Friday, December 23, 2011

 * * * Merry Christmas * * *

To each and all who drop in now and then to see what's happening in my world, my family and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, a wonderful holiday season and a safe and prosperous New Year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

CERT Pot Luck, AARC Christmas Party & Jingle Bell Run

CERT Christmas Pot-Luck - December 21st:  Held at the Fire Training Center. With Irish and Matt from the OEM, there were maybe 15 or 18 of us there. Nice camaraderie. Sincere thank yous and kudos from Irish Hancock, head of the OEM, who said it might not seem that important but CERT assistance with EOC activations, even if just to answer phones, set out food, was invaluable. A bit about the upcoming all day FEMA Damage Assessment course (once we're trained they are going to assign specific teams to specific areas of the city for immediate assessment for events such as flooding, weather, fires and others to report in to the OEM primarily via an IPad link to use to make more specific resource assignments, etc. Also in the works in POD training. Not sure how this is going to work with plans the Tarrant County Health Department already has in place. Pleasant if short gathering.

AACR party - December 8th: At the Black Eyed Pea in Lincoln Square in Arlington. About 25 attended. The person named Radio Operator of the Year wasn't present, so name wasn't announced. The ICOM raffle was won by one of the women in the club, and a few gifts were brought for an Exchange. Not far from the Ball Park and Cowboy Stadium.

Jingle Bell Run - December 3rd: After last year's disaster of slow runners/walkers having to finish the route in the dark (a handful made a wrong turn in the almost pitch black), this year's event started at 8:45 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.  It would be so helpful if whoever organized these things actually walked the route in advance. Some of the radio guys had to move cones that misdirected walkers and then had to find a key to open a gate that allowed walkers on to a certain section of the path. Radio operators needed to be there by 6:30. It was dark, a bit foggy with light rain. By the time participants began to arrive the rain had stopped, at least for a while. I'd not previously met the man serving as Net Control. As I stepped in the van Gerry introduced me to him. When I saw a braille writer in front of him I made the wholly unnecessary observation "Ah, you're blind." DUH !!! At least I didn't ask the obvious. Really nice guy with an incredible memory and sense of humor. He was the only person in the van with a watch and had the time, which was rather funny actually. I served as back-up but did practically nothing but warm the chair. At the end, the operator in the golf cart circled the route looking for any possible stragglers, picking up extra supplies, retrieving and folding banners, all of which was delivered back to the organizers. Then 16 or 20 or us went out for Mexican Food at La Familia. It has a good reputation and  atmosphere, but frankly I wasn't that impressed with the food. The soup was decidedly salty and the sour cream on enchiladas was decidedly sour. Rather than a scoop of beans, what I got was more like a smear. I'll eat pretty much whatever is put in front of me, but for the $$ I expected more. However, the freshly made salsa and tortilla chips were great.

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