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Author Topic: ARES / RACES and official partnerships  (Read 18731 times)
K7VV
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2010, 09:15:03 AM »

They need the ham radio side to provide the radio link from the disaster area that has lost power, phones and the internet so that traffic can flow via radio to an internet portal outside of the disaster area. 
Here in Oregon we have have gear at most county EOC's that will do that; reaching out to a more remote internet portal outside of the disaster area.  The system is intended as an emergency backup to connect the county government with the state government to coordinate disaster response.
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KC9TNH
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Posts: 304




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« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2010, 09:17:13 AM »

Despite long years in the hobby and a wealth of ham radio experience, folks who cannot make the mindset switch for this sort of thing and who won't do the training will absolutely be detractors in an emergency. That may not make them feel good, but the answer is to do the training so their deep experience can become an asset in this type of situation.

I came at this from a preparedness direction, not a technical interest in radio (although I find it interesting to be sure). EmComm will likely be 80-90% of my ham radio activities, with other interests I am involved in, I am not likely to get into other areas of the hobby simply due to time constraints. But I have found EmComm training to be interesting and FUN, albeit in a disciplined sort of environment. I'm sure it would not be fun or interesting for many hams, and that's OK.
Thanks for the discussion, this is a great forum. Pre-ham interest (2 exams next month after long hiatus from radio interest) background is base commo rep to our activity's EOC and I find your assessment accurate. Coming also from a previous mil background one dynamic I notice in an EOC is that, regardless of what other talents an action-officer might possess, if they're not able to function (ala military net) IAW the NIMS structure & discipline, they have difficulty understanding what's "white noise" in a mil/civil preparedness exercise vs. what's really relevant. If one can't first read music & play with the ensemble, being able to rip out a long guitar solo will be of little overall value. I view developing am radio facility as an add-in to an existing knowledge base, not trying to reshape what's needed around my ham interest.

The old (and respected) ham guys who setup their surplus deuce & a half at the county fair, tractor pulls (many of whom are also county aux deputies) provide a valuable service on constrained local LE. They're very welcome, but they train... regularly.

Just $.02 from da Nortland, now back to studying.
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
WB6BYU
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Posts: 13342




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« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2010, 12:44:38 PM »

Quote from: KB3VIW
...folks who cannot make the mindset switch for this sort of thing and who won't do the training will absolutely be detractors in an emergency...


We have a relatively small ARES group, but quite active and reasonably well-trained.  the county Emergency
Manager attends most of our meetings, and he was impressed that all but two of our members turned out
for the last county emergency exercise - on a week day.  (The two who didn't were dealing with urgent
family issues, but both managed to check into the net.) 


One of the things we are looking at is how to use the hams who volunteer out of the woodwork in an
emergency - they aren't trained in how the county and/or the ICS works, but we may still need their
experience and capabilities.  So part of our training and preparation is to look at how each of us can lead
a team of less experienced/trained hams in an emergency.  We don't want them running around on their own,
where they certainly could be detractors, but some of them, at least, can be a useful addition to our
resources with proper supervision and some OJT, especially in those roles that do not require direct
interface with served agencies (technical support, net control, relay stations, etc.)  This is still a work
in progress, and we don't have all the answers yet, but it is something we need to be prepared for.
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LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2010, 05:16:23 AM »

One of the things we are looking at is how to use the hams who volunteer out of the woodwork in an
emergency - they aren't trained in how the county and/or the ICS works, but we may still need their
experience and capabilities.  So part of our training and preparation is to look at how each of us can lead
a team of less experienced/trained hams in an emergency. 
You are setting a good example here. Major disasters always get spontaneous volunteers. In the "worst" case they get in the way. Maybe you have to send them back, or they can do unskilled labor under the supervision of a trained volunteer, but it's great that you're finding a way of applying the skills of people who are not trained in their emergency role, but are trained in their technical skill. That way, I think they're motivated to want to get the training in the future. By having a trained volunteer serve as the link between the untrained ones and the served agencies and the public, that should minimize friction.
There are of course limitations to this, since spontaneous volunteers lack background checks, credentials to get into the EOC, insurance, etc., which you'll have to take into account - as I'm sure you do.
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KF6UZX
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Posts: 9




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« Reply #34 on: December 25, 2010, 08:28:02 AM »

We have joint ARES/RACES.  All the cities have their own group and then a lot of us train with the county under our MAC, Mutual Aid Communicators, program.  This allows a joint standard when other cities call for help and it allows the cities to train and set up for their own needs.  Last year the South part of the county lost all phone, cell, and internet.  Both of the cities involved sent police to wake up their RACES folks and then redquested MAC's from the county EOC.  35 MAC's were released by their own cities and went down there and more would have relieved them if needed.  I have worked for 3 cities and the county so far this year.

Last year at out January drill we had 10 spontaneous volunteers due to a delayed announcement of the drill to a cert group.  They were almost all new hams.  In less then an hour 2 of us in addition to our supervising postions programed and trained them to certain jobs.  The drill was an eye opener as since we had no warning and had to adapt.  It is one thing to talk about spontaneous volunteers and another to experience them.  We have changed our training program a lot since them.  We first took our most experience hams from the drills and use them to help other solve problems with the supervisor positions.  Now the first group are being used in the field teams away from the command functions and the second is taking over.  We have always moved new hams to harder postions but never so completely.  The planning is most of our trained net controls will be supervising spontaneous volunteers and training them.

For something small like the city burning down we will use the trained MAC's but for an earthquake we will be on our own and have grow and train in hours.
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KC8OYE
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Posts: 297




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« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2011, 09:45:58 PM »

our local ARES group.. or whatever it's called now.. (it's undergone major restructuring just lately) has earned a lot of respect assisting with public service events, such as marathons, and the boyscouts activities when they need the help.  We also are huge on "Devil's Night" and 4th of july as fire patrols.  (Basically just eyes and ears all over the city with an effecient way of getting info to the fire dept)

we've developed a great relationship with most of the local fire depts too, and they are often willing to ask us to help.  but it took a long time.  We keep a list of who's trained in what.. and if someone volunteers to help, and they aren't trained, they're sent somewhere else, or home.
i.e if you aren't trained in fire scene procedures, you can't work 'The scene' but there are other stations like the county 911 office, or the fire stations themselves.. etc 

the NWS loves us in the area too.  as we are all skywarned trained.

for some reason the local police aren't so excited about us.. but we are working on that Smiley  We don't help them too often, but we are working on ways to see if we can help them out and actually be useful.

sadly, we have a number of those hero-wanna-be's too.  we had one guy arrested a few years back for putting red and white flashing lights on his truck thinking he was automatically a volunteer fire fighter because he had an ARES badge.. it wasn't pretty.

step one is communications WITH the agency you would like to help and find out what you can do to help them.

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KC2MMI
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Posts: 620




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« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2011, 05:58:54 PM »

I am getting involved with the NYC RACES group and was taken aback by a comment by a member that the Office of Emergency Management in NYC doesn't want help from Hams.

My understanding is that NYC/OEM effectively SHUT DOWN their RACES program quite some time before the original post.

There is no such thing as a "RACES" program unless it is operated under the aegis of a bona fide emergency agency, such as SEMO (NYS) or NYC/OEM.

Which begs the issue, what "NYC RACES group" were you getting involved with, David? Has NYC/OEM changed their mind and restarted a RACES program? I know they had, at one point, under very strict rules, and then they closed it back down again.


On the question of how and why some agencies don't want to run a RACES group, that's very simple. They're full-time fully-employed professionals, and they don't want amateurs, dilletantes, unreliable volunteers, or anything else cluttering up their operations. In the case of NYC/OEM, I'm told they had specific bad experiences with certain hams and got such a sour taste from the experience that they wanted nothing more to do with ham radio again.

--Jared
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VE6FGN
Member

Posts: 18




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« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2011, 09:36:50 PM »

ARES and/or local hams should not be integrated into existing emergency comm nets. However, they are invaluable as independant operators (fanned out for eyes on specific areas or specific items of interest). They are also great as a cohesive group with comms and transport that can be tasked with a variety of work- depending on the need . (organised bodies plain come in handy, no matter what the event).

As a redundant layer for command and control communications they cannot be beat. Note that they should not factor into the plan, but are a tertiary layer to be used when the primary and secondary comm plans fail.

I've been in emergency management for years, and used our local ham and ares group in a variety of real world situations. They helped a lot, every time...so much so that when I retired I got a licence and joined them! (every one should volunteer some time for their community- it's what makes a comunity imho- and HAM/ares seemd a good go- glad I did)
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N0SYA
Member

Posts: 369




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« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2011, 07:48:23 AM »

I am getting involved with the NYC RACES group and was taken aback by a comment by a member that the Office of Emergency Management in NYC doesn't want help from Hams.

Is this a common response by official emergency organizations to Hams?

Are there parts of the country where hams are valued as alternate sources of emergency communications?

Thanks for any info, I am new and not very educated in the realities of emergency work.

Thanks in advance and 73

David - W2DAB

Considering the katrina response, sometimes the people are better off taking care of themselves than letting fedz take over. This hesitation of the state to work with hams may be a blessing in disguise.
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If you have a clumsy child, you make them wear a helmet. If you have death prone children, you keep a few clones of them in your lab.
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