-communication as to who is going to observe what siren. Today was the first opportunity to try new approach, but test was cancelled due to weather
  • October 16 - served at Net Control for RACES public service event: Alzheimer's Memory Walk held in Trinity Park in Fort  Worth; came back to Arlington and got in on the tail end of Tarrant County Health Department radio exercise that ran considerably past the time expected
  • October 23 - brief RACES activation for severe weather moving through NE Tarrant County; F0 touch down at 820 & Trinity Blvd doing limited damage
  • October 24 - I wasn't personally involved, but Emergency Manager from Navarro County took this video way too close to the F2 that hit Rice, Texas. See video here:
  • October 30 - GO RANGERS!! - World Series Games #3-5 held in Arlington. I was at the EOC for Game #3 - the one the Rangers won!! Answered phones, made coffee, set out pizza delivery for consumption, tossed empty boxes, emptied trash, and watched game on the big screen it was sharing with several traffic camera feeds. It was a bit strange watching the last hitter on the 7-second delay Fox feed while seeing fireworks already going off from a traffic camera in a box next to it. Forgot to take any pictures! Came home and ate coffee ice cream in celebration.

Friday, August 6, 2010

August and HOT HOT HOT

If we hadn't had one of the coldest winters in decades, I'd worry about the seemingly forever climbing temps. I'm personally convinced that the sun is up to something - like putting out more energy. It's happened before. At present, Mr. Sol is just coming out of an unusually calm and long minimal period and just beginning the climb to the maximum in it's 22-year cycle. I've read recently that we've been in an unusually long calm sun period for most of this century. Whee. Just in time to get active and send out coronal mass ejections and charged particles that will fry all those lovely communications satellites - but create beautiful Northern Lights. Wish I lived where I could actually see them. July and August have been sort of slow volunteer wise.

  • 4th of July: Served as Net Control for several radio operators stationed along Arlington's 4th of July Parade route. Arrived at 6:15am at the UTA "South 40" parking lot where parade floats and participants soon began lining up for the 9am start. There was so much noise in the parking lot and along the route that it was very difficult to hear what was being said. Next time noise blocking headset! Didn't leave until after noon when parade was completed and participants had already gone home. Afterward had lunch with some of the operators at Jason's Deli. For a drastic change, the weather was cloudy and relatively "cool" in the mid- to upper-80's, but with extremely high humidity!
  • July 7th: Monthly Outdoor Warning Siren Test was canceled about 9am because of clouds and potential pop-up storms. Naturally by 1pm, it was clear with nary a storm anywhere around.
  • July 15th: A Lt. from the Arlington PD supervised a group consisting of Citizens on Patrol members (COPS) and radio operators in a neighborhood door-to-door canvas seeking information or tips about a woman who had been missing for over a week. It was the first such joint effort in Arlington and seemed to go very well. Sadly, though some new tips were generated, I don't believe the woman has been located. While 7 small teams went door-to-door, I stayed with the Lt. and his small command vehicle. Temps were at 100 and the vehicle put out even more heat as the engine had to be run to keep his computers up. We're looking forward to participating with the police department more in the future.
  • About a week later or so, a small but intense storm cell crossed over the NW corner of Tarrant County. When I turned my radio on, I discovered one of the National Weather Service employees was seeking direct information from the radio community although no weather alert had gone out. Since no one else had done so (and it was apparent the NWS employee couldn't handle taking reports and do his job) I offered to take reports so he could spend his time watching radar, etc. Only took a couple of inconsequential reports as the cell was already dying out. I've never heard a NWS employee so very informational and wordy over the radio. Perhaps he is new. Very odd situation which I'm not sure I handled exactly right. It won't happen that way again. I've been wanting to take Emergency Communications II, but there's still some apparent confusion as to how the ARRL is combining II & III.
  • August 2nd - The City of Arlington Monthly Outdoor Warning Siren Test (try saying that 3 times fast!) - the City is experimenting with a proposed "Adopt a Siren" program utilizing radio operators and civilians, who call in to a special line, as observers of specific or assigned sirens. It's new. It had a few kinks, but those will be worked out before next month. Two of the observed the sirens had had their grounding wires severed with sections missing. Vandalism or copper thieves? City employees will do a spot check on others in the same area. As lightning does strike sirens from time to time, those grounding wires are an absolute necessity.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More Fun Times as a Volunteer and Learning to be Net Control at the County Level

Since my last post the best volunteer opportunity and experience I've had was recently attending the Texas Unites Conference sponsored by Texas VOAD and Texas Citizen Corps, held at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Dallas - 23.8 miles and a 35 to 40 minute drive - one way. I avoided the mess of trying to get on Walton Walker (that spur that runs just north of downtown linking 35E & 75 - North Central Expressway - 35E being a total bottleneck to merge on to during rush hour) and wisely went through downtown instead. MUCH less traffic! As I walked in the front door of the hotel wondering where to head, I heard "Linda." I glanced seeing no one. "Linda!" I was absolutely ecstatic to see my emergency management mentor and friend, Ben Patterson, who is now Disaster Recovery Coordinating Manager for the State of Texas. Great conference with excellent programs (although aimed primarily at upper and mid-level emergency managers and volunteer coordinators) - very good networking opportunities. And really great seeing and visiting with Ben after a full year. HI BEN!!

See my new Page on Amateur Radio and RACES for simple explanations of various terms.

Other recent volunteer activities:
  • 7/3 I was asked if I would like to be a Net Controller for Arlington's very big deal 4th of July parade - third largest in the country. Of course! I just need to show up before 6am. It's my first opportunity to get to use the radios in the RACES van.
  • 6/23-24 The Texas Unites Conference in Dallas, which included a mini-NWS SKYWARN class given by Mark Fox of the FWD NWS - good to see him again as well
  • 6/26 Not really a volunteer event, but I participated in Field Day, an annual ham radio event. I had hoped to have access to the much fancier radios and get some interstate experience, but the long time radio operators essentially hogged all the radios, though the purpose of field day is to introduce the public to the use and hobby of amateur radio. My job ended up sitting at the registration desk keeping company with the woman given that job. Not what I expected to end up doing most of the day. I never did have actual contact with a radio, but I did, by being insistent, manage to get a newbie access to a radio to try out, and delightfully discovered that one of the members plays and teaches bagpipes, which she brought with her to practice on.
  • 6/7 RACES monthly Check-In net - only this time I had the opportunity to serve as as an alternate Net Controller when the original Net Controller, my other mentor Radio Dave, encountered radio difficulties. All I had to do was ask the next 3 operators to report their call signs and repeat them back for accuracy in order for them to get credit for having participated. Afterwards I called Radio Dave and found out he had actually fixed his problem rather quickly but let me get in the practice and I guess gather some additional introduction to operators across Tarrant County. While this doesn't sound like much, it once again gave me the opportunity to practice being Net Control. The only thing important about that is that I am able to gain credence such that in an emergency the active members aren't sitting there wondering "Who the !!##?? is that, and is she even authorized?" My RACES mentor, Gerry, called it real-time practice. I call it a bit of fun. This statement is by someone who for the first year she had her radio license was too timid to press the transmit key and say ANYTHING on air, and who, during her first RACES severe thunderstorm report was so excited and NERVOUS Net Control couldn't understand a word I said. It was rather embarrassing and NOT a good start. Thankfully, when nerves are under control, I have a calm, steady and very understandable speaking voice. At least I hope so.
  • 6/2 Noon: Net Controller for Monthly Warning Siren Test. Evening: For the first time I had the opportunity to participate as stand-in Net Control for a RACES severe weather event that came about when Net Control Gerry needed someone to relieve him for a few minutes. I waited but since no one else responded, I tentatively offered. I thought it would just be for maybe 5 minutes. Instead, when he came back some time after that, and I started to relinquish Net Control back to him, he told me to continue. Wow! I knew he was monitoring and ready to step in, but he didn't until the NWS indicated our services were no longer needed. Then he did take back Net Control for the sole purpose to deactivate the Net. A good thing since I had no script and no way to turn off the special RACES Net Morse Code tone that sounds at the end of each transmission. I was really surprised to be allowed to handle this to begin with and delighted to have the opportunity to practice for as long as I did. Had the weather been really severe, someone with more experience would have been doing it. Not me. Not just then anyway.
  • 5/27 Served at Net Controller for the Arlington Hospital Check-in Net
Again, check out my new page on Amateur Radio stuff, but be patient. It's definitely a work in progress.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Once again Arlington dodged the bullet

Despite dire predictions for two or 3 weeks, and Oklahoma getting slammed over and over, and desepite some storms that activated RACES Tuesday I think), all we had was a rain event that stayed south of I-20.  The last couple of days we've been waiting on storms developing along a front, then a dry line, then warm front. First Wed, then Thursday then overnight, then by this morning.

About 11:20 I checked the local radar - nothing. I posted another blog entry at 11:28, got up to go fix myself some lunch. Had taken 2 bites of my sandwich and the phone rang: a taped notification that RACES had been activated due to storms .... It was 11:46. I grumbled it must be a glitch in the new notification system about a previous event, but switched the TV to the radar channel just out of habit:

YIKES - WHERE DID THOSE STORMS COME FROM??? Turned on my radio and confirmed a RACES Net in progress. Made a quick call to Radio Dave to see if the EOC had been activated - it hadn't. Took another bite. Dave called back and said it had and he was heading down. As I was dumping my lunch back in the fridge I heard someone report a rotation not far from parent's house not that far away. I quickly called Dad, put on cleaner clothes, ran a toothbrush across my teeth and a quick gargle, then grabbed radio, ID badge, purse and was out the door by 11:55. It occurred to me later I hadn't even looked in the mirror or brushed my hair.

I radioed to RACES that I was going to a certain location (along my way to the EOC) to stop. From the Women's Club parking lot I had a good view north and west. I saw the formation the earlier report had been made about but saw neither lowering or rotation. Reported there was significant low level sheer but winds were almost calm and no inflow. After 5 or so minutes I went on in to the EOC to help man the radio. This is really only the second time I've actually taken the opportunity to spot" Normally I head straight to the EOC. With an old car, dents wouldn't make any difference but I just don't trust it to work exactly at the precise moment I might to skedaddle away from imminent harm!

It's a llittle concerning sitting in the Emergency Operations Center knowing a storm with another rapidly developing storm with a very strong hook echo is first passing directly over your house then pretty much overhead! The Radio Room has several walls between it and the nearest window, but I when the TV stations started reporting a lowering not 3 or 4 miles SE of our location, I did go to the 2nd floor lunchroom, the one sided with a floor to ceiling bank of windows, to look. Hey, I got to the a small wall cloud!! I reported back to the EM's, all of whom had congregated in the EOC ready to react as necessary, that I could confirm lowering but saw no rotation. The cell moved east into Dallas Co where it the wall cloud continued to organize and the storm dumped significant hail. After 2 hours, all the cells had moved East or SE - where they subsequently dropped small tornadoes just over the county line and continue as I type to move SE with continuing possible tornadic activity. With no additional pop-ups or development to the West or NW, tThe NWS gave permission to close the RACES Net about 1:50 but we hung around until 2, just in case.  I came home to finish the sandwich I'd just started when I got the phone RACES alert phone call. Thankfully, nothing dropped until it moved out of our county!

The problematic issue is that with both Radio Dave & I at the EOC, the total number of spotters in Arlington was only eventually 3 - including a city employee who was in the right spot to watch what was going on. Radio Dave served as Net Controller for RACES and I served as Net Controller on the Arlington repeater to take reports from radio operators who have taken SKYWARN but for some reason have not joined RACES. Works well. I also was doing real time event logging by recording the radio reports as they came in. 

We happen to have a radio club meeting tonight. Don't know if Dave will be there, but I intend to bring up the disturbing lack of "eyes on the ground" when today was exactly the type of situation where we needed more than we had, and certainly had the real potential for a LOT of operators to be available.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Volunteer of the Year!!

At an appreciation luncheon held by the Office of Emergency Management on Monday the 24th, I was honored to be named one of six Arlington CERT Volunteers of the Year!  Each of us received a brief feature in the City of Arlington online newsletter. Here is THE LINK to mine.

Others receiving a Certificate of Appreciation were:

   Gloria and Joe Steinlechner
   Jim Taylor
   LeaAnn Shilling
   Dan Grasher (invited but could not attend)

To read about these volunteers (each of us was featured on a different day), check THE INDEX  during the week of April 19th for "Meet..."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Long Absence - Sorry, tis long

Basically, other aspects of my life got in the way of this blog despite all good intents. Probably best to go backwards in time, TRYING to be as brief as possible:
  • Today 4/7/2010: Monthly warning siren testing canceled at last minute due to sudden pop-up of narrow band of cells spitting droplets and producing some rumbles. Since a few observers were already in place, we at least had reports re the security status of those locations
  • 3/27 - Final Exercise for newest CERT training class held at the the Fire Training Center - I hung around the real Fire Battalion's SUV and gave some simple pointers to the trainee serving as the Incident Commander, like "Did you assign a CERT member to remain at Triage for at least nominal first aid and to monitor the victims?" (uh, no) and "Have you informed your Battalion Chief  you need immediate transport for your Code Red victims?" (uh  ... Chief !)  Others, also more experienced CERT members, made appropriate suggestions at other site locations - common sense stuff someone new to or caught up in a chaotic situation just doesn't get around to thinking about. It's always a learning experience for EVERYONE involved, including the AFD. CERT is gaining growing respect from our professional First Responders - now if they would only use us for something more than for general assistance at public events! OTOH, it's a good thing they haven't actually NEEDED the volunteer assistance.
  • 3/24 evening - RACES briefly activated for narrow line of potentially severe storms moving into Tarrant County - which instead generally fizzled as that section hit the western edge of Fort Worth.
  • 3/24 day - Tornado Symposium for 10th anniversary of Fort Worth tornado (THAT long ago??) with overview of storm formation, path, damage and lessons learned.. It was meant to be a big deal for local emergency managers and staff, the public, etc. but no more than 200 attended.  Left a bit early because when the sun came out the possibility of strong storms popping up increased significantly. NWS issued a severe weather alert a couple of hours later, then quickly cancelled for this area.
  • 3/13 -TESSA (TExas Severe Storm Assn) - National Storm Conference and Super Spotter training - not as much overlap with Skywarn this year - excellent presentations! - "The 100 square mile tornado path: Greensburg comes to Dallas" led off the afternoon agenda. This superimposed the tracks of  the EF5 2007 Greensburg, KS tornado and the 3 additional spin off tornadoes over the DFW Metroplex such that the one that destroyed Greensburg initially touched down just south of Arlington,  passed across the UTA campus then plowed through the Arlington Entertainment District - across Cowboy Stadium, the Ballpark  and Six Flags, proceeded straight up Hwy 360 at rush hour then across the southern 1/2 of  DFW airport - where the first tornado looped left and roped out while the second tornado formed and headed northeast over Irving, Carrollton, Plano. The other 2 two caught McKinney and continued up almost to the Red River.  I have a photo of that slide and will post with I get around to d/l photos from camera.
  • 3/10 - Apx 9am - RACES activated for narrow band of potentially severe storms moving in from west. There are 4 walls between the Radio Room and any window. Because there were no reports of anything more than momentary pea-size hail and none at all from Arlington, consequently I had no idea it had hailed quite a bit in Arlingtonl until I got home and neighbors told me.
  • 3/3 - Net Control for siren testing. First full test for the 2 new sirens located near Cowboy Stadium.
  • 2/13 - NBA All Star Game at Cowboy Stadium - a few CERT volunteers worked shifts at the EOC - however it was to answer the phone (which only rang 3 times in 18 hours), hand out visitor ID's, set out food when it showed up, but mostly to MAKE COFFEE! LOT'S of coffee. My shift was from 6am to 11. I ended up staying until almost midnight ... just because. It was interesting seeing the generally empty EOC full with police, fire, reps from the FBI, an NBA rep, officials from Dallas FD and PD, as well as LAPD, which hosts the next All Star Game. There was also a rep from the Fort Worth NWS office. At the time I didn't know who he was, but when I ran into him at the Tornado symposium, he remembered me from the EOC . Ultimately it was a long primarily boring day, and that's a good thing. 
  • 2/11 - A FOOT OF SNOW IN DFW!!  which lasted at a depth of at least a couple of  inches for several days, the last of it finally melting in the shade of my yard over a week later. I had to use the garden spade to shovel a huge pile of snow from behind my car to get to the OEM for NBA game day - in my sandals. I finally located my sneakers a couple of days later.
  • 2/3 - Siren test cancelled due to clouds
  • 1/30 - NWS Skywarn Training held at TCU in Fort Worth - over 400 in attendance. I forget how many of these I have attended. Always interesting and inevitably some of that meteorological science has penetrated my brain.
  • 1/6 - Siren Test Day - only someone else had to serve as Net Control. I had absolutely no voice then nor for most of the next 4 weeks. I did listen for my nearby siren from home and called in to whisper it was working at the end of the test.
  • 12/24-25 - SNOW SNOW SNOW !!!!! An honest to goodness record breaking WHITE CHRISTMAS!!! First in 78 years!!
  • 12/2 - Net Control for siren testing
  • 11/24 - Served as a greeter for the H1N1 shot clinic at the Arlington Convention Center - despite LONG lines at earlier clinics, this one was poorly attended and by noon it was broadcast on the local news that ANYONE from ANYWHERE, regardless of medical condition could come in for a free shot. Except for a small crowd that arrived before the clinic opened and had a few minutes wait in line, everyone else who trickled in throughout the day walked straight through, including most of the volunteers. I learned from a representative from Tarrant County Public Health that they had prepared 200 doses for pregnant women. I saw only perhaps 2 or 3 the entire day. All the unused doses had to be destroyed. I heard on the news within in the past week that unless Tarrant County can find someone to take their current dated supplies of vaccine, it will have to be destroyed. After ALL THAT HYPE and mega-expense, what a waste!
  • 11/17 - CPaRlington !! 4,626 8th graders bussed to Cowboy Stadium to participate in mass CPR training resulting in Guinness World Record for CPR training displayed on the Jumbotron, followed by a donated lunch of pepperoni sandwiches (don't ask me!), chips, fruit, cookie and milk. I and several others (including 2 of the Dallas Stars tiny, petite cheerleaders) stood at the players entrance tunnel, cheered, clapped my hands to get the kids uber-excited, pointing up to the Jumbotron. The kids' entrance was being televised live on that 160' wide, 72' tall screen. Unfortunately, so was I - unlike the kids, I made a point NOT to look up. I had no idea such a huge percentage of junior high students had cell phones with cameras!  A solid mass of students 15 or more deep ringed the stadium floor. Once the kids were in, my job was to sort of wander around and see what assistance anyone might need. American Heart Assn volunteers saw to the CPR training needs of students and teachers. All went VERY smoothly. No emergencies. The 100 or so adult volunteers were thankfully treated to pizza with water or soda. We could eat a left-over kid's lunch as well. The apple was okay. Organizers intended that the students take home their small CPR Annie to teach family members, but that was not made clear in advance and and many of the teachers told their students to leave them behind - meaning that a large percentage of them were sadly collected as trash. After the students left and volunteers got lunch, background checked official CERT members got a special behind the scenes tour of the stadium that none of the general public, and pretty much no one else not directly involved ever will.. Fascinating!! But one needs a map to keep from getting lost. In fact, our OEM guide who had been there many times did just that.. Within 45 minutes of 5000 students and staff vacating, what wasn't already picked up by volunteers the ground crews had totally cleared. Jerry Jones provided the entire facility and all the necessary staff at no cost. I believe he also donated the lunches. Linda to Jerry: Forget the pepperoni sandwiches!  Otherwise, a great day!!
  • 11/16 - Help set up venue for CPaRlington: a handful of CERT volunteers along with a few American Heart Assn. volunteers and some Fire Department personnel converged on the  field at Cowboy Stadium to set out 5,000 packages of simple CPR Annies (these had only plastic face and upper chest that required blowing up somewhat like a balloon) in an evenly spaced grid (using the yard line markers and measuring sticks no less) around the outer areas of the field. At one end, the background video for a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader promo was being shot with a local RAP artist hyping up a young and cool (hip?) group of excited volunteer fans. A couple of cleaning crews were using high-pressure hoses to wash down every seat, floor and nook and cranny in the stadium, which already appeared spotless.  I made a point to walk out and stand in the middle of the Star on the 50 yard line and slowly turned a full 360 degrees in a greatly subdued version of "I'm Cowboy Queen of the World." Why not?, I asked myself. Please don't answer that one. Ok, have done that now. I'd mark it off my lists of things to do, but standing in the middle of the Star on the field of Cowboy Stadium as if I owned the place was never on one.  If there was any one thing that really caught my attention, it was the Le Sueur peas-size rubber pellets that look like large insect droppings in the artificial turf.  They kept getting between the bottom of  my feet and my Dr. Shoal's sandals. Having also hiked across the field a couple of times at Texas Stadium, I can report that even with the weird black bits, this field is far more comfortable to walk on than something that felt like a thick dense sponge. I left about 11p. Some of the Firemen were still rearranging the training heads. Likely my ONLY ever visits inside Cowboy Stadium. Oh, well. Wandering around willy-nilly in a group of 10 or 15 is FAR preferable to battling the crowds that jam that place. One other observation: from the seats and from the field at Texas Stadium, the place looked soooo much smaller in person than it ever did on TV. The new Cowboy Stadium looks huge from ANY location.
  • 11/4 - Net Control for siren testing
  • 10/10 - Daughter wedding #2 - in my DFW parent's back yard - beach theme - weather: heavily overcast, 52 degrees, steady damp wind, high humidity, guests wore sweaters and coats. Evening brought heavy misty chilly fog and even more miserable weather. In October, it was far more likely to have been near 100 with a cloudless sky and sweltering sun. Between the two extremes I actually preferred the damp chill.
  • 10/7 - Siren testing canceled due to weather
  • 9/28 - Spur of the moment deep sea fishing trip on a 60' party boat with newlyweds. I only got seasick once, but my sense of balance was so compromised I had to sit to fish and didn't dare lean over to pick up bait. Within 2 hours of docking, I was on the plane home. It took 3 or 4 days before the floor and my computer finally stopped rolling to and fro. I add this because there was a man wearing a CERT cap, who turned out to be a retired fireman and was familiar with the program. I would have enjoyed discussing it with him, but for some reason he was there just to fish.
  • 9/27 - Daughter's wedding #1, at sunset on the beach in Fort Walton Beach FL - weather: lovely lavender, orange & pink cumulonimbus in the distance, sort warm breeze, if a bit too windy, the sun went down on cue right after the I-do's - ABSOLUTELY PERFECT - Thank you, Florida!!
  • 9/19 - Workday at the OEM to inspect, repair and organize ham radio equipment - I bailed
  • 9/2 - Net control for siren testing
  • 8/5 - Net Control for siren testing
  • 7/26 and  8/2 - Emcomm I training  - Emergency Communications - passed the AARL test - waiting on AARL to decide how to merge II and III to take whatever may be next.
The above is in addition to 1st Monday RACES check-in Nets and 3rd Wednesday RACES training Nets, some of which I managed to remember, the monthly CERT training classes, and up until October or November monthly EMST meetings. That group has been rolled in under CERT, a still  somewhat contentious decision and ongoing issue with many radio operators dropping out entirely, particularly after they learned that the Arlington OEM had decided they must take CERT training in order to be a volunteer radio operator with the OEM. I was one of 2 or 3 already cross-trained by personal choice.  Those matters are still up in the air. I even made it to a few of the monthly Arlington Amateur Radio Club meetings. At some point last fall my friend, Radio Dave, came over and put up the 15'  radio antenna that I'd been given last February. It looks like a Knight's lance with double hand shields. With that antenna I can now reach Dallas, Denton, Weatherford and other out-lying communities whereas with the small antenna on the hand held, during bad weather I could hear but not transmit to the Fort Worth repeater.

Apologies for the length. I did have to cover 9 months.

If you have any questions about any of the above, leave a comment. THANKS!

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