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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

CERT, Ham and ARES

James K. Deane (KC0LPV) on November 23, 2004
View comments about this article!

Our community has been fairly pro-active about emergency preparedness, and is currently training their third CERT team.

My wife, having seen my activities and preparations with the ARES group, decided she liked the idea of being able to do something constructive in an emergency rather than just being a bystander. She signed us up for CERT training.

The local Emergency Manager was excited to hear that a ham would be part of the group.

This past Tuesday, we attended our first training session. We were introduced to the CERT concept--a concept born in California, to help cope with the aftermath of the too-frequent disasters. CERT teams have been called out to assist on many occasions.

Among the topics covered in the basic CERT training are,

  • Disaster Preparedness,
  • Fire Safety (including basic disaster firefighting),
  • Disaster Medical Operations,
  • Light Search and Rescue Operations,
  • CERT Organization (including decision making and documentation),
  • Disaster Psychology, and
  • Terrorism response.

I want to share a few early observations with you about CERT and the training.

  • The Emergency Management department takes this seriously. They recognize that volunteer citizens have been and will be vital to the efforts to save lives and property during disasters.
  • The CERT program provides training, manuals, and a "CERT kit" that has contents similar to what we might put together for an ARES three-day pack, plus some extras for the extra duties expected in CERT operation.
  • CERT program training includes a bound 9-chapter "Participant Manual" with training information and procedures, issued by FEMA.
  • CERT provides some sort of easy identification and protection--a green hard-hat and a shirt or vest that identifies the wearer as a CERT volunteer.
  • The trainer mentioned that CERT recognizes that the easiest way to get people to stop helping is for a Police officer to show up on scene and "take over," sending everyone behind a barricade. CERT is working to ensure that professional emergency responders know how to deal with volunteer responders and how to interact when CERT teams are first-on-scene and set up incident command posts.

Some people here and elsewhere have asserted that ARES volunteers aren't needed, that emergency response is "for professionals" and not "wannabes". The naysayers have never convinced me; in fact, participation in ARES was a prime motivating factor in my finally obtaining my ham license after 9/11.

For those who still think we're not needed, consider this plea at the Los Angeles CERT website:

HAM OPERATORS WANTED

"The Emergency Operations Organization of the City of Los Angeles has designated the Los Angeles Fire Department to manage its amateur radio program under the Auxiliary Communication Service agreement with the State Office of Emergency Services. The Fire Chief has authorized the group to enroll up to 500 licensed Hams to be trained to back up the Department's 800 MHz radio system, provide radio support to CERT members, their families and their Battalion leadership and 40 meter support to USAR for passing health and welfare traffic. If you are a licensed amateur radio operator who desires to serve the Department and the community, contact the Los Angeles Fire Department Radio Interoperability Project Coordinator at (213) 978-3530 or at krn7933@lafd.lacity.org and tune in to the LAFD-ACS NET on Monday evenings at 1930. The 2-meter Repeater frequency is 147.300 +600 with a PL of 110.9. The 220 band is 224.680 -1.6 with a PL of 114."

Captain Kevin Nida
Radio Interoperability Project Coordinator
213-978-3530
krn7933@lafd.lacity.org

I'm going through the CERT course to learn something more about disaster preparedness and response; I'm especially looking for ways to cross-pollenate, taking lessons from CERT to improve ARES, and showing the CERT and Emergency Management of my community how ARES can help as well.

This is a six-week course; once we're through, I'll post another article giving my full impression of CERT training and how it relates to amateur radio and ARES.

Jim Deane, KC0LPV

Earlier eHam articles specific to CERT:
http://www.eham.net/articles/7176
http://www.eham.net/articles/9633

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WB2WIK on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Good work.

The L.A. County repeaters cited in the solicitation have been active many years and are high-profile, always "open" repeaters continuously monitored by the Sheriff's Department. I hope all cities have something similar, as this is a real asset to the local population as well as visitors to L.A.

There are *no* shenanigans on these repeaters, despite their very wide-area coverage.

Let us know how the CERT training goes...

WB2WIK/6
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA6BFH on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I am curious about one item. It is acknowledged that because of the wording of FCC Part 97 (and its Congressionaly recognized authority) that at least at times of a declared war, the "War Powers Act" would take effect, and thereby the only Ham's that could get on the radio, would be RACES members.

Also, noting that this "CERT" is evidently under the auspices of "State OES", and otherwise recognized by "FEMA", how does that work?

John Wendt -- a former RACES officer of Riverside County
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by N2RXK on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article on a very important subject!! Thanks for sharing your ideas!!
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by W9WHE-II on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The author writes:

"Some people here and elsewhere have asserted that ARES volunteers aren't needed, that emergency response is "for professionals" and not "wannabes".

Yes and no.
There is certainly a place for volunteers in a real disaster. The question is "what role"? If there are many injuries AND you have GENUINE healthcare credentials, GREAT! If you have other genuine credentials that can provide help, i.e. operate heavy equipment, turn off water/gas, have engineering/construction skills, damage control, etc, etc, and can do so UNDER DIRECTION, GREAT! But if your sole skill is being "able to talk on a radio" you DO NOT need to be ON THE SCENE of a disaster getting in the way of people that can provide SKILLED solutions to immeadiate on-the-scene problems.

If you want to serve coffee & doughnuts to the "professionals", GREAT. That's helpful. But if you are going to be on the scene, you better dam well have SKILLS that are useful and you better well TAKE DIRECTION from the scene commander, or be prepared to be arrested!

BOTTOM LINE: Have REAL SKILLS that are REALLY NEEDED or don't be on the scene.

 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by NA4IT on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Biggest problem I with with CERT is that amateurs have been doing emergency communications for years and years. Now, all of the sudden, those years of experience mean nothing. Everybody has to be "retrained".

And it gripes me to no end when the old timers who were the ones who have been there for local EMA's are suddenly "untrained". I've got friends who have absolutely been treated like dogs since Homeland Security came about.

Something needs to change...

If it ain't broke don't fix it.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by W9WHE-II on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
NA4IT writes:

"And it gripes me to no end when the old timers who were the ones who have been there for local EMA's are suddenly "untrained".

This is an EXCELLENT example of why "professionals" don't want to work with the "wannabees". As a paramedic, I had to engage in ongoing training. Every year, I had to have 40 hours of "re-training". There are similar requirements for cops, doctors, nurses, emergency rescue technicians, etc, etc, etc.

SO...... if the trained "professionals" need regular "re-training", why is it the relatively "untrained" volunteers don't need regular retraining????

W9WHE



 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KB2FCV on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
As a volunteer firefighter there is no such thing as too much training. We train and re-train. There is always something new to learn, even in re-training. Someone who says they have all the training they need to handle an emergency situation and feel they don't need any more is the first person I DON'T want around on a scene.
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by W3JJL on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Regardless of how long we have been helping EMA, we have to realise that the world changed 9/11 '01. Public safety professionals have looked at hams with a jaundiced eye for quite some time. 9/11 made them look even closer at us. After being involved with fire,ems and rescue for 25+ years, I can see how and why they try to ignore us. In the short time I have been EC for the county I live in, I have run in to several stone walls. The neighboring county has opened it's arms to us. This willingness to use Ham's comes at a cost for us. We have to be willing to play in their sandbox. They are providing us with the necessary training. The group I'm involved with has adopted several 4 hr local level awareness classes from the fire/ems courses available. We also encourage the ARRL ECC courses and/or documented equivilent as training. The oldtimers who don't want to train don't have to, but they are limited to what they are allowed to do. Being a FF/Responder I've had the exposure as to what is out in the field,while not an expert I cannot let a person who has no idea what is going on shadow an IC or person in charge in the field. I think we should be able to fend for ourselve's and also be another pair of eye's and ears for the "professional" we are to shadow. The CERT training is great as a start. Our group encourages a member to take advantage of any training offered. Also by training with the CERT teams and the PS officials we get "face time" and exposure. This helps the "Pro's" lose that attitude they seem to have of "hams". Also by training along side of them they realise that we are on the same side.
John W3JJL
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KT0DD on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
W9WHE Wrote:
"There is certainly a place for volunteers in a real disaster. The question is "what role"? If there are many injuries AND you have GENUINE healthcare credentials, GREAT! If you have other genuine credentials that can provide help, i.e. operate heavy equipment, turn off water/gas, have engineering/construction skills, damage control, etc, etc, and can do so UNDER DIRECTION, GREAT! But if your sole skill is being "able to talk on a radio" you DO NOT need to be ON THE SCENE of a disaster getting in the way of people that can provide SKILLED solutions to immeadiate on-the-scene problems."

What he fails to realize that Amateur radio operators have a valid reason for being "On Scene" in an emergency for traffic congestion relief. There are only limited frequencies for emergency rsponse, police, fire, etc. and they may at times be tied up with immediate emergency traffic. Amateur radio can provide traffic congestion relief in emergencies by relaying & handling lesser priority, yet still essential traffic without tying up the primary frequencies used by emergency responders. The important thing to remember in these cases is #1, stay accessible to the EC, and OUT OF THE WAY of the emergency responders. #2, KNOW WHO IS IN CHARGE, and know how to FOLLOW THEIR ORDERS. #3, If you have the "Gimme a badge and some authority attitude", then there is NO place for you in an emergency situation PERIOD!

We can be very valuable IF we know how to conduct ourselves properly in an emergency situation. And training in other areas besides communication is always helpful. 73
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KG6JKJ on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
This is a subject that is near and dear to me. I am a CERT team member for a suburban community in the L.A. area. The one problem I have encountered with CERT is that members tend to have an idea that they are trained medics ready to help anytime and anywhere. Some even keep their CERT backpacks in their vehicles. I have to keep reminding them that we are NOT medics or rescue personnel trained for any emergency, and should not run to the other side of town if something happens there. If they show up on a scene after the pros show up, they will be denied access (as it should be). Your CERT training is intended primarily for incidents that take place in the home and immediate neighborhood, with the emphasis on large-scale incidents where professional help is unavailable. I keep a well-stocked first-aid kit in my truck, and not my CERT bag. Being a former volunteer firefighter, I understand their wish to rush in and help, but I would hate to see CERT people becoming a problem at a scene which would potentially give the program a black eye.

I also belong to a ham unit attached to our local police department and am a member of our L.A. County Disaster Communications Service (DCS), which is a unit of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. For those organizations, we only deploy on request, or in the event of a major incident like an earthquake, we self-deploy. Our most recent DCS deployment was a single-engine plane that went down a mile from my home. I watched the TV news with the live helicopter shots and monitored our repeater until a call came in for deployment. I stayed away until then. We are trained, have uniforms and I.D. badges, and were specifically requested by the Officer-In-Charge. The professionals on-scene very much appreciated our help, since we assisted in perimiter control (like volunteer Fire Police) which freed up some of the deputies for other assignments. All of the firefighters and deputies I talked to were very impressed with our professionalism and assistance.

Our DCS unit will be working on interoperability plans so that we can integrate CERT team hams, several other local community based homeland security organizations in the area that are trying to use hams, and the county fire department. Being in the L.A. area, frequencies are at a premium. One thing I will be working on is an interoperability plan and a communications plan, along with training. I will also be looking at other ARES and RACES organizations in neighboring counties. Another item that should be addressed is what to do with those that do come out of the woodwork (only a small percentage of hams have ARES/RACES experience or belong to an active unit). That will also be something that I will be trying to plan for. Part of CERT's training is to know what resources you have around you (people and equipment). Knowing what you can do with untrained people just by asking them a few questions about what they CAN do, makes a big difference.

Having hams (and other volunteers) trained and on-board with us, no matter what organization they belong to, is very important and reduces the number of untrained helpers and freelancing. The volunteer fire community has a name for the wannabes who come out of the woodwork when things happen and end up being more of a hindrance than a help. They are known as "volliewhackers". Turning wannabes from "whackers" to useful volunteers takes time and well structured training with an emphasis of their duties. Read some of the message forums at www.firehouse.com for a look at how the fire service deals with similar things.

Keep the suggestions coming in this thread, folks. More and more CERT teams are being formed around the country. Having CERT trained hams can only be a plus. The CERT folks learned early on that the FRS radios bought for them would be virtually useless here due to so many users of those toys. Because of that, many have becomed licensed. We have been bringing them in to our local P.D. group and DCS. Some of us have also been trying to encourage those new hams to look into the hobby. Most got licensed for the emergency aspect. Those folks have no idea what do when it hits the fan, and many don't even know how to use the nifty new radios that they bought. We've been trying to catch those folks and educate them. Be ready to handle those newbies and welcome them in with open arms. Most are ready and willing to be trained and participate in organized drills.

73's
Rich
KG6JKJ
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by N6UB on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The current telephone number for Captain Kevin Nida of the Los Angeles Fire Department is 213 978-3536 (per Captain Nida - a correction to the number given in the lead posting).
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA1RNE on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

I've gone over much of the training material within LA's emergency management org structure, the LA County DCS and some of the CERT training manuals. At first glance, LA's emergency operations planning seems overly complex with the potential for several inter-agency conflicts-in-the-making.

The CERT program appears to be a very useful diaster training program for citzens and first responders - and overall, a well meaning effort. But during an emergency, I don't see how this effort will be able to realistically coexist and coordinate with the various local government agencies like LAPD, LAFD, the County agencies. For example, Unit 6 of the CERT manual describes the org structure as being based upon ICS or Incident Command System, which translates to local local law enforcement or fire officials as being the one's in charge on the scene - with CERTS taking direction from them. OK, so LA is spreading the word that citzens are getting organized first responder training which is a good thing.

But I think you may want to ask a few more questions about the exact chain of command within LA's Emergency Operations Organization and how it relates and interacts with the LA County Operational Area Disaster Communications Service or DCS. The DCS has THEIR OWN chain of command - both at the county and city level.

....Then just for kicks, add in you local ARES section coordinator to the mix - and WOW, now you really have a "disaster" in the making.

I've always felt that ARES was an effort by the ARRL to insert themselves in emergency communication planning but without bothering to get buy-in from the state agencies that are actually responsible for the execution of emergency operations. The unobvious problem with this "go it alone" thinking is, the ARRL has never bothered to tell anyone that joins an ARES group that ARES has never been officially acknowledged as part of ANY state's official emergency managagement plan. The reason for this is probably because ARES is looked upon as a duplication of effort that already exists through RACES and is simply another layer of coordination - and confusion that isn't needed.

I think ARES communications training is worthwhile so long as it meshes with the local RACES chain of command and org structure. ARES own chain of command during emergencies is really a joke.

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by N1VLQ on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
We've had good luck with the CERT team concept in our little corner of the world. By our willingness to participate in the CERT training, our group has forged a relationship with the county EMA office that has been beneficial for everyone.

Yes, RACES was a concern for some. We decided, as a group, that the "alphabet soup" was becoming quite cumbersome, what with ARES, RACES & CERT. Because of that, we christened our group Hancock County EMCOMM, and have made sure that the EMCOMM group itself has all the proper affiliations (ARES, RACES, CERT) and designations, for use when appropriate. But for everyday use, we refer to all group activities as EMCOMM. Which is what it really is all about. (And much easier for public service agencies to get a grasp on.)

Thr training is actually quite basic, but still worthwhile. What is more important is the legitimacy that training and committment brings in the eyes of the EMA personell.

We recently had the opportunity to hold a "Field Exercise", when the Queen Mary II came to port in our county. All the major public service agencies were on alert, as well as some federal agencies. (I'll not list them all. Suffice to say, I was over-whelmed when we ran down the list later.) And their representatives were present at the EMA operating center. Our presence wasn't expected by some of these agencies, but after the day was done, we had discovered that we could not only work together, but actually compliment each other. It was a great feeling. And we walked away from that "exercise" being held in better regard by many local agencies. A good day, all around.

Lastly, here is my advice for those of you who are having difficulties with your local EMA, or other public service agencies. Try to (gently) point out to them that the hams role in an emergency is only to supplement, or back-up, exisiting systems. "We're not here to do anybodies job for them." Unfortunately, too many people get into turf wars, which is unfortunate. We are back-ups to the back-ups. Hopefully, we aren't needed. Hopefully the emergency agencies communications systems will do what they are supposed to. Try to keep that in mind. And like someone else said, stay out of the way.

Try to find an area that you can do for these agencies. The Red Cross, hospitals, and area shelters are never covered by emergency personell. If you can show that you can have a system in place where you can provide communication between these places for the EMA director, perhaps you can show your value in an area that they might not have considered. And then work from there....

 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by AB8RU on November 23, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It just depends in the future, as for me right now I am in process of taking some classes through a Electronics School, just hope to send off the Scholarship Grants Application in the mail soon.

I was a volunteer between jobs, money, and other reasons I have left that to the ones who have that capacity.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
WA1RNE,

I don't know the extent of your research
but there IS a MOU between the NCDEM and
the ARRL that involves ARES.

Go to:
www.ncarrl.org/NCEP0304.pdf

Proceed to Appendix F.

Happy Turkey Day

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KA6GJN on November 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
In this area, CERT, ARES and area emergency response agencies fit together like hand-in-glove -- um, in-glove. To be sure, it helps when your county fire marshal is a ham, and one of the sparkplugs in ARES.

ARES first(The ARES/RACES situation will be discussed last): All members go through ICS/SEMS familiarization, at least. The entire ARES organization locally is organized as an ICS asset. When functioning fully and formally, we would be requested and deployed just as any other ICS asset -- a dozer, a hand crew, or even (as I learned at Loma Prieta) a building inspector. After much discussion as to what should constitute an ARES "Strike Team," we settled on single members rather than groups of two or more, because of the great need for flexibility. Still the concept of an ICS Strike Team is intact. To be effective in ANY emergency response, you MUST operate in the ICS environment. If you don't fit into the ICS framework, whether you're a ham, a fire crew, or a paper pusher, you are an albatross, and one with a broken wing at that. Read: "Training, training, training."

CERT: I went through CERT this past summer. It was excellent training. Even though I didn't learn a lot that was new to me -- I've been a peace officer, fire fighter and EMT -- CERT has established the framework within which I can be effective as a team member. Bear in mind, always, that when I respond as a CERT, I am NOT a ham or any of those things that I used to be. I'm a CERT. There is a strong local push for ARES members to go through CERT training. This isn't to turn ARES into CERT teams. It reflects the realization that CERT teams will be one of the primary groups with which ARES members will be working in a major disaster. In fact, ARES members are emerging as something of a unique group in CERT. As CERT's, our first committments remain ourselves, our families, and our neighborhood. After that, though, we may well be dispatched elsewhere to provide communications to other CERT teams, or other parts of the emergency response. In any case, hams are enthusiastically welcomed in CERT training. And, parenthetically, CERT training has proven to be a recruiting ground for new hams.

And last, the ARES/RACES issue: When I was first licensed, in 1963, the two organizations were very distinct. That was still the case when I got back into ham radio in Humboldt County, CA in the 70's. The organization(s) there developed into probably the best possible solution -- we formed two totally parallel organizations. The officers were elected to both on the same ballot. Hams could belong to either or both seamlessly, with no discernible difference, at least until war was declared (and in the time I was there, war was never declared). I don't know what's happening there now; I moved away 20 years ago. In most areas, though, one of the two was dominant, and the other was very small or nonexistent. I never found a rational reason for one to be dominant in any area where I lived.

But things have changed. I don't know the reasons, but ARES organizations now are often integrated into disaster plans, and agreements exist that place ARES into virtually the same situation as RACES used to hold exclusively. These agreements seem to have been worked out one by one, but they do exist. The assertion that ARES somehow akirts a real committment to working with public entities is just not true. In fact, ARES and RACES both play large in local, state and national disaster planning. If you doubt me, do a Google search on "ARES." I know there is serious talk about combining ARES and RACES into one organization. I don't know the merits of the arguments. But if the only result would be to bury the old animosities once and for all, then it would probably be worth it.
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KI4GUZ on November 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I think the biggest issue here is that there is as much disparity in the orginization of the different groups around the country as there are variations in the highway laws between states.

In our local community, the CERT program has been in operation for just over one year. I am the team leader for one of our CERT teams. Our four wheel drive group first approached the county EMA over a year before they started the CERT program pushing for it. The first class consisted of members of our club, a community neighborhood watch group, and the local RACES group. I am not that familiar with the ARES group here, but I believe that ARES and RACES are almost one in the same here. The RACES group is very important to the local EMA and actually have a full-time ham shack located in the EOC. The EMA is really high on the CERT program and are working to make it more and more integral to their operations.

I guess our prespective is different from some here. I come from an area that has suffered major tornados in the recent past, the 89 tornado leveled major sectios of the city and while the major emphasis was a major intersection/shopping area (tornado hit about 5PM during rush hour), there were neighborhoods that sustained major damage and it was several hours before any responders got to many areas. CERT would have been invalueable in this case, as it was, the EMTs were so swamped, they were useing anyone with a car in the area to transport victims to the hospital.

Our CERT response is that you do not activate unless something happens Where you are, or if you recieve notification from the EMA. We have been encouraged to have our equipment with us so should something happen at work, on the way home (as happened in 89), or otherwise, we are prepared. If you look at the EMA website with information on CERT, many individual members of CERT have been of service when there have been automobile accidents and other more mundane incidents. We are not "medics" or true first responders (we are immediate responders), but we do have training to stabilize a situation until the first responders arrive, that may be minutes or hours depending on the situation. Yes the incident command structure is taught and used and a CERT team may be the incident commander for a time until help arrives (at which time we have been taught that the professional EMS personnel get to decide who remains in charge).

As to ham raido's place in CERT, I have found it to be priceless. CERT is the main push that caused me to finally get my license. At our final disaster scenario at the Fire Training area, I was the incident commander and was able to deploy a ham operator with each team and one remained at the command post, this provided us with tactical communications and enabled quicker response than having to rely on runners. This was a large area and had buildings that would have made FRS radio communications iffy. In later scenarios where ham operators weren't available (I've attended almost all as a victim/observer) the response wasn't as good and the instructors have all noted that and encourage participtants to get their licenses just for that reason.

Robert
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by NA4IT on November 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well, you offer your opinion and get attacked...

Anyway, here is how I think amateurs should approach EMA's or whoever to be useful.

(1) We are not the boss, they are! We don't make the plans, they do!
(2) We are amateur radio operators specializing in emergency communications in extreme conditions.
(3) We are not medics, doctors, police officers, firemen, etc.

How to promote this idea?

(1) Simply ask for a short meeting with those in charge. Do this by writing a letter, on club or group letterhead. Enclose a brochure that tells what amateur radio is, can do to help them, and what it cannot do, truthfully. Explain your resources, such as a club station, mobile communications units, etc.
(2) Wait for a response.

How do I think the agency will respond?

(1) They will not be interested and never reply, thinking they don't need a bunch radio carrying wanna be official volunteers telling them what to do.

(2) They will respond because just the idea of having amateurs as a backup will gain them extra funding the next time they file for a grant, because you are a part of their "plan".

(3) They will see the importance of having good, solid, communications backup so that they can continue in extreme times to do all they can to save lives and property.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it...and it does work.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by W6TH on November 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!



A very happy happy and peaceful Thanksgiving to all.


.: 73, W6TH.




 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA1RNE on November 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

WA4MFJ;

I found this to be an interesting document but as usual, one must read all the fine print.

It would seem the ARRL managed to get their foot in every nook and cranny in North Carolina EM. It almost sounds as though one of the ARRL staff wrote the document. Maybe this person is also a EM director as well?? Hmmmnn...

What I also found interesting is Section V, paragraphs D and E. Paragraph D states, quote “NCEM, through its branch offices, will *encourage* county emergency management officials to interact with ARES emergency coordianators and other appropriate ARES Section officials, in and affort to establish cooperative relationships with ARES volunteers.” Paragraph E sends more encouraging words to NCEM to utilize amateur radio services within its operating plans.

“Encourage” is not a mandate and is certainly not written to be the SOP for NCEM's emergency operations.

This is a very open-ended statement that in other words says do what you think you need to do. If your RACES operation requires supplemental communications staffing, “consider” using ARES operators; that’s it.

Paragraphs A, B and C that get into the “ARRL/ARES and NCEM State, Branch and County liaison stuff is more ARRL window dressing. If you really think all these ARES Section managers, Section Coordinators and the rest are going to be faithfully kept within the chain of command when the “you know what” hits the fan, that’s just pure fantasy.

As well, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.....


 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by AE6IP on November 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> Biggest problem I with with CERT is that amateurs
> have been doing emergency communications for years
> and years. Now, all of the sudden, those years of
> experience mean nothing. Everybody has to
> be "retrained".

Not retrained. Trained in the first place. CERT is *not* just emergency communications. It goes beyond that, and emcomm training doesn't prepare you for the other tasks.

Even the communications tasks involved with CERT require *different* training than for ARES. There's different terminology, different priorities, and different approaches.

'Cert: It's not your father's EMCOMM'
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
In NC ARES and RACES are the same. We've
never used RACES as the President has
never put hams off the air since WWII.
All ARES members are registered with their county
CD Director AKA EM Director for RACES
purposes.

The county EM Mangers are county employees
and therefore the State can not tell them
what to do. Encourage is as strong as it
comes absent the Guv declaring martial law.

Yes,our section appointees do participate in
all meetings and teleconferences that are
held, if they don't they don't last long.
The state supports us very well
as they have seen our value in hurricanes and
other natural disasters.

The MOU was blessed by both the ARRL Corporate
Counsel and the NC Attorney General.

73 de Ronnie


 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by AD8A on November 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks James for an excellent report on your activities. I'm an ARES EC, and just started the CERT training myself. I see them as very different but very complimentary skillsets - I am a specialist in communications, but if noone needs a radio guy I will be able to help as appropriate.
I'll admit to having heard some less-than-complimentary comments about CERT, but now that I'm meeting the people involved, hearing the history, and seeing the opportunities, I'm getting quite excited about it. Im seriously considering offering to write a class on communications for CERT teams, and otherwise getting involved. CERT really is an opportunity to learn how to help your neighbors, plain and simple - it's not Big Brother, it's not Psuedo-Cops, it's not anything but being taught by professionals how to recognize situations where you can help, and WHERE YOU CAN'T.
And thanks to the many hams that have been supportive of James' article, I was kinda worried he would be getting bashed, and clearly this is not the case. Happiest Holidays all,
wayne ad8a
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by GHOSTRIDERHF on November 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thank God for CERT, Ham and ARES trained operators... who else would proverbially show up to a gunfight without a gun....

however there are a couple of things that you need to cover in your CERT, Ham and ARES training to make your so-called support even better...

1. How to make better coffee... since this will bee the biggest task you will have while supporting a professional organization that has a wealth of comms equipment and paid trained communicators who DO NOT need your help ...

2. Learn to know where the dumpster is ... after you make the coffee for the paid trained communicators you need to tske out the trash..

3. Learn where the mop and broom -- allot of your time will be taken up cleaning up the mess of the paid trained communication professionals....

Oh wait -- perhaps if you are lucky they will let 20 of you all you monitor the same intersection on the outskirts of town for any suspicious activites or incase "something" happens...

then the next week you can all jump on this forum and tell us how YOU personally and the rest of your CERT, Ham and ARES gang singlehanded saved the whole world and that ham radio as a SERVICE is not dead.. yada yada yada........

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by GHOSTRIDERHF on November 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thank God for CERT, Ham and ARES trained operators... who else would proverbially show up to a gunfight without a gun....

however there are a couple of things that you need to cover in your CERT, Ham and ARES training to make your so-called support even better...

1. How to make better coffee... since this will bee the biggest task you will have while supporting a professional organization that has a wealth of comms equipment and paid trained communicators who DO NOT need your help ...

2. Learn to know where the dumpster is ... after you make the coffee for the paid trained communicators you need to tske out the trash..

3. Learn where the mop and broom -- allot of your time will be taken up cleaning up the mess of the paid trained communication professionals....

Oh wait -- perhaps if you are lucky they will let 20 of you all you monitor the same intersection on the outskirts of town for any suspicious activites or incase "something" happens...

then the next week you can all jump on this forum and tell us how YOU personally and the rest of your CERT, Ham and ARES gang singlehanded saved the whole world and that ham radio as a SERVICE is not dead.. yada yada yada........

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 25, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Too bad, you don't do any emergency
work. The professionals, even if they're
licensed, can NOT do ham radio when on
duty. The provision to let those with a
Restricted Raido Telephone Permit
to operate on RACES* was changed many,
many moons ago. Check Part 97 about hams
accepting compensation to operate
ham radio, there are only a couple of
very limited exceptions.

Also, we don't do coffee**, play janitor or anything
else. We communicate via ham radio
when it is needed, otherwise we don't
go. We do deploy self sufficient so as
not to further drain the relief efforts.
A ham is supposed to part of the solution,
not the problem.

If you start doing the grunt work, you'll
find you get called in for that. Our SEC/
State Radio Officer says we may do this
kinda stuff, if we are not assigned to
a op shift and we WANT to. Otherwise,
we are to politely declince stating
that this is not what we're here for.

We do this a lot for hurricanes, floods
and ice storms and it has worked out fine
business.

HAPPY TURKEY DAY!

73 de Ronnie
OBS/OES District 7

*We've never used RACES, as the hams
have never been put off the air since WWII.
They used RACES forerunner WERS. There
is some thought to activating RACES for
a drill here, but so far it has not been done.
All of us are registered in RACES and the
ECs are dual hatted as Radio Officers
should the war get really bad and hams have
to be put off of the air.

**In a long term deployment for a major
disaster, the NCArNG has activated a mess
section to take care of this sorta thing.
Short term,the same girls that work full
time for EM do it, just like they do everyday.


 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KD7EZE on November 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Another interesting article, with a little misunderstanding from some. I guess it all depends on what area you live in, and the way things are set up in your area. In my area, ARES doesn't get involved in first response of disasters per se, but are utilized for maintaining communications between hospitals, etc. as the need arises. ARES and RACES are two totally different organizations for a reason. Anyone with a ham license can be a part of ARES, and it is a good choice. Those wishing to be a part of a RACES team have to meet specific criteria, i.e. provide proof of specialized training, etc., be a licensed amateur operator, and ultimately, be appointed by either myself or the Emergency Management Coordinator. By the way, I'm the communications officer of our Emergency Management office, and the local RACES coordinator. In the event of a disaster, our Emergency Management department is THE Incident Command, and the police, sheriff, fire, medical, etc., are coordinated by us. RACES teams are deployed by our department, as the need arises, for professional communications assistance, and other specialized duties. Being a licensed ham, and an ARRL appointed District Emergency Coordinator for 8 counties, only furthers my qualifications for my job within Emergency Management and RACES, not to mention it being a fun hobby. My being a certified firefighter/ first responder, and being certified in HazMat Ops, is another added bonus to my position. My knowledge in Emergency Management, comes from courses offered on the FEMA website, as well as on-the-job training. One poster stated that while "on duty", ham radio couldn't be used. This is purely false, at least around here, as it's an added bonus. Our EOC has a fully operational ham station, as well as radios for all served agencies. We also have two mobile command units, setup in a similar fashion, including wireless internet. I have designed, built, and maintain several commercial repeater systems, including two mobile repeaters, and two mobile cross-band repeaters. All of our repeaters operate "full time" on emergency power, i.e. no dependancy on "the grid". I drive one of our mobile command centers fulltime, as I'm "on call" 24 hours a day. Yes, I have a badge, and am authorized to utilize frequencies assigned to all served agencies. My vehicle is equipped with more than a dozen radios and antennas, no less than 20 high visibility strobe lights, as well as a traffic director system, and a full featured 200 watt siren. No, this doesn't make me "holier than thou", but allows me to perform my duties to the best of my ability. As for training, I'm constantly taking refresher courses and furthering my education in all aspects of the field. I don't know it all, and never will, but I can stay up to date on the latest information, as it becomes available. I encourage all those involved to do the same. The world is ever changing, and we must stay abreast of these changes, to better deal with whatever situation arises.

Again, a good topic to make everyone aware of what's out there, and what's available for those seeking to help in time of need.

'73 de KD7EZE/5
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by NA4IT on November 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
When you look at what CERT expects to do, you find out real quick that the elderly or disabled are not invited to volunteer. I guess that cuts out those who could have responded any time of the day or night, because they are usually not employeed.

Also, most people I have talked to that are involved in CERT have borne ALL the expense to form the group and do the training. Now I know amateur radio never charges for anything we do, but I feel if the served agency inputs no funds, then they don't really appreciate what the group can do.

There are better ways to do emergency communications backup.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KD7EZE,

Check out Part 97.113 (a) (2) and
(3) and you'll see why you can't use
ham radio to perform your duty.
We had a ham that worked for NCDEM
(now with the NC Dept of Labor) who
would not even go near the ham radio
room at the EOC when ON duty for fear
someone would
think that he had something to do
with the operations. However, OFF
duty, he would operate as a volunteer.

One reason that the FCC stopped issuing
RACES licenses is that the CD folks where
using them like that Part 90 radios.
That is why persons with a RTP or
Commercial ticket can no longer
operate on RACES.

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
BTW, I hope that you are the Trustee
for the club at the EOC, so you're
not endangering anyone else's ticket.

73 de Ronnie
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KD6YTS on November 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
First off..I have to disagree with your assessment that the elderly and disabled are "not invited to volunteer". As a CERT trainer in S. Florida, my partner and I have trained about 500 people to be CERT volunteers. The age range of people that we have trained have been from age 12 to age 90.

Thats right, we have trained everyone from explorers to the elderly. We go to various communities and provide on site training to the older Americans. And guess what...many of these people are ready, willing, and able. Some are even HAM operators. One of the most important aspects of CERT is:

Your Safety is #1, and to know your own physical limitations.

There is a job for everyone in CERT. Just because you can not carry people, does not mean that you can't work in a medical treatment or triage area, or even be a scribe.

The people we train are in large part retired. They are retired police officers, firefighters, teachers, lawyers, engineers, pharmacists, salesman, etc.

But they have something in common....they have a willingness to serve their communities.

As far as training, we offer ongoing training and drills as well as advanced training. Things have changed since 9/11, and if you were comfortable feeling that you were "trained" while sitting in your chair with a mic and a key.....well guess again.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KA6GJN on November 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Holy J-pole, Batman! Do we ever have some misunderstandings out there re: ARES/RACES and CERT.
CERT is most certainly not replacing ARES or RACES. CERT is a group of volunteers that can be well served by hams, particularly ARES and RACES volunteers.

ARES and RACES can, should and will continue to provide emergency communications assistance just as they have for years, except, as in all things, we get better at it with time and technology. CERT is merely another group, with communications needs, that ARES and RACES can support. Having ARES and RACES members who are also CERT trained is a great advantage to both CERT and ARES/RACES. But there will always be many ARES/RACES members who are not CERT's, and CERT's who are not hams, let alone ARES/RACES members.

CERT certainly does teach skills that a person with physical limitations might not be able to perform. But that hardly prevents somebody from doing something that they are able to do. And there are tasks within CERT that many handicapped people could do. Nothing new here.

CERT certainly doesn't turn a person into a fire fighter, a peace officer or a paramedic. And the teachers make it crystal clear that this is the case. It does teach you how to take care of yourself, and maybe help your neighbor without getting killed yourself, <<when emergency services are not immediately available>>. You could say that CERT is to emergency services training as basic first aid is to the field of medicine. It is <<NOT>> intended as a substitute for regular emergency services. If you can't imagine such a situation occuring in today's world, then you've never lived in a remote area or in a big city.

CERT <<does>> function within the ICS framework. As with all ICS incidents, the CERT IC relinquishes command to the proper higher authority as soon as he/she (the higher authority) arrives on-scene. The CERT teams in that area then answer to whomever is the new IC. The fire services go through this exercise of transferring command dozens of times per day in a medium - sized department. It isn't rocket science. It does work.

Similarly, the local amateur organization structure, whether it's ARES or RACES, pretty much goes away when you're deployed. At that point, the ICS structure takes over. You answer to the IC, or Logistics Chief, or whomever -- not your county/region EC.

CERT volunteers in the past usually had to buy their own equipment and supplies, and no doubt will have to again, some time in the future. Right now, though, there are funds available from Homeland Security to pay for training, and sometimes equipment, at no cost to the participants. Nothing new there. When I was a reserve deputy, I had to provide my own equipment, even though in the remote area of Northern California where I lived at the time, the reserves were critical to maintaining law and order. Otherwise, the nearest backup unit could be as much as 100 miles away. The department cared about us a bunch. But we still had to buy our own equipment.

ARES <<AND>> RACES are alive and well, and continue to this day of amazing communications systems, to provide a valuable communications service in emergency situations. They just did it in Florida, they do it in California fires and earthquakes. An unavoidable side effect of today's razzle-dazzle communications systems in use by emergency agencies is that the higher - tech they are, (A.) the more people come to rely on them, and (B.) the more susceptible they are to breakdown or sabotage. ARES, RACES and hams in general are far from becoming obsolete.

As with any emergency, mistakes are made regarding the allocation of resources. That's one of the main reasons we <<ALL>> need to practice -- including the paper pushers. Yup, it's frustrating as heck. But that's where the cup of coffee <<does>>come in. You sit back, sip a cup o' Joe, regain your perspective, then set about fixing the situation. I've never been to a perfect emergency, and I don't expect ever to be. Panic rush orders for assets are the rule, not the exception. And that's why we work so hard to train the "overhead." That's why experience counts so heavily in qualifying for higher - level supervisory and management positions in emergency organizations.

Training IS vital. If all you want to do is to handle H&W messages for your neighborhood, then go to it. But even doing that means that you need to practice your message - handling skills. If you are going to be useful to the local emergency services, though, you MUST obtain additional and periodic training. As I said in my earlier post, if you can't function competently within the ICS framework, then you will quickly become part of the problem. But the training provides another valuable function -- it trains the emergency service agencies how to work with you. And that, too, is priceless.

And finally, there's nothing wrong or inadequate with either RACES or ARES, apart or together. Which of the two organizations is dominant, or codominant, or whatever, is meaningless, as long as the job gets done. Each has its strenghths and weaknesses. I belong to the ARES organization in the county where I live, and the RACES organization in an adjacent county where I work. If there is animosity between the two organizations where you are, please, be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. I don't know if merging the two organizations would be a good thing or not. But if it would eliminate the bickering and confusion that arises between them in some areas, then combining them would be worth it.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by AE6IP on November 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> There are better ways to do emergency communications
> backup.

Maybe. But then, that's not what CERT's about.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by AE6IP on November 26, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> CERT is most certainly not replacing ARES or RACES.
> CERT is a group of volunteers that can be well
> served by hams, particularly ARES and RACES
> volunteers.

In many areas CERT is reducing the opportunity for hams to participate as 'communicators'. That's because CERT people do just fine with FRS/GMRS for the communications tasks they have to perform.

Also, ARES/RACES volunteers are, as such, of no value to CERT, because they're not trained in CERT-style communication.

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KA6GJN on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Questions for AE6IP:
The problems, or at least potential problems with FRS/GMRS in a disaster have been discussed on other threads. My experience a few years ago at Disneyland, and a really big youth event tends to bear this out, at least in a metropolitan area. But my question has to do with how CERT would reduce ARES/RACES opportunities. It would seem to me that at the most, the only impact of CERT volunteers using FRS/GMRS would be not to increase the workload on ARES/RACES, which would be fine with me as an ARES/RACES volunteer. I may be unique, but I'm really into boredom at disasters; it means things are going well.

Second, could you explain the matter of "CERT style communications?" Aside from the usual mistakes made by untrained people who do things like giving the calling station first, and starting to talk before keying the mic, CERT communications in this area are no different than any others. Actually, the communicator should be invisible to the message. Is it different in your area?
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by IX4NT on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Regarding CERT volunteers and professional first responders...

Many instances in which CERT volunteers might show up must be treated as crime scenes until cleared by law enforcement. The problem with 'volunteers' is that they unwittinglly contaminate and change the crime scene. Protection, identification and preservation of evidence is of paramount importance until the scene is determined not involve a crime, including domestic or foreign terrorism.

Anyone entering or leaving the scene brings contaminants into it or brings evidence out with them. Further, their volunteer efforts easily can mess up a criminal prosecution. CERT volunteers are working on behalf of a city, county or state and, as representatives of the 'state', their actions have constitutional implications.

CERT volunteers are not law enforcement officers. Thus, it can be expected that law enforcement will and should restrict CERT access to the scene until law enforcement is satisfied that evidence gathering is not compromised.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KC8WSZ on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
From the CERT training I had, it is not Em Comm. Em Comm is still left to the ARES/RACES teams and the paid professionals.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KD6YTS on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
CERT members are trained in a Terrorism module and are instructed that any act of terrorism is a crime scene. However, there are many crime scenes that are dealt with by professionals. Arson is a typical example. However, the saving of life and property comes above preservation of a crime scene.

CERT does integrate into the ICS, and CERT members are taught about the ICS hierarchy. As far as radio communications, there are several CERT training programs that incorporate an amateur radio module into the class, and many of the CERT members walk away with a no-code tech ticket. Many CERT teams have hams on them that can communicate to the outside, as we know about the distance limitations on FRS/GMRS. The problem that plagues many of these teams and newcomers to radio, is the constant confusion and bickering around ARES/RACES. The 2 groups should be merged once and for all, or one of the groups dissolved. Just like any other "institution", it is a redundancy of service.
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA7H on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I couldn’t help but add my two cents on CERT. CERT is one of the programs incorporated into the Citizens Corps which is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The ARRL is an affiliate organization/program of Citizens Corps. I’ve felt and suggested many times that ham radio and CERT could be a great partnership and it seems that in some areas that is happening. Not only could ham radio support CERT but think of all the potential new hams we could recruit. Many states and counties have RACES and ARES as well as MARS in their EOPs. I've also known a lot of proffessionals in EM, police, EMS, and fire who were hams and didn't seem to have a problem between their paid profession and the use of ham radio at the proper time and situation (this includes myself). Having worked at the county, state and Federal level of emergency management I’ve seen ham radio do great things and praised highly by state, local and Federal officials and conversely cussed and discussed by professionals for being arrogant, untrained, useless and even worse during emergencies and exercises. Every time I’ve heard or seen the worst side it’s because of two factors; 1. not trained to work with-in the command system of the organization they are trying to support, 2. the attitude that we’re here to talk on the radio and nothing else and we do it our way with our forms and formats not yours. Those two problems are still raising their ugly head and need to be solved. I knew a doctor who was a member of the National Disaster Mortuary Team and his observation was that regardless of your training, education or pay scale that during a disaster emptying the garbage or sweeping the floor always needs to be done and if it contributes to the operation and lowers the stress level of the team then it's an important part of the response. To be able to support an organization adequately you need to be able to “speak their language,” understand their operation and procedures, and fit-in as seamlessly as possible BEFORE the emergency or disaster. Training with the supported organization is the key! Here’s a list of organizations that are affiliated with Citizens Corps, some are already supported by ham radio and others probably could be. Please note the second organization listed.

Citizen Corps Affiliate Programs and Organizations offer communities resources for public education, outreach, and training; represent volunteers interested in helping to make their community safer; or offer volunteer service opportunities to support first responders, disaster relief activities, and community safety efforts.
» American Red Cross
» American Radio Relay League
» American Safety & Health Institute
» Civil Air Patrol
» Department of Education
» E9-1-1 Institute
» Environmental Protection Agency
» Home Safety Council
» Mercy Medical Airlift
» National Association for Search and Rescue
» National Crime Prevention Council
» National Fire Protection Association
» National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
» National Safety Council
» National Volunteer Fire Council
» National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
» Operation HOPE, Inc.
» Points of Light Foundation and the Volunteer Center National Network
» Save A Life Foundation
» United States Junior Chamber
» Veterans of Foreign Wars

All this and more can be found at http://www.citizencorps.gov/
73,
Steve, wa7h
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
KD6YTS raises an interesting point.

How many Sections are like the NC
Section that has ARES* and RACES
as the same organization? That is
have an agreement with the EM, CD,
CP, or whatever your emergency folks
are called that the SEC/DEC/EC is the
RACES Radio Officer the same person.
(There are a couple of exceptions,
where the EC is a Tech and a General
Class AEC is the Radio Officer because
a Tech can't by regulation be a Radio
Officer.) All ARES* members are registered
with their local authorities and with the
State DEM. Although, as I stated in
earlier posts, we don't do RACES as
the President has not put hams off the
air. However, we are ready for a seamless
transfer.

BTW, a local TV station did a piece on CERT
training in Raleigh and hams got a good "plug".

HAPPY HOLIDAZE!

73 de Ronnie

* ARES is a registered Service Mark
of the American Radio Relay League, Inc
and is used with permission.

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by IX4NT on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The issue of CERT volunteers being herded behind barricades by LEOs really should not occur. CERT volunteers should be called upon (dispatched) by civil authorities when CERT is needed. So, in almost all cases, they really should not be on-scene until they've been requested and law enforcement has cleared the area. I suspect that, if this problem occurred, it occurred because CERT volunteers monitored public safety radio and showed up without being dispatched.

On to ARES vs RACES. First, RACES for about 50 years is the official RF communications arm of state, county and local Emergency Management offices and is part of FEMA. OEM RACES volunteers are members of their local, county or state OEM offices and, during declared emergencies, should be permitted to travel freely to get to their duty assignments by showing their FEMA ID card. An ARRL ARES card won't count for much during a code RED or even a local disaster emergency. (Our state patrol has quick-reference cards with facsimiles of the various IDs whose holders can travel during emergency conditions: OEM, Police, Fire, EMS, utilities, government officials and employees)

Second, ARES is part of a lobbying organization that sends unfriendly messages to the federal government that owns FEMA and RACES. The executive branch need only look to this board and the ARRL board for evidence of hostility. While there may be more opportunities for hams to involve themselves in non-government sponsored events through ARES, there's no reason why any ham couldn't be a member of BOTH.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
We don't even have ID cards, except for the
folks that are regularly assigned to work
in EOCs.

When a ham(s)has to be dispatched to an area
that has restricted access, the EM agency notifys
the agency restricting access of the name
and Drivers License number of the person(s)
being sent. Of course, a lotta times during
floods or hurricanes we are heloed in by the
USCG or NCArNG, so it is not a problem.
Many, many moons ago when there was big tornado,
we sent a ham to ground zero. This was before
the present system was in use. The NCSHP
trooper was not gonna let him in, so being
resourceful, he pulled out his VOA ID and the
trooper said oh, a fed, go ahead. :-)

When I was in RACES in Portsmouth VA in the
late 1960s and early 1970s. We had an ID
card (after a background check), a CD armband
and a yellow hard hat with CD triangle on it.
Of course, often our mission was to block off
flooded areas near the Elizabeth River to
free up the PPD. My AO encompassed an
area near the comm center, for those familiar with
the area it ran from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard
up to just above the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, so never was checked because, I was
the roadblock. The card did get us into the
comm center though.

Happy Holidzae!

73 de Ronnie


 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KD6YTS on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
CERT teams may self-activate after a major disaster. This was the case in the aftermath of the Florida hurricanes this year. In some cases it took quite some time to resume phone service and for LEO to arrive. In Palm Beach County, one of our CERT teams was credited with saving a life after a hurricane.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by AE6IP on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> From the CERT training I had, it is not Em Comm. Em
> Comm is still left to the ARES/RACES teams and the
> paid professionals.

The problem here is one of semantics. To an ARES/RACES volunteer, "EMCOMM" merely means accurately passing traffic they've been given. To everyone else involved in emergency services, including CERT volunteers, "EMCOMM" means communicating about an emergency.

This includes who to communicate to, what to communicate it to them, and how to communicate it. All of these things are trained in CERT.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by AE6IP on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> But my question has to do with how CERT would reduce
> ARES/RACES opportunities.

In several ways. CERT field teams using FRS don't need shadows, for example, as they communicate with their local command center directly on FRS. The local communication officer need not be a ham, as they can talk to the EOC using GMRS, if so equiped. This, obviously isn't always the case, but as more CERT teams become so equiped, there is less need for hams.

> Second, could you explain the matter of "CERT style
> communications?" Aside from the usual mistakes made
> by untrained people who do things like giving the
> calling station first, and starting to talk before
> keying the mic, CERT communications in this area are
> no different than any others. Actually, the
> communicator should be invisible to the message. Is
> it different in your area?

Hams active in ARES/RACES are taught ham communication protocols for transmitting messages accurately in a net. This education is all process and entirely devoid of training as to what the content should be. ARES training, in fact, specifically forbids hams from questioning or altering the content of a message they transmit.

CERT team members, on the other hand, are originators of messages, and are trained on what the content of messages should be. Not just what to say, but what specific terms to use so that it is clearly conveyed.

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by N6OFY on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
In SF, CA; We have CERT, (though here it is called NERT) The NERT teams are encourged to get their Ham radio licence, and many do.
Nert comms go to the local fire batt. station, than message traffic is relayed by SF ACS members back to the EOC message center. ACS (RACES) handles a lot of message traffic from the NERT teams, hospitals, public works, ect. ARES in turn, handles the ARC, SA shelters, ect. with message traffic going through ACS to the EOC.

The reason for this is that ARES can except mutual aid from outside the city with no real problem, to help out with the links with the ARC, ect. and the HW traffic from the shelters. Whereas because of security concerns, ACS members must have police clearance from the SFPD.

In general, both ACS and ARES are needed in SF, and work well together.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by AE6IP on November 27, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> CERT volunteers should be called upon (dispatched)
> by civil authorities when CERT is needed.

CERT can self deploy; but it is only to do so in a widespread disaster in which local professional services are overwhelmed and mutual aid is unavailable. (Think big earthquake...)

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by K1CJS on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"I am curious about one item. It is acknowledged that because of the wording of FCC Part 97 (and its Congressionaly recognized authority) that at least at times of a declared war, the "War Powers Act" would take effect, and thereby the only Ham's that could get on the radio, would be RACES members."

I believe that part of the regulations have been amended so hams do not have to stop transmitting unless a specific directive came down from the FCC to do so.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by K1CJS on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"Biggest problem I with with CERT is that amateurs have been doing emergency communications for years and years. Now, all of the sudden, those years of experience mean nothing. Everybody has to be "retrained"."

OK, that seems like a valid point, and I'm not looking to start a flamefest, but lets look at this issue from another viewpoint:

Lets say you've done training in emergency communications and have the procedures down pat. You're called to a situation to help out with communications and suddenly find that procedures and parameters are not what you expect. You WERE trained, right? Sure, BUT NOT IN THE CURRENT PROCEDURES NOW IN PLACE!

Don't take it like you have to be retrained from scratch, but just brought up to speed with CURRENT procedures. And, yes, I know that some of the instructors start from square one, but there may be others in the training class that may not know ANYTHING about procedures that you may have already instructed in.

Training is a big part of a budget, and most agencies have to combine training to make the most of both the training and the budget.

You really have to take both sides of the issue into consideration before you complain about it, and once you do, the 'training issues' may prove to be just as justifiable as your complaints!

Peace, and 73!
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, it is the President that
decides and the FCC enforces the
order. The last time it happened,
in begining of US involvement in WWII,
the President order it and the FCC
made sure that it was followed. W1AW
was allowed to remain on the air for
a short while to pass the word on
to all the hams and monitor the bands
to tell the 10% that don't get the
word that ham operations were suspended.
After this was done, W1AW went silent for
the duration.

I would think since this worked well then,
if it came to putting hams off the air,
a similar procedure would be followed.

WERS was the then RACES and operated on the
5 Meter band.

Happy Holidaze!

73 de Ronnie

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, it is the President that
decides and the FCC enforces the
order. The last time it happened,
in begining of US involvement in WWII,
the President order it and the FCC
made sure that it was followed. W1AW
was allowed to remain on the air for
a short while to pass the word on
to all the hams and monitor the bands
to tell the 10% that don't get the
word that ham operations were suspended.
After this was done, W1AW went silent for
the duration.

I would think since this worked well then,
if it came to putting hams off the air,
a similar procedure would be followed.

WERS was the then RACES and operated on the
5 Meter band.

Happy Holidaze!

73 de Ronnie

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by WA4MJF on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
K1CJS,

I don't see a difference, you get
a message and put in the proper
Radiogram format and send it.
The text (from BT to BT) is
never chnaged by the ham operator.

We deal with this all the the time.
NCDEM has it's format, ARC has it's
format, etc.

I see the double post bug got me
again, help Mike.

Happy Holidaze!

73 de Ronnie

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by K1CJS on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Ronnie,

In that part, you are right. But we are called on to do many other things than just pass radiograms, sometimes we are asked to step in as emergency dispatchers on the agency frequencies or to do other things, and that requires up-to-the-minute training.

Passing those radiograms is no big deal, and yes, we've all been trained to do it (I hope!) but you've just got to look at the possibilities--and that's where you need the training!

73, Chris
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by K1CJS on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
By the way, I speak from a little experience, I hold the ARES EC assignment for my city (Fall River, MA) and the RACES RO assignment for the EMA in the city, as well as being an EMA member and communications officer.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KA6GJN on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I'm very pleased with this thread -- No personal flaming, no noses out of joint. It's very pleasant, and educational besides.

First, to AE6IP: Ah. We're actually on the same page, just different numbering systems, so to speak. I see CERTs as one more entity out there with communications needs. If they can take care of it themselves, Hooah! Net effect on ARES/RACES or anybody else= zero. Cool.

If they need communications support, then we want to be able to support them. That's extra work for us, and we're doing what we can to fulfill that role. In a major disaster, amateur assets have been/are/will be stretched thin, and that's not likely to change.

I haven't really considered CERT teams as groups that would be assigned a traditional shadow, but of course one could be assigned. It would be much better if a CERT - trained ham could be assigned to such a team, either just as a comms asset, or as a functional member who can also communicate with "higher," whomever that is. If s/he's not CERT - trained, then he should pass the messages "invisibly." If he is trained, then he can certainly use his knowledge, being mindful that he is not in charge. Unless, I suppose, he actually is in charge . . . Therefore, I don't see CERT as decreasing the role of ARES/RACES. It just may not increase it.

And that leads to the second item. ARES/RACES operations normally involve much more than formal message passing. Just as in SKYWARN, the ARES/RACES member may be the one doing the observing and reporting. In fact, the bulk of ARES/RACES activity I've been involved in, or observed, involved mostly informal exchange of information. This, of course, increases the importance of training and experience on the part of the ham.

BTW Re: message formats, I have in front of me an ARRL "Radiogram," an ARES message form that is used locally, and U.S. Army Message Book, DA Form 4004. There are small differences, but the primary elements are the same. Message format specifics would not be a barrier to getting the message through.

Understanding the "lingo" of the served agency, service or discipline, however, is of great value to every step in the message - handling chain. Once again, read: Training & experience -- training & experience, etc. etc.
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by NN7B on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Let me first say that I appreciate the discussion on this subject in there have been excellent points made and plenty of good information exchanged from several parts of the country. Even so, the exchange has been relatively void of negativity and personal attacks which I appreciate.

Now, for my entry. We began training CERT volunteers in my part of the country (Reno, Nevada) last year. We also have a Citizens Homeland Security Council that are both sponsored by the county sheriff department. I have participated in both training efforts and communications has been a subject that has yet to be addressed at any length. Fortunately, we have a surplus of country radio equipment that has been earmarked for CHSC and CERT use on anyone of five VHF public service frequencies.

Our CERT communications utilized FRS radio for team comms and to link teams together. However, we are not a small town that can make FRS work from one end to the other. So, we have incorporated several 'link' stations between local hams who function as liaison station for teams that cannot communicate with their CP or the county EOC directly. Our CERT members have not been formally organized in to 'teams' as of yet but, several hams in the area are CERT volunteers and that advantage will certainly be utilized. For now, we are working our plan as 'theoretical' and it all looks good on paper. We have yet to put it into practice but, next summer will be the test as we have a city wide emergency exercise and CERT, CHSC and the local ARES/RACES members are part of the exercise plan and we will have a great opportunity to put our plans to the test.

Rather than find all the fences that we have between groups and CERT, I feel it is of best benefit to the community to look for ways to compliment the overall operation. As Stan Harter said, "find a need and fill it" and in most operations, there is always a need for communications.

Hams certainly have a lot of training opportunities. Moving messages for an emergency is one thing. Handling what is needed on a 'tactical' net is quite different than making up a NTS message form or working H&W traffic. EmComm really isn't your father's ARES and unless we are willing to meet the needs of todays emergencies, we become more of a problem than an asset.
Our motto should be 'Semper Gumby' or loosely, 'always flexible'. Most EM's recognize the valuable resource we are as hams. Let's be willing to find a solution to a problem. Don't get bogged down with the mindset of only doing things the way you were trained and everything else is wrong.

CERT is valuable training even if you don't choose to be part of the team. Get the training. Put it into practice for yourself and your family.

Thanks for an excellent exchange of ideas.

73, Paul Cavnar - NN7B
Washoe Co., NV. RACES Officer
Nevada Section OES
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by NN7B on November 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Let me first say that I appreciate the discussion on this subject in there have been excellent points made and plenty of good information exchanged from several parts of the country. Even so, the exchange has been relatively void of negativity and personal attacks which I appreciate.

Now, for my entry. We began training CERT volunteers in my part of the country (Reno, Nevada) last year. We also have a Citizens Homeland Security Council that are both sponsored by the county sheriff department. I have participated in both training efforts and communications has been a subject that has yet to be addressed at any length. Fortunately, we have a surplus of country radio equipment that has been earmarked for CHSC and CERT use on anyone of five VHF public service frequencies.

Our CERT communications utilized FRS radio for team comms and to link teams together. However, we are not a small town that can make FRS work from one end to the other. So, we have incorporated several 'link' stations between local hams who function as liaison station for teams that cannot communicate with their CP or the county EOC directly. Our CERT members have not been formally organized in to 'teams' as of yet but, several hams in the area are CERT volunteers and that advantage will certainly be utilized. For now, we are working our plan as 'theoretical' and it all looks good on paper. We have yet to put it into practice but, next summer will be the test as we have a city wide emergency exercise and CERT, CHSC and the local ARES/RACES members are part of the exercise plan and we will have a great opportunity to put our plans to the test.

Rather than find all the fences that we have between groups and CERT, I feel it is of best benefit to the community to look for ways to compliment the overall operation. As Stan Harter said, "find a need and fill it" and in most operations, there is always a need for communications.

Hams certainly have a lot of training opportunities. Moving messages for an emergency is one thing. Handling what is needed on a 'tactical' net is quite different than making up a NTS message form or working H&W traffic. EmComm really isn't your father's ARES and unless we are willing to meet the needs of todays emergencies, we become more of a problem than an asset.

Our motto should be 'Semper Gumby' or loosely, 'always flexible'. Most EM's recognize the valuable resource we are as hams. Let's be willing to find a solution to a problem. Don't get bogged down with the mindset of only doing things the way you were trained and everything else is wrong.

CERT is valuable training even if you don't choose to be part of the team. Get the training. Put it into practice for yourself and your family.

Thanks for an excellent exchange of ideas.

73, Paul Cavnar - NN7B
Washoe Co., NV. RACES Officer
Nevada Section OES
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by W9WHE-II on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The problem with CERT training is that it does not include ACLS, ATLS, PALS, BTLS, or ERT training. So, just because ARES/RACES/EMCOMM types have CERT training does not make you scene-qualified for WADS, or for that matter, even NADS with an acuity of level II or higher. Moreover, most VFDs/VFPDs don't keep their training dossiers adequate for high level interface with PFDs or PPDs. All of this causes professional interruptus with respect to the important rendition of necessary services in WADs and NARs.

A bigger problem is the glare from the rotating blue dash light reflecting off the freshly polished badge.

 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by K1CJS on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
W9WHE-II:

An even more obvious problem (well, not really a 'problem', just an annoyance) is the people who are working with these things day in and day out throwing out a lot of alphabet soup and thinking everyone else will know what they're talking about.

Sorry, OM, but you really should explain yourself better. I picked up on most of what you were saying, but I bet there are people out there that are still scratching their heads about your statement.

73.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by W9WHE-II on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, I think they hide behind the "alplabet soup" hoping that people think that they are somehow impotant AND have something important to say.

After all, REAL PROFESSIONALS speak english.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KD6YTS on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, during a disaster, ALL asgenies speak english, in common terminology- no codes. This is taught to CERT as well, as different agencies normally use different codes, but when they work together, it is common terminology.
 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by AE6IP on November 29, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> The problem with CERT training is that it does not
> include ACLS, ATLS, PALS, BTLS, or ERT training.

That would only be a problem if CERT was intended as a replacement for, rather than an addition to, people with such training.

> A bigger problem is the glare from the rotating blue
> dash light reflecting off the freshly polished
> badge.

CERT doesn't come with blue lights or badges.

One of the things CERT training does include is an understanding of the limits of the skills provided by CERT training.


 
RE: CERT, Ham and ARES  
by K2GW on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
In Southern NJ Section, the hams doing ARES and RACES are usually the same folks with most County Radio Officers (appointed by the County OEM) also being the ARES EC (appointed by the ARRL SM & SEC).

As the CERT Teams are being trained a number of hams have participated. Also, although the CERT sylabus doesn't specifically mention radio in it, we encourage the County Radio Officer to visit the CERT team in training and explain how emergency communications in the county operate.

For most CERT teams, we recommend that they use FRS radios for communications within the team (cheap ubiquitous and no license) but have one or two of their team members obtain a tech license and HT so that the team can stay in contact with the County EOC on the two meter repeater frequency used in that county. Each team should also have a cellphone as well in case the cell phone system stays operational.

When a team is deployed that doesn't have a ham in it, we've been asked by the county coordinator to assign one to accompany it!

Finally, some folks talking about only professionals getting involved obiviously don't understand the origins of CERT. It developed when the professionals in California wisely recognized that there might be situations when there aren't anywhere nearly enough professionals to go around, such as a major earthquake. Thus the professionals determined that small teams of trained volunteers could fill in for the professionals in some of the lesser tasks during those emergencies.

BTW, Amateur Radio whether ARES or RACES, fullfills the same role. If an emergency's communications can be handled using a public safety agencies two or three normal day-to-day frequencies, fine! We'll stay home and watch it on TV with everyone else.

But most well-run agencies understand that they need a back-up plan in case those two channels fail or get overloaded or they need to communicate with disparate agencies. That's when Amateur Radio with it's equivalent of hundreds of channels comes into play.

So wise professionals know and plan how to use trained volunteers to supplement them when needed, whether for light rescue (CERT) or for communications (ARES/RACES).

73

Gary Wilson, K2GW
SNJ SEC






 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by W9WHE-II on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!

"CERT doesn't come with blue lights or badges".

Mabey not, but too many of the CERT trainees do!



 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by W9WHE-II on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"So wise professionals know and plan how to use trained volunteers to supplement them when needed, whether for light rescue (CERT) or for communications (ARES/RACES)"


I'm allways amazed at how people with no or limited professional training and expericence (or license) tell the professionals with extensive training and expirence (and license) how to do the job they are trained, certified and licensed to do. Armchair quarterbacks (armed with with badges, blue dash lights and orange vests) allways know best.


W9WHE
(And for those that love to spout credentials: B.A., J.D., M.I.C.T., licensed paramedic (3 states) A.C.L.S. instructor, P.A.L.S. & T.L.S.)

 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by AE6IP on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> "CERT doesn't come with blue lights or badges".

> Mabey not, but too many of the CERT trainees do!

You've got CERT confused with something else. I've yet to encounter the blue light and badge brigade in a CERT group.
 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by KD6YTS on November 30, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Same here, haven't seen any blue lights, badges, etc. In the state of Florida, you can only have a blue light on your vehicle if you are a sworn police officer. (even people with blue lights as decorations on the hood are pulled over). Red lights are permitted if the local Fire Chief or EC signs a letter and submits it to the DMV. Amber is permissible for CERT should they wish to be marked if they are in a hazardous place.
 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by KA6GJN on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
In fact, CERT was designed and presented by the professionals. The philosophy was and is, "In a major emergency, we need your help. Here's what you can do to help us, and how to do it safely." My class was taught by the local Regional Fire Academy staff, with "Professional" written all over their "experienced" turnouts.

Among the class members were a couple R.N.'s, one hospital administrator, and a couple members of county agencies that are impacted by major emergencies. The closest thing we had to a "wannabe" was a young man who was pursuing a career in the fire service, already a volunteer fire fighter, and saw CERT as good training as he prepared for the academy. Such a problem.

BTW, the lead instructor was dispatched to the area affected by the Loma Prieta earthquake. He was the first emergency service asset to enter some areas in the Salinas, CA area -- three days after the big one.
 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by W9WHE-II on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"BTW, the lead instructor was dispatched to the area affected by the Loma Prieta earthquake. He was the first emergency service asset to enter some areas in the Salinas, CA area -- three days after the big one"

This sounds like my 6 year old....
"my dad is bigger then your dad"
 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by KA6GJN on December 1, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I was there, too. It was a 6.2 earthquake. I forget how many people it killed, but it was too many. It pancaked an elevated freeway structure in San Francisco, collapsed a section of roadway on the Bay Bridge, stopped a World Series game, destroyed much of downtown Watsonville. I spent two weeks living on a baseball field, with my National Guard unit, setting up and maintaining two tent cities for those left homeless. Entire blocks of houses were destroyed. Yeah, it was a big one.

CERT teams weren't around then, but they would have made a huge difference, undoubtedly saving lives, and expediting the delivery of emergency services when the "professionals" did arrive. But Hams were there, and handled tons of traffic, both official and H&W.
 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by KT0DD on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
From what I understand, if amateursare going to participate in disasters in this day and age, they'd better have CERT or other "Official" training to offer the local EC, or you might as well stay home and watch everything on TV. Emergency services want more training than just radio ops today, even if all you end up doing is traffic / radio operations during the emergency. CERT type training ensures that everyone is on the same page, and let's the EC know that you know how to do something and you can be trusted to follow orders.

Sadly, there is a narrow minded old school attitude in my local club, that we are "Just Communicators" and nothing else. Some club members wonder why we never get asked to participate in emergency exercises by our county EC, and yet are unwilling to commit to any advanced training to enable them to do so. Last night, people raised the idea at our club meeting that maybe the club should sever ties with the county EC, and just go be a social club, because we are never considered by our local EC for anything. When it comes time for us to put up or shut up, I guess we'll just shut up. 73




 
RE: CERT, Hams and ARES  
by KA6GJN on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
CERT was never intended as a means of training Hams to provide communications service in emergencies. That, more than ever, is the role of ARES/RACES. While I, for one, have never learned a skill I wished I hadn't learned, CERT trained me to be a CERT. If you're a Ham with CERT training, then you are better equipped to assist in CERT operations, as a Ham, if that's the role you find yourself in, as a Ham. And that's the point of all this. It enhances ARES/RACES organizations, but it doesn't replace or substitute for them.

When I was first introduced to emergency management, as a fire fighter with the U.S. Forest Service, in the 60's, we had the Large Fire Organization (LFO). I was stunned at the speed and efficiency with which they pulled together all the resources necessary to fight fires, bringing in other departments and agencies, who seemed to know exactly where to go and what to do. They had pre-arranged with all these resources so that they could do their assigned tasks, to particular standards, with nothing more than a phone call. That was as true of local restaurants, who were contracted to provide sack lunches (Two pieces of fruit each, no mayo), as much as neighboring fire agencies. I also observed organizations not associated with the fire service attempt to respond to emergencies too big for them to handle by themselves. This caused me to appreciate even more the LFO.

It all came down to the "Five P's:" Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

ICS is a somewhat modified, and greatly expanded outgrowth of LFO. This same Prior Planning, and Practice (A sixth P, I guess) now applies throughout nearly all emergency responses. And in the incidents where ICS is not followed, and there are still a few, the results are often, um, instructive, if you get my drift.

Prior Planning and training are more important than ever, whether you're a Gypo logger with a D-6, Alice's Restaurant, or a Ham. If all you're going to do is sit at home and handle H&W traffic on the nets, then all you have to do is practice message - handling. And that's fine. Just be sure you practice. But if you are going to be assisting the responding agencies, interacting with them in any way, then you absolutely must know how to go about doing it. Otherwise, you cannot be anything but a "Volliewhacker." (Great term!) ARES and RACES have the ability to make that happen much more than local clubs. And that's why ARES and RACES are so important. And so are training and practice.
 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by K2GW on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
>>I'm allways amazed at how people with no or limited professional training and expericence (or license) tell the professionals with extensive training and expirence (and license) how to do the job they are trained, certified and licensed to do.

You missed the point. CERT was originally developed by Fire and Rescue Professionals in the LAFD who recognized that in some widespread emergencies (such as a massive earthquake) they would never ever have enough professional resources to respond to every collapsed building in Los Angeles simultaneously.

It isn't volunteers telling the professionals how to do their job; CERT is the professionals (those who are smart enough to understand that their capacity is finite) actually telling the volunteers how they can help them when the professionals get swamped.

As has been found in LA, if the volunteers are able to save one life while the professionals are fully occupied saving others or are able to free up the professionals from more mundane tasks during the emergency, than the program is worth it. That's why DHS has made it a national program.

73

Gary <K2GW

 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by AE6IP on December 2, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
To put Loma Prieta in perspective, (and yes, i was here, and no, we didn't use any hams, at least in the South bay,) more people die *every year* in Chicago, due to weather, than have died in all of the earthquakes since the big one in California.

We actually lucked out with Loma Prieta. The official death toll was approximately 65, and about 12,000 people were homeless for various periods of time.

Another statistic that you may find sobering: More people die on the highways in California _every week_ than died in the Loma Prieta quake.
 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by KT0DD on December 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
W9WHE
(And for those that love to spout credentials: B.A., J.D., M.I.C.T., licensed paramedic (3 states) A.C.L.S. instructor, P.A.L.S. & T.L.S.)

He forgot to list his most infamous credential - EGO.
 
RE: CERT, shiney badges and blue lights  
by KD7YVV on December 5, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Frankly, I think it's the wannabe cops/fire that really hurt ARES/RACES/CERT.
I've taken all three levels of the ARRL Emergency
Communications course and passed.

Now there are people here that will probobly look
down on that, sneer, and go "yeah? so? big deal."

Well, I look at it this way. I may not have all the
fancy shmancy CERT training and I may never put to
use what I've learned (I hope) but in all honesty,
if a disaster happens here in Washington, I'd rather
be one of the people that can offer a helping hand,
even if it IS just getting a cup of coffee for a
"professional". It's the little things that count.

I've worked to get my ham license, and I will work
to upgrade it.
I've been through
three levels of training which took several months.
That took time, effort, dedication, and a lot of
studying. I will expend more time, effort, dedication,
and more studying to learn even more.
I'd rather be told I'm not needed to be
quite honest. If I AM needed, then things must either
be pretty bad, or resources are stretched quite thin.
I've heard that ARES are trained as communicators and
nothing else. What a load of hooey. I know that there
are members of ARES that have first aid training,
CPR training, and yes, a few even know how to shut
off circuit breakers. (My gosh!) I may not be a
"paid professional radio operator" but I am thankful
for the knowledge I DO have. ARES here in Kirkland
is under the auspices of the Fire & Building Dept.
The town of Kirkland has ham radio stations in all
7 of its firehouses. We hold exercises regularly to
keep the skills we've learned sharp.
I do agree with the statement earlier up the thread
that says if you're not trained, stay away.
It's better to be a part of the solution than to be
a part of the problem. When I first got my amateur
license, one of the things I wanted to do was give
back to the hobby and to the community.
I'm not a know-it-all, I'm not a cop/fire wannabe,
I don't have a flashing blue light or a badge, and
quite frankly don't want them.
I don't even need all the labels either.....
(ARRL/ARES/RACES/CERT/EMCOMM etc etc etc....)
When "professionals" see me, all they will see is this:
They will see a person who has been trained in
emergency communications, they will see a person
who knows basic first aid, they will see a person
who knows CPR, they will see a person who asks,
is there anything I can do to help?.
If the answer is "get me some coffee", then to those
who put their lives on the line every day, it's the
least I can do. I was trained to serve the local
agencies here. I was trained to know that THEY give
the orders, not the other way around.
I'll do my best to lend a helping hand and I will
do so with a glad heart and in a professional manner.
Merry Christmas. :)

--KD7YVV, Kirkland ARES #154
 
UPDATE: Anticlimactic  
by KC0LPV on December 20, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
After three sessions were cancelled due to weather, and our missing two sessions because my wife and I were out of town due to the death of my mother-in-law, we can't continue in this CERT class series.

Doesn't matter that three of the cancellations were their call!

Oh well. I'll arrange to meet with the CERT coordinator and local emergency manager to discuss the issues I wanted to discuss with them anyway.

I'll be sure to post an update if/when we can get back in to complete the training series.

Jim kc0lpv
 
CERT, Ham and ARES  
by KI4HPZ on December 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My opinion is that training is a part of emergency communications. No ARES member should discourage training; and, no ARES member should put down another ham only interested with EM COMM skills. All ARES members are valuable team members.

I feel strongly that at least one or more hams with CERT, CPR and First Aid skills should be deployed with a team. Knowing these skills may save your or someones life.
 
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