Saturday, October 19, 2013

AuxComm & 2014 NTx SKYWARN Schedule

I knew it had been a while since I posted, but May???

The NWS-FWD has just posted its 2014 SKYWARN Training schedule. (A current work in progress as the Page Title needs to be updated and part of the 2013 schedule needs to be deleted, but scroll down. 2014 is actually there.) Tarrant County will be on Saturday, January 25th at South Hills High School.  The word "Sharknado" was used in relation to it, or perhaps that was a just humorous quip added by the local RACES coordinator.

Weatherwise, this has been an extremely slow year here in DFW. Looking at my notes, the last RACES activation was in May - the night of the previously described tornadoes, during which I was manning the amateur radios at the Arlington EOC.  The City of Fort Worth has been utilizing RACES and CERT radio operators to monitor certain public safety agency communications and log during large public events. Interesting but thankfully uneventful. I continue to assist with the semi-monthly RACES Renewal and New Member Training and attend the monthly Leadership meetings.  I am trained and log in both WEB EOC and ESponder.

AUXCOMM: In August I took a 2-day Introduction to AuxComm course certified by the Texas DPS for deployment in Texas.  AuxComm will provide radio communications (RADO) and assist otherwise as requested as part of the Department of Homeland Security COML and COMT programs to assist public safety agencies when communications are down or severely limited .  See the DPS informational sites here and here. This course was held at the Denton OEM. Additional training sessions will be held elsewhere at later dates. A list of names of Certified COML, COMT, and AUXCOMM certified radio operators will be kept by the Texas Department of Public Safety for deployment as necessary. AuxComm requires a General license, FEMA 100, 200, 700 & 800 and some emergency communications experience.  A second course was held at the JEOC in Fort Worth 10/11 & 12, which I sat in on and assisted as a gofer.

CERT CLE has picked by up under the temporary auspices of the ACDN - Arlington Christian Disaster Network, a faith-based organization of CERT trained volunteers. I totally missed the class last week on Terrorism. DRAT!!  Arlington CERT members no affiliated with ACDN need to set up their own board and propose their own programs, but while it was something I was willing to do and proposed last year, now I'm not so sure.

Train the Trainer:  Some months ago I was encouraged to take a CERT "Train the Trainer" course with the promise I would be advised in advance so that I could register.  However, I wasn't and only found out about the one to be held the end of August at NCTCOG (North Central Texas Counsel of Governments) 2 days after registration closed. It was then I learned I needed to register on the Texas Emergency Management Preparedness website - which I since have. There may, or may not, be another course before the end of 2013.

VOAD Volunteer Reception Center training:  Also last weekend (Saturday morning session overlapped with AuxComm but I managed both).  VOAD - Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disaster. The training was to familiarize the local CERT members with VRC set up and operations to handle the numerous (often hordes of) spontaneous unsolicited and untrained, but generally well-meaning, volunteers who want to help following a disaster. The proposed operational details will be provided to the Arlington OEM for pre-approval so as to be in place when needed.  Personally, if Amateur Radio assistance is necessary, I will be at the EOC and not at a VRC.

Siren Testing: Still handling the observation reports via radio for the OEM.

Slow weatherwise but otherwise an interesting and educational summer.

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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