Emergency Preparedness Part 4
by Phil Karras, KE3FL

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 I didn't plan on a fourth article on this topic, but, a number of things
 have come to my attention that I think I should put down in writing and
 pass along to the rest of the club and especially to the ARES group.

 I will discuss the types of things we should be doing as a group.  These
 ideas are not my own and, in fact, come from Worldradio magazine.  I have
 received a number of free issues and in them have found the following
 information.  If you wish to read the entire article see August, 1994,
 (Year 24, Issue 2) pages 38 and 39, "Search And Rescue Communications,"
 and September 1994 (Year 24, Issue 3) page 3 "Words to avoid."

 The main idea is to have a practice session for emergency communications.
 This means not only having a run-through to test our operating skills as
 we did last year at our S.E.T., but also to go through a number of things
 such as:

 * Switch batteries a number of times to practice the case that we have
   been on the air so long that our batteries run out of power.

 * Simulate a broken power cord and repair need.  In the August article
   this was done by supplying each team with about a two-feet long section
   of power cord with a break in the middle of one of the wires.  Each team
   had to reconnect the break.  Would you have thought to bring a DC or
   other emergency-powered soldering iron? A different twist on this might
   be to repair a coax cable break.  This would be more difficult since we
   would need to supply PL 259 connectors to fix the break, but it could be

 * Simulate the need for a better antenna.  Say, you were placed inside the
   Red Cross building but your signal cannot get to the Net Control
   Station; what do you do? You could set up either a emergency J-pole as
   high as you can, or set up an antenna outside.  You'll need about one to
   two hundred feet of coax and an outdoor antenna.

 * While we are not responsible for treating the injuries of others, we
   should be prepared to treat our own! Check your first aid kit for the
   needed items to treat your simulated injury.

 * Main power just failed.  Run your rig and light(s) from emergency power.
   You did remember to bring emergency lighting, didn't you?

 * After all this you must be hungry.  Open up your emergency "ready-to-go"
   food pack and have a snack.

 * If your group is outside, require a move under cover because it just
   started to rain.  Did anyone remember to bring a tarp and hardware for
   setting it up?

 * Last, did you remember to mark your gear in some way so that at the end
   of the test you end go home with all your own equipment?

 We might try these in order to start preparing ourselves for a real
 emergency.  We will not know which, if any, of these things will happen
 during a real emergency, but remembering Murphy's Rule makes it almost a
 100% probability that something will! ("If anything can go wrong, it will,
 at the worst possible moment.")

 Since we are communicators, we also need to communicate well with the
 emergency people of the county we interface with.  In the September
 article, one group found that it was advantageous to use words these
 people could not only understand but also respect.  Case in point: avoid
 using acronyms such as ARES, RACES, ARRL, EC, DEC, SEC, etc.  Other people
 may not know these terms.  This group had to say that they worked for "The
 Governor's office of emergency services." They also added "the
 Telecommunications branch" if needed.  They are also "FCC licensed
 communication specialists," not Amateur radio operators!

 We need to find out what terms we will need to use in order to facilitate
 the county and state agency recognition of what we can do for them.  The
 term communication specialist seems to be a good one, but I recommend we
 find out from the agency we will be assisting what they call their
 communications people.

 Remember those lists in the last article? Well, keep a copy of them with
 you, or make your own with the equipment on it that you can provide.  If
 you forget something while on an exercise write it down for the next time.
 You also might group items with function or skill.  What are your skills
 and what do you need in the way of equipment to perform these skills?

 73, Phil/KE3FL
Information: If there are other points that would benifit all to know related to this article please
send them to me at: e-mail to: KE3FL .

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