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When Is The Last Time Your ARES Group Got Called Out?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W0EIB, Nov 28, 2019.

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  1. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Called out" (at least seems) to be an unconditional DEMAND for participation. Requested would be a better term. MANY ARES teams (or individuals) ARE trained, NOT as "first responders," but as communication support. THAT is as it should be. There CAN well be ARES personnel that may participate in disasters, but they should NOT be expected to do physical labor. They MAY be able to help, but many ARES participants may well be handicapped or even wheel-chair bound; do you expect them to help unloading a truck of emergency equipment? They can STILL perform their PRIMARY function, which is providing communications. Or do you think ARES should be limited to able-bodied males capable of lifting and hefting 100 lbs?:confused:
     
  2. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page



    Is that Miles job, or did he just take it upon himself to work on their equipment?

    Even in an emergency, If I was the County Manager, I would be extremely upset if some unauthorized person just started messing with County equipment, regardless of their good intentions or their success in fixing

    And just the two of you surveyed the entire scene before the authorities showed up. Are you authorized to do that in an official capacity?[/QUOTE]

    You must have not read all of my post, we were the local cert team and I was a leader. There were hundreds of volunteers from fire departments and local authorities arriving throughout the night also

    We also serviced the county radios for a number of years, so yes it was our job. The problem was getting to the comsite and we had a number of fatalities and injured

    However if we had been asked and had the capacity to help get the equipment back on the air, we certainly would have. A number of 12 volt batteries were commandeered to get the equipment on, and later generator power was brought in.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  3. W5TTW

    W5TTW XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think this image of "emergency radio operator attire" explains why the authorities have a "Don't call us, we'll call you" attitude.
    [​IMG]
     
    N3AB, WE4B and KA4DPO like this.
  4. K6CPO

    K6CPO Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's ridiculous. Only NASA engineers wear ties with short sleeved shirts...
     
    KX4O, W1TRY, KA4DPO and 2 others like this.
  5. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    And actually, some of the counties around here recognize REACT as their emergency radio people, and those REACT groups are mostly licensed hams now, too. They don't use CB much at all, using amateur radio and GMRS/FRS.

    As a very recently retired ARES DEC, I can tell you that ARES participation is all over the map. It varies greatly by county. My replacement has a lot more energy than I've had lately, so he is working to get things making progress. Our SEC works constantly to improve things. Most of the 9 counties I had in my district had active ARES groups or affiliated non-ARES groups. One county cross-trains their EMCOMM hams on both amateur and public service radios, so they can help to man both.

    Here in Olmsted County, we have a really well developed SKYWARN group that overlaps with ARES. We are also very public service oriented, participating in many civic events throughout the year. We do parades, marathons, bike races, and charity events. If you look around and don't mind a little travel, I'd wager that you can find something to volunteer for every weekend. The new ARES software should make this much easier, as a certified ARES member from one county should be able to volunteer easily for events anywhere. The problem is going to be getting people to use it, just like any new thing.

    Our last really big callout was for a major flash flood that took out several small cities on the Root River. We were a major resource for local governments until the Red Cross and the state got backup communications of their own set up in about 48 hours. Portable cell towers were also brought in. This part of the otherwise flat state has many deep river canyons that make communication on VHF and UHF very difficult. Fortunately, we had ham repeaters located to cover many of these canyons, and we can use NVIS on HF, if needed. We've had a lot of smaller ones, like when someone cut the main fiber cables supporting 9-1-1 service in the area. That's the problem with fiber, the flash floods take out the bridges where the fiber runs. It's happened several times in different parts of the state, and that fiber also ties the state networks together.

    The bottom line on ham emergency communications is that regardless of all the training and planning we do, and there isn't nearly enough being done, though much is offered, it will always fall to the ham who is on the scene when it happens to provide communications when needed. It's something we should all consider, particularly those who live where natural or man-made disasters would disrupt normal communications.
     
    N1ZZZ and N0TZU like this.
  6. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You must have not read all of my post, we were the local cert team and I was a leader. There were hundreds of volunteers from fire departments and local authorities arriving throughout the night also

    We also serviced the county radios for a number of years, so yes it was our job. The problem was getting to the comsite and we had a number of fatalities and injured

    However if we had been asked and had the capacity to help get the equipment back on the air, we certainly would have. A number of 12 volt batteries were commandeered to get the equipment on, and later generator power was brought in.
    [/QUOTE]

    So I have to assume that hundreds of volunteer firefighters and EMT's went to work surveying the area for trapped and injured people. I also assume, from what you told me, is that you, or your friend, or both of you are on the County payroll and are the people who normally keep the communications systems up and running. That's good, a job well done, nothing to do with amateur radio but a good job none the less in getting the part 90 equipment back on the air.
     
  7. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Part of my "real" job is disaster relief. Comm support back in civilization is one thing, but in the affected area living conditions can be pretty rough. Someone who could do nothing more than sit in front of a table would likely be much more of a burden than a help.
     
  8. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I listened to Zello traffic during the Harvey flooding. It seems to be a good tool as long as the cell infrastructure is available in the area, operational, and isn’t overloaded. It probably ought to be added into the ARES toolkit. One issue I heard that kept coming up on various “channels” was disorganization of the communications. Like anything else, some training and net-like discipline is needed to make the most of it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. N1FM

    N1FM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree. I also think it would be a good idea to train more people to set up emergency Internet and phone network infrastructure with portable towers, because the bulk of data could flow in and out of a disaster area more quickly that way, rather than via ham radio. That way all responders could use Zello or a similar tool. This would work in the more developed countries. Naturally, where infrastructure is already lacking, you'd still want to use radio.
     
    WZ7U likes this.
  10. KN6SD

    KN6SD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, well give it some time for those super systems to grow old, then come see me ;)
     

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