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Author Topic: Are Hams prepared for a nuclear accident?  (Read 41689 times)

Posts: 31

« Reply #60 on: September 19, 2011, 01:40:28 PM »

....Just because you personally have had a couple of bad experiences with Ricky Rescue types is really no more reason to stereotype than having had a couple of bad experiences with people of a particular skin color or political persuasion. 

And there you have the problem in a nutshell.  Most law enforcement or recognized emergency services personnel have the "Ricky Rescue" idea of ANY ham or volunteer EMCOMM people that show up.  THAT is the stereotype that has to be fought by any legitimate group that offers their services.

The way to do that is to approach these people BEFORE there IS an actual emergency situation, and volunteer then, ASKING if there is any way that you or your group could be of service.  Don't just show up during an emergency event and demand to be used.  The only thing they'll use you for is to use your pants as a polishing cloth for the toe of their boot.
Most definitely!
The time to offer services is not in the middle of the crisis.  The only exception to that would be if the local media reports that the local authorities are asking at that time for volunteers.  And then one should only go to the specified location.  And one should only volunteer if they can actually provide the services that are being asked for.  If it is a snow storm and they are asking for people with four wheel drive trucks, don't show up with a 1975 Gremlin.  That is not helping.  If they are asking for people to fill and place sand bags, and you can't lift ten pounds because of a bad back, you are not helping. 

I was recently talking with someone that I volunteer with.  He asked why I thought the local agencies were so happy to have us around.  I told him I figured that since most of our stuff was funded with federal grant money, we didn't really cost them anything.  We were just cheap insurance.  If they never need us, we haven't cost them anything.  If they do end up needing us they will be needing us very badly.  The flip side of that is if they need us and things work well, they showed great foresight by having us ready and able to help execute the plan.  If things go sideways we can be a convenient scape goat.

Posts: 200

« Reply #61 on: September 20, 2011, 03:48:01 AM »

Thouse of you in areas that get snow know that if you see something like that, you continue down the road and call it in.  You don't pull over, putting yourself at risk of being hit or causing an accident for a car that slid off the road.  

If it's a major accident, and you have some basic first aid training, that's one thing.  But to INTERRUPT an active call to emergency services so you can they to feel important is another.
Interrupting the 911 call is obviously out of line, but up until he's established that the person is OK and the phone is working, he didn't do too poorly - providing he parked his vehicle safely (an issue that storm spotters also should watch themselves on). Wearing the vest was actually a plus - if he was a 100% moron he'd be wearing snow camo instead:

We get lots of snow here in Norway too, as you can guess, but here
- All drivers are required to pass first aid and CPR training to get a drivers' license.*
- All cars are required to carry reflective vests, to be worn in case of accidents or breakdowns.
- Everyone are required by law to assist people who have had an accident - if we leave people for dead without checking first, we can be jailed or fined for it. I know on your side of the pond you might risk getting sued instead if you help, thus Good Samaritan laws.
- Sometimes we even pull each other out of the ditch.

As for the non-emergency public service events, they actually provide training in running directed nets. So yes that football game or bike ride will actually help prepare hams for helping out with communications in case of a nuclear emergency, because there are so many similarities in how you operate. There will be some differences of course, so if there's a nuclear facility in the area, some of the training scenarios for emergency drills should include the effects of nuclear dispersion; most of that will be for the civil defense officials to consider, but there might be provisions made for things like radioactive shielding or remote operation of the radio station, or perhaps switching operators frequently to reduce radiation dosages.

*: This is one of the three main factors in Norway having the highest cardiac arrest survival rate in the world, despite its rugged terrain and long distances. The other two factors are the quality of hospital heart departments, and the ambulance service which has transformed from a transport service to a paramedic service.

I don't have a problem with people that are trying to actually help.  But you have to have the ability to actually provide assistance.  If you're not in a tow truck, you are going to not be able to help someone in a ditch.  If you see they have their phone in their hand, and they are ok, move on.   And yes, things are different here.  You can be sued, not only for trying to help and failing, but if you cause an accident in the process of doing whatever it is you are doing you are liable.  I carry a tow rope all the time,  carry blankets, jumper cables and flares as well.  If a situation warrants me providing assistance, I provide it.  But I am also trained to do so.  But I consider surroundings and situations as well.  If some old lady is along side a road with minimal traffic I will stop, make sure emergency services is in route and if her car will not run and it's cold I let her sit in my vehicle while she waits.  But my motivation isn't to be recognized for what I have done, only to do whats right. 
Unfortunately in this country, there are people that will stop along side the road and rob you, car jack you and worse because they are nuts.  Not bearing this in mind can ruin your day.

Posts: 20

« Reply #62 on: September 22, 2011, 12:48:57 PM »

I was active in my local CERT group (run under the auspices of local law enforcement) before getting active in amateur radio.  There might be amateur radio individuals who would get in the way -- but the CERT training entailed background checks, several weeks of classroom lectures, drills, etc.  Once you have all of that training, understand the basics of the ICS (Incident Command System), etc. I see amateur radio as only a potential bonus.  Just how likely, it's hard to say.  But it can't hurt an already trained emergency volunteer.  The CERT volunteer may be a professional auto mechanic, computer programmer, accountant, or any other walk of life, and those skills may be useless during an emergency also (but they don't subtract in any way).  So the ham-enabled disaster volunteer who is already established with some bona fide relief organization (CERT, Salvation Army, etc.) is a bonus.

Specifically with regard to a nuclear scenario, I'd assume that most of us would pack the van, pets, etc. and have an extended-stay with inlaws a couple hundred miles away...  But maybe there IS a role for an automatic/telemetry station with a properly calibrated geiger counter and an amateur at a safe distance away (outside an evacuation zone) relaying information as needed.  For example, NOAA has the Skywarn program for trained volunteers, and I've heard that there are also volunteers who monitor NWS-installed equipment on a daily basis.

As for non-calibrated radiation-detection equipment, I'd think of that marginal at best.  False positives would result in wasted time, and false negatives could potentially be deadly or have major litigation/health/insurance consequences.  There's an asymmetry there.

Another point about FEMA to consider, is that while many groups are not supposed to be self-mobilizing, there is also the Good Samaritan scenario in which if you can safely help, and have the training, you are almost obliged ethically to do so -- whether or not an official 1,500 miles away gives the go-ahead.

Here's the deal.  EMCOMM is for almost all reasonable situations dead.  At the point that the FEMA director is asking for hammie assistance, things will be so bad that there will not be anybody to talk to anyway.
Stop assuming that every emergency needing activation is The Nuclear Zombie Apocalypse and the end of the world as we know it. Amateur radio support for emergencies activates several times each year (hurricanes, wildfires, backhoes cutting cables, blackouts), for decades, and the world hasn't ended yet. After the tsunami and nuclear accident in Japan, amateurs also did their part, mostly on VHF and UHF. The main point for amateur radio support is whether auxiliary communications are needed, and the way you operate is fairly similar across various types of emergencies.

Well, here's my experience with it.  I had some EC clown that was visiting from Louisiana beating on the table we were sitting at and crying about how FEMA wouldn't listen to the hams  down there.  I sat and listened to HF intently as they described things that I was watching on Fox News (yeah, I am right too).

We have some clowns that were claiming because they were in ARES they could run red and blue (law enforcement in Ohio) on their vehicles.  One of those douchebags was complaining about having the city police tell him to gt back in his car and would ticket him if he caught him again pulling off to the road during a snow storm checking on drivers that were on the phone with 911 asking if he could call for assistance with his ham radio.  
He had no more sense than to INTERRUPT a call to emergency services so he could play hero.  Best part was he was all dressed up in a reflective vest and has his ARES ID with him trying to look important.  Thouse of you in areas that get snow know that if you see something like that, you continue down the road and call it in.  You don't pull over, putting yourself at risk of being hit or causing an accident for a car that slid off the road.  

If it's a major accident, and you have some basic first aid training, that's one thing.  But to INTERRUPT an active call to emergency services so you can they to feel important is another.  And the best art was he was MAD because an officer told him to not be stopping on icy roads and getting out of his car.  This protects him, and other drivers from him and his stupidity and he was mad about it.

This is the crap we get here.  The go run around the college football games for free so the college doesn't have to PAY someone to do it.  The sit along side the road for bike tours, again so no one has to be paid to do it. And they get equipment via grants (my tax money) so they can run around and contribute NOTHING to actual emergency services because they don't want or need the help.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 05:54:36 PM by KD0KZE » Logged
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