CERT Program of Kirkland, WA

SEATTLE HAM RADIO OPERATORS TEST EQUIPMENT AND SKILLS

Wednesday, May 06, 2015 9:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Press release from ARRL:

(Seattle)  Saturday May 9th, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 pm, The City of Seattle
will conduct a disaster training exercise for volunteers based on the
scenario that a 9.3 scale subduction zone earthquake has hit Seattle
causing major infrastructure damage destroying bridges across Lake
Washington, cutting power as well as disrupting cell phones and
Internet service. The incident is complicated by a major storm that
follows at night soon after the earthquake. The name of the training
exercise is A Dark and Stormy Night.

The drill will exercise the use of amateur radio to relay emergency
messages when conventional systems are damaged or overloaded.  “This
will be a great opportunity for volunteer amateur radio operators to
train side-by-side with people in the neighborhoods who have organized
Community Emergency Hubs for the purpose of sharing resources and
helping each other in response to a disaster” said Assistant Director
of Seattle ACS and exercise planner Jessica Coleman, “information
needs to flow from city officials to the neighborhoods, and from the
neighborhoods to the city.”

This exercise titled A Dark and Stormy Night (Hashtag:
#Darkandstormy2015) will test operations, procedures and equipment, and
offer opportunities to learn as well as to get to know fellow
volunteers.  Every May, Seattle ACS works together with Seattle’s
Neighborhood Hubs to plan and conduct an exercise.  The hubs are
located in various neighborhoods and are a gathering point for
information and sharing of supplies and other resources.  See more
about the hubs at http://seattleemergencyhubs.org/.   Practicing the
exchange of critical information between the community and the Seattle
Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is a primary objective of this drill.
 Coleman says, “The information can be where shelters are set up, or
which neighborhoods need drinking water.  The exercise is called A Dark
and Stormy Night because in this year’s scenario, the weather is also
bad, and we are working at night.”

“Ham Radio Operators,” as they are called, are licensed by the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as Amateur Radio operators.
Amateur radio has been around for over 100 years, and there are 700,000
licensed hams in the United States, and many more across the world.
Hams have a tradition of helping out in emergencies and disasters.
Most of volunteers participating in this exercise are members of
Seattle ACS or their neighborhood hub, and are ham radio operators.
“In a disaster on this scale, ham radio may be one of the only means
of communications that works,” said Coleman.  Hams use their own
equipment, which are battery powered and can be easily carried and set
up anywhere.  Coleman adds, “The reason we have exercises like this
is to test the equipment, and to test our skills.  We have monthly
training sessions to get our over 130 volunteers prepared, up to speed
and ready for an exercise, or for emergencies.”  For the Dark and
Stormy Night exercise, planners have developed a realistic scenario to
use as the basis of the drill.  This scenario starts two days after the
initial quake and includes aftershocks, and bad weather.

The Seattle Hubs are a collection of volunteers in a neighborhood that
collectively and individually prepare for emergencies and disasters.
In a disaster, the hub sites will:
•    Collect information on local situations, needs, and resources.
•    Relay information between hub sites, and to and from the City of
       Seattle’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
•    Assist in allocation of resources provided by neighborhood
       residents to needs of neighborhood residents.

Hubs participating in A Dark and Stormy Night exercise include:
Admiral -Hiawatha Playfield, Ballard Commons, Broadview at Grace
Lutheran, Ercolini Park, Kirke Park, Lake City at Fred Meyer parking
lot, Loyal Heights Playfield, Shilshole Marina, West Magnolia Playfield
(subject to change).  Volunteers at the hub not involved in
communications will be training on-the-job, and/or working as
“community actors” – playing the role of someone in need.

Both the Seattle Hubs and the Seattle ACS are 100% volunteers.  Seattle
ACS is a program of the Seattle Office of Emergency Management (Seattle
OEM) http://www.seattle.gov/emergency-management.  Seattle OEM is
administratively within the Seattle Police Department, and located at
the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 105 5th Ave S in downtown
Seattle.

Address comments/questions to:

Spokesperson/PIO:  206 755-4541 Curt Black West Seattle Sector -
American Legion Post 160.   wr5j@arrl.net

ACS Director/Spokesperson:  206 510-7118 Mark Sheppard Seattle
Emergency Operations Center 105 5th Ave S mark.sheppard@seattle.gov
(call to gain entry)

Monte, AF7PQ

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ARRL Western Washington Section
Section Manager: Monte L Simpson, AF7PQ
af7pq@arrl.org
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