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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Coffeville, Kansas Disaster

from Charles Bushell, KC8VWM on August 2, 2007
View comments about this article!

This exclusive eHam.net article is intended to document, describe and to create awareness in the amateur radio community of the extent of the damage and ongoing progress of the recovery efforts I have personally observed in Coffeyville, Kansas to date as the flood disaster recovery efforts continue…

Charles -- KC8VWM



Event summary:

On July 2nd, 2007 Coffeyville, Kansas experienced flooding due to a levee breach primarily caused by prolonged record rain levels which affected the town of Coffeyville, Kansas population 11,400. Residents were swamped with waters that rose more than 30 feet in some areas and the governor of Kansas declared 18 counties as disaster areas.

Coffeyville, Kansas July 2007.

(Aerial photo courtesy of coffeyville.com)

To make matters worse a local oil refinery was also submerged under water causing an estimated 40,000 gallons of crude oil to spill into the city streets contaminating the floodwaters, sweeping dark, foul-smelling water into homes and businesses forcing the evacuation of some 2,500 residents from their homes.

An estimated 40,000 gallons of crude oil contaminated floodwaters. (Ariel photo courtesy of coffeyville.com)

Some residents had to be rescued by boat and there was a report of an elderly couple that was discovered stranded on the upper level of their home two days after the event occurred.

An unidentified 55-year-old man was found dead in a motel room by search & rescue teams going door-to-door looking for victims. An earlier police report indicated the same man was advised to evacuate the motel room as flood waters rose but he refused to leave on two occasions. The victim was later identified as an Illinois resident and an autopsy revealed he drowned in the tragic event.

Motels in the area are completely uninhabitable.

The town of Coffeyville, Kansas was struggling to protect the local water supply and in some areas the Corps of Engineers was assisting with developing a plan to make repairs at various water treatment plants. Accurate damage assessment information remained difficult and sketchy at first however EMA reported that water service has been successfully restored and all boil orders have been lifted. The Coffeeville water plant is now reported as operational. Electricity remained in service during the flooding and one rescue worker reported a window air conditioner was bubbling water while they were searching for victims.

The flood damage caused by the excessive rainfall amounts in June wasn’t limited to Kansas. N/E Oklahoma and Texas was similarly affected by rising flood waters because of widespread and similar record level rainfall amounts. On July, 7th Oklahoma ARES amateur radio operators were called upon to ride along with the American Red Cross to survey and conduct damage assessment of the flooded areas.

The link to this particular story can be found here:

http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2007/07/09/100/

Coffeyville residents are being offered Tetanus and Diphtheria shots by the county health department and approx. 1700 tetanus shots have been given to date. Health officials also expressed some concern for any livestock in the area that might have consumed questionable sources of water and their future as a food source remains unclear at the present time.

The city has indicated that victimized homeowners are responsible for the demolition of any structure that needs to be razed and for the removal of all debris from their homes. However, city officials have indicated they currently have no plans on the table for the immediate demolition of any structure located in the affected area at the present time.

Coffeeville has indicated in a media release they are still looking for volunteers as I write this article to provide volunteer assistance with the flood recovery effort. Volunteers have primarily been providing assistance with debris removal and passing out water and ice to the affected residents.

You may contact Cindy Price, PIO (City of Coffeyville) @ 620-252-6030. Masks and gloves will be provided to volunteers for debris removal volunteers. They have also indicated a particular need for assistance with answering the telephones. In addition, some pets have been recovered by rescue teams and many unclaimed pets are now currently up for adoption. Oil does remain present in the environment however the Environmental Protection Agency has officially declared the remaining oil does not pose any significant threat for emergency workers and volunteers.

The EMA has indicated that the debris removal process is of particular importance and is required to facilitate further damage assessment of the damaged structures. They have been requesting residents complete their debris removal as soon as possible. Volunteers are assisting with the removal of large appliances and damaged debris from the victim’s homes however you will note in the photo above some resident’s homes remain to be cleared of internal debris.

In an Montgomery County Emergency Management news release dated July 14th preliminary damage assessments were conducted and estimated as the following:

6307 homes damaged
53 businesses damaged
150 miles of paved road damaged
400 miles of gravel road damaged
3 county bridges damaged
3 wastewater treatment plants damaged
2 water treatment plants damaged serving city and rural residents

A ham operator’s home, damaged by rising floodwaters. The antenna array is visible in the skyline.

A large bush located in the center of this photograph remains half covered with oil sludge after the flood waters receded.

A used Red Cross disaster recovery clean up kit is left on a sidewalk in front of a flood victim’s home. Approx. 1700 of these clean up kits have been issued to affected residents and 500 remain available according to emergency management officials.

Home showing porch door (see photo below) and settled debris remains hanging in oil-stained tree line.

Close-up from the photo above of the same porch entranceway containing heavily embedded debris.

A window of a “limited entry” home and yes these are flies.

Disaster recovery volunteers gather to recover and remove the damaged belongings from this storage unit. Patches of oil sludge remain on the ground in some areas.

The resident of this home placed a recovered Santa Claus on the sidewalk in front of their home. Santa is seen here holding a pail bearing a familiar looking red cross and a sign that reads, “God Bless Us All” I admit, all I could think about when taking this photo was how luxuriously fortunate my own life was back home. I quickly found out there was absolutely no way I could ever possibly let myself just drive away without first offering as much a monetary contribution I could possibly muster at the time into that Santa pail to help this devastated family get back on their feet.

A closed fuel station -- a familiar site during most disasters. The computerized fuel pumps in this photo are saturated with oil. This fuel service station is most likely going to have to be entirely replaced before it can service local residents with fuel once again.

A building rooftop after floating in floodwater found a final resting place on the side of this road.

The waterline reached the second story level of this home. The late model vehicle shown in this driveway was completely submerged and it’s interior remains saturated with oil, sludge and debris.

The upside down icebox located in front of this Coffeyville Church is actually from a service station located on another street a couple of hundred yards away.

The entire damaged interior of this restaurant business was removed by disaster recovery teams into this parking lot. Very little interior debris content remains visible in this parking lot.

Similarly the complete interior of this business has been completely removed and scattered into the parking lot for removal. The debris pile seen here is all the refrigeration equipment that was once used inside this grocery store. Trucks are seen ready to haul off the contents. The green tractor seen in the left side of the parking lot in this photo loads the debris into trucks.

Coffeyville emergency management officials in a cooperative effort with other counties, state and federal agencies has provided the following to flood victims since the flooding began:

56 truckloads of water
Two 6000-gallon tankers of water
31 truckloads of ice
Provided 4 immunization clinics and opened County Health Offices for residents
Additional public health nurses provided for affected rural area residences
4 emergency shelters established and staffed with volunteers.

Coordination with American Red Cross for shelter and meals for area residents Many displaced residents remain at Coffeyville Red Cross shelters, which are staffed by volunteers. Some residents have indicated they are relying on these shelters until they can return to their homes or relocate. Some residents have indicated their future remains unclear, as many are not ever likely to return back to their destroyed homes. If you wish to designate a donation to this specific disaster, please do so and indicate “Coffeyville” at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS


The disaster recovery efforts continue in Coffeyville, Kansas and I suspect that similar to Hurricane Katrina, the uncertain future and recovery process for these local residents will continue for some time to come...


73 de Charles -- KC8VWM

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by AE1Y on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Coffeyville, I will keep you in my prayers!!
 
Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by NA4IT on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My brother-in-law is Sheriff of Montgomery Co KS where Coffeyville is located. He lives in Independence. Luckily, his home was spared, being only 1/2 block away from major flooding. He spent 36 hours in their dispatch center himself when dispatchers could not get there. Of all disasters, I believe flooding has to be the worst. We too will remember those folks in prayer.

NA4IT
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by K0BG on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The remnants of this tragic natural disaster begs the question, how many were covered by National Flood insurance?

After Katrina, I called my home-owners insurance company, and inquired about coverage. After looking at where I lived, they stated I didn't need any. Even after I insisted, they refused to place a request for a quote. The reason given was, it would cost about $1,500 per year, and would only cover if the area in question was declared a disaster area by the fed.

As a side light, one of my friends from Kansas City, who went down to help the local amateurs, reported back that he saw more Dish and Direct TV vehicles, than he did insurance company vehicles. Sort of speaks volumes doesn't it?

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by W6TH on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
One cannot depend on others for security, one must do it for themselves.

Such a disaster.

Coffeyville, I also, will keep you in my prayers!!

W6TH.

.:
 
Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by FORMER_K0PD on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
CoffeyVille is another tragedy for kansas this year.First Greensburg Ks Tornado and then lot's of flooding along with Coffeyville.But unlike some in NewOrlean's most Kansan's said thank You for the help and just rolled up there sleeves and started rebuilding. And Coffeyville will recover....
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KC0NRO on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
My family hails from that part of the world (20 miles west of Coffeyville in Caney, KS)...and we drove down there on July 3rd to spend the holiday with them. Typically, we go through Coffeyville, but for obvious reasons, we had to swing down into Oklahoma to get around the flooding. The Neosho River near Miami, OK was way out of its banks as well...

When we got to my grandparent's place, their water pressure was next to nothing. I told everyone in the house not to drink the water (we packed a case of bottled water just to be safe). Keep in mind this is 20 miles from where the flooding was happening. Everyone kinda poo-pooed my concern, saying the county would have told us not to drink it if it wasn't safe. I pulled my wife and kids aside and told them that we were not drinking anything that came out of the tap.

On Thursday, my grandma finds out that the rural water users in Caney had been on a boil order for the past 3 days. Then the water got completely shut off.

I saw the flooding in Oklahoma first hand. We didn't make it over to Coffeyville to witness it.

I guess the point to my post is:
1) Even though you might be miles from the disaster, you can/will be impacted
2) Don't be a sheep...make decisions for your family and yourself, regardless if an "official" has said otherwise (to a degree...I am referencing the water issue in particular, not going back into a flooded area or anything like that)
3) BE PREPARED! Don't expect someone to take care of you and your loved ones...a little planning ahead of time can make all the difference in the world.

My thoughts and prayers are with these folks down there. It is an absolute tragedy what has taken place.

73,

JOHN
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KW4JX on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
You said -
'Kansas experienced flooding due to a levee breach primarily caused by prolonged record rain levels -'
Wasn't it caused by faulty levees?
W2/G3LBS
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by N6NKN on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Sad story, very sad.

But I think the slap at the people of New Orleans by K0PD was not called for.

Rick
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KA4CKR on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
K0PD Said,

CoffeyVille is another tragedy for kansas this year.First Greensburg Ks Tornado and then lot's of flooding along with Coffeyville.But unlike some in NewOrlean's most Kansan's said thank You for the help and just rolled up there sleeves and started rebuilding. And Coffeyville will recover.... (end quote)

Coffeyville is just one of many, and the first wasn't Greensburg.

The first was a blizzard, ice storms and heavy snows that blanketed the entire western half of the state for much of the first weeks of 2007. Then was the Greensburg tornado and accompanying floods, followed by more floods and tornadoes just two weeks later during May. Then came the floods of Eastern Kansas to include Coffeyville. In fact, out of 105 counties in the state, only three have not been under some type of disaster declaration in the past year. And yes, Kansans just roll up their sleeves and get to work when this happens, but it is nice to get some reimbursement so we don't kill our normal operating budgets.

G3LBS Said,

You said -
'Kansas experienced flooding due to a levee breach primarily caused by prolonged record rain levels -'
Wasn't it caused by faulty levees?
W2/G3LBS (end quote)

The flooding was caused by too much rain in too short a time span. These are historic floods. Levees are not built to withstand them, although most hold up in most places. To build a levee that will withstand the 500-year floods, money would be poured into something that may never be needed. Like getting full coverage insurance on a 1974 Ford Pinto with 500,000 miles on it and fueling it with premium gasoline. Why?

Flood stage for the Verdigris River in Coffeyville is 18 feet. The old record flood stage set in 1961 is 26.75 feet. The new record set during the recent flooding is 30.7 feet. That is more than 12 feet above flood stage. Levees are usually not built that high unless the river floods on a regular basis. The area was above flood stage for nine days.

So, were the levees faulty? Who knows? Would it matter in this type of flood? No way.

Tim Newman, KA4CKR
Assistant Director
Reno County Emergency Management
Hutchinson, KS
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by K3AN on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Not to be a troll, but where's the ham radio angle to this story? I hope the ham community was involved in providing emergency communication. Were they not needed?
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by WR8Y on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
K3an,

I don't see the ham radio angle, either. But it IS an informative article. Somehow, I hope the technical articles here will someday be as complete, informative and well written!

Maybe when I write my "how to move a Motorola Micor to 2 meter cw/sssb" article people will be impressed.



WR8Y
Mark
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by K1BXI on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"where's the ham radio angle to this story?"

This is a first hand report with photos from a feller ham, not FOX or CNN. And well done I might add. Close enough angle for me.

John
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by WB2WIK on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Tragic story with great photos to help explain it.

After seeing Katrina, and this, and other widespread disasters I'm glad we only have earthquakes.

WB2WIK/6
 
Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KC5SAS on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
[QUOTE]On July, 7th Oklahoma ARES amateur radio operators were called upon to ride along with the American Red Cross to survey and conduct damage assessment of the flooded areas.
[/QUOTE] Why did Red Crutch need hams to ride along? What happened to their radios? American Red Cross has several frequencies licensed for their use. They get millions of dollars in donations every year plus grants. Every one of their ERVs and chapter vehicles should be well equipted with cellphones and radios. Here in Louisiana, in addition to the national Red Cross frequencies, the Chapters were given talkgroup channels on the State Police Trunked Radio System allowing statewide coverage between chapters and thier units. It well past time for the ARC to invest in quality radio gear and stop looking for hams to do it for them.
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by FORMER_K0PD on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Rick n6nkn reread what i wrote as i only said some of the people not all of the people. And i have talked to people from New Orlean's who understand well what i meant......
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KB5DPE on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"But I think the slap at the people of New Orleans by K0PD was not called for."

I think it was FULLY justified and 100% accurate. He didn't say "all of them"!
Tom
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by N6KP on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
One of the reasons that amateurs were asked to ride along is that they have the knowledge of the town and therefor could accurately and systematically look at each residence for a degree of damage. These amateurs can be taught what to look for in a short 1/2 hour class. The ERV drivers themselves may have come from hundreds of miles away and do not know the local geography.

Yes, each of our 300 or so ERV's have a simplex low band radio with a range of 10 to 15 miles.

The ERV's do not carry cell phones.

Hope this helps.

Ted Harris
Response Technology
National Headquarters.
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KB5DPE on August 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"Not to be a troll, but where's the ham radio angle to this story?"

Does EVERY article on the site have to have a ham radio "angle"? Hopefully there ARE some hams that are well rounded (other than their gut) enough to appreciate other things that go on in the world around them. Just more evidence to support my contention that far too many hams are a neurotic (mainly obsessive/compulsive) bunch who need to wake up to the reality of the world and realize that ham radio is not the be-all and end-all of life. This is a very informative, well written article that gave me a great deal of insight into what happened in those floods that simply was not to be found in the mainstream press articles that I read. Thank you Charles and very well done.
Tom
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by NEWBIE225 on August 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
For what it's worth, most of the Red Cross folks who respond to disasters are volunteers (96%, according to the Red Cross webpage). I'm guessing they all share an eagerness to help, and maybe have some experience from assisting in previous disasters. But each brings their own skill sets with them, whether it's medical, computer-related, administrative, or communications-related. It just makes sense to recruit HAM volunteers who already have well-developed radio communications skills, just as you'd recruit medical personnel who are already doctors and nurses.
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by PHILIP_EX_KC7FWB on August 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
KA4CKR said:

"The flooding was caused by too much rain in too short a time span. These are historic floods. Levees are not built to withstand them, although most hold up in most places. To build a levee that will withstand the 500-year floods, money would be poured into something that may never be needed. Like getting full coverage insurance on a 1974 Ford Pinto with 500,000 miles on it and fueling it with premium gasoline. Why? "

That is a completely false analogy.

A better one would be, its only a 1974 Pinto, why should I bother with any insurance?, Why should I fit seat belts to it? Why should I bother to get the fuel tank replaced?

The answer, of course, is that it is a danger to yourself and to others on the road. It can kill.

Try telling that relatives of people that died here that its ok, it was better to have saved all that money at the cost of their family members lives.

The phrase "500 year floods" is complete garbage. They do not have even 500 years of records, let alone the 10,000 or so that would be required to say that the flood levels statistically reach X in a 500 year period.

Its about money. Its good enough for the people there, but of course we must have defenses that exceed the "500 year flood" levels by a considerable margin around DC.
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KA4CKR on August 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The analogy goes to the cost-effectiveness of blowing money on something you don't need. Not to the safety factor of it.

For your information, Phil, only one person died. He was from out of state and he was told to get out twice. I feel little sympathy for someone who was told that he was in danger and refused to leave. You can't save people that don't want to be saved.

Also, the "500-Year" flood is a term meaning that there is a .2% chance of a flood of that magnitude every year. Not that every 500 years, it floods that much. Just like the "100-year" flood means there is a 1% chance every year and a "10-year" flood would mean there is a 10% chance every year. There doesn't need to be records going back 500 years to estimate the level which the flood waters will reach in the "500-Year" flood plain.

But you are right. It is about money. It would cost millions of dollars to build a 14 foot wall of concrete, earth and rock along both sides of a river to protect a town of 11,000 people from a 0.2% chance of something like this happening. If YOU fund it, I'm sure they will be more than happy to build it. Then get ready to spend YOUR money again for the next town and the next that want to be "protected" from the next 0.2% chance. The safety factor is not cost effective. If you have enough money, you can build a 50 foot tall concrete bunker to live inside, but what is the quality of your life when you do that?

So when your knee gets tired of jerking, please tell me the cost effectiveness of your ideas.

Also, I signed my posting with my title, which kind of says I have a little bit of knowledge on the subject, and my location, which tells you I might even be familiar with the area and the event. What are your qualifications and/or personal knowledge of the event?

Tim Newman KA4CKR
Assistant Director
Reno County Emergency Management
Hutchinson, KS
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KA4CKR on August 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
As far as Washigton DC goes, even though I have no idea why it matters when discussing Coffeyville, I will direct you to this link

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/26/AR2006062600234.html

which is about last years flooding of our Nation's Capital.

tn
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by N0FPE on August 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Did the Feds hand out Visa Debt cards in Coffeville? I bet the folks there were just fine without them...didnt see any pictures of FEMA trailers either! But I know where they are! The Feds have sold a bunch of the Katrina trailers to Phelps Dodge so they could reopen the copper mines in Arizona! Money talks! Bull$%^t walks!
 
Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by VE2OPB on August 3, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
nothing to say,just wondering what i am gone a do if it was happen to me.that's very sad news.

73' from ve2opb pierre in montreal.qc.canada.
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KW4JX on August 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Tim Newman KA4CKR
Assistant Director
Reno County Emergency Management
Hutchinson, KS
Shall we have the same excuses about the Minneapolis bridge? Based on Statistics?
Gil
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by W3LK on August 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Gil:

<< Shall we have the same excuses about the Minneapolis bridge? Based on Statistics? >>

You live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean; you have no first-hand knowledge of either disaster - what's the WE nonsense? You are neither personally involved or personally affected by either event.

I just love you people who have no personal knowledge of events and circumstances and yet, sitting thousands of miles away, feel you are somehow qualified to pass judgement on things you know absolutely nothing about.

Save your comments for things that happen in YOUR country.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by RX1 on August 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
"W3LK": "I just love you people who have no personal knowledge of events and circumstances and yet, sitting thousands of miles away, feel you are somehow qualified to pass judgement on things you know absolutely nothing about."

That may be true. On the other hand, there are plenty of people right here in the US who have zero first hand knowledge of the event. You're not required to live across the ocean to be equally unqualified to comment. If that disaster or something similar hasn't effected you personally, you're clueless regardless of where you live.
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KW4JX on August 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I don't live the other side of the ocean I live right here in the States thank God.
But sometimes onlookers see most of the game and it is dangerous to be xenophobic.
Gil
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by W3LK on August 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
RX1:

<<On the other hand, there are plenty of people right here in the US who have zero first hand knowledge of the event. You're not required to live across the ocean to be equally unqualified to comment>>

You are correct.

<< If that disaster or something similar hasn't effected you personally, you're clueless regardless of where you live. >>

That's true, too. However in 40+ years of disaster response delivery (the last nine years as a regional EDS Director for one of the major served agencies) I have seen more than my share of floods, fires, tornadoes and other disasters and been on both sides of the situation many, many times and I still don't presume to pass judgement on situations I have not been personally involved with, even though I may be qualified to do so.

It's so very easy to sit comfortably in one's home and armchair quearterback the folks on the ground dealing with the disaster and just as easy to assign fault or blame when you don't have a clue as to what you are actually talking about because you will never be held accountable for the nonsense you post on the Internet.

My hat's off to the folks who ARE on the ground dealing with the problems - before AND after a disaster.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
 
RE: Coffeyville, Kansas Disaster  
by KC8VWM on August 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following amateur radio operators who are most deserving of recognition for contributing thier time and effort assisting the victims of the July 2007 flood disaster.

They are:

Pete Mann KF5RD

Lee Schlanger KE5CUB

Larry Holden KC5KLM

Ben Joplin WB5VST

Don Pratt K5OKB

Jim Danforth KE5OKT

Carlton Danforth KE5OOJ

Don Cole KE5EHU

Jessie Cole KE5EHT

Travis Vernier KE5MXI

Brian Gnad KB5TSI

Mark Conklin N7XYO

Tom White K5EHX

Fred Williams KD5NBR

Ken Duncan WB5Y

Coralee Duncan KE5LJF

John Green KD5GUU

Robert Walker KD5ESL

Let it be known that it is these individuals which is why we are all very proud to call ourselves amateur radio operators.

Sincerely,

Charles Bushell, KC8VWM
 
RE: Coffeyville, Kansas Disaster  
by W3LK on August 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Charles:

Thank you for the excellent report.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
 
RE: Coffeyville, Kansas Disaster  
by KE5JJK on August 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
As one of the ones onsite, I will make a few small comments. My call is KE5OKT, I just haven't updated eHam yet.

First off, "Why were we there?"
We were asked. The Red Cross folks were in rentals, and actually started out in Oklahoma City. They didn't know what they were going in to, so communications was a need. There's your "ham angle".

What did we do?
We rode with the Red Cross members, and provided "local knowledge", communications, and essentially whatever it took to get the job done. Mostly using HT's with mag-mounts. A couple of members used personal vehicles to facilitate longer-reaching communications when we expected the range of the HT's to be too little. This was in fact the case, and at one time, we even had a member drive half the distance, and act as a relay.

What did we learn?
People will criticize anything. I suppose we didn’t really learn this, we just “updated” our expectations. We learned that the HT’s aren’t quite enough. Communications was functional, but even a few more watts would have helped. We learned that tactical communications methods work. Short, clear, and direct. By sending information to net control (my duty) all those in the field became aware of things. Often, trends emerged and it helped those in the field to be aware of them. The Red Cross focused on doing their job. What they had expected to take 3 days, took 1. The Red Cross director was extremely thankful.

Now for some personal thoughts. This is my 7th disaster to assist on. I’ve assisted on 3 hurricanes (Charlie, Katrina, and Rita), and 3 ice storms (all in Oklahoma) as Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. While our involvement was less hands-on than my previous experience, it was greatly valued. Everyone wants everything to happen instantly. The Red Cross needed to know what the necessities were. ARES helped with that. Perhaps the survey would have only taken 2 days without ARES, but with it, help could start 1 day sooner.
As a leader in the Baptist Disaster Relief system, I’ve worked with a cross section of volunteers. I’m happy and saddened to say that the ARES members that participated were the most professional, and the most willing to do whatever it takes. Never did a volunteer refuse to do anything asked. They put others first and made personal sacrifices.
Lastly, you may have noticed that there were 2 of us with the same last name. KE5OOJ is my son. He is 10 yrs old. He acted in very professional manner, and even served as net control with my supervision. His attitude was one of helping others. So when some choose to criticize the handling of the event, may I remind you that a 10yr old was willing to give up personal time, be in unfamiliar territory, be subject to strange authority, and be subject to critical input on his radio usage. I asked him if he would be willing to do it again, and his response was that if people needed his help, he was willing.
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KI6LO on August 7, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Tragic story with great photos to help explain it.

After seeing Katrina, and this, and other widespread disasters I'm glad we only have earthquakes.

WB2WIK/6

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You said it true, Steve. I hail from that part of the country, actually Arkansas, and we suffer from same types of issues and problems. I left over 20 years ago and never have regretted it except for maybe not getting to see my folks as much as I would like to. But at least in the upper Mojave Desert where I live we don't have most of the typical disaster issues that plague the mid-West like floods (except an occasional flash flood and we know where to live to avoid those), tornados (we do get a few big dust devils that blow trashcans around), hurricanes (we get nice stright line hurricane force winds a couple time a year that blow down a wooden fence or antenna mast), no snow or ice storms (a occasional dusting of snow every 5 or so years) and best of all very, very few lightning storms to deal with. And of course a 'shaker' every now and then. But to even out the playing field, we do have sidewinders, black widow spiders, scorpions, 110+ deg F temps all summer long and very few stores in town to shop at except of course WALMART!!!

Sorry to see the devastation in Kansas. I hope and pray that everyone can recover ok and the insurance companies won't try any funny business like in NOLA. The officers of some of those insurance co's need to be tied up and horsewhipped.
 
RE: Coffeville, Kansas Disaster  
by KG6WLV on August 8, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The phrase "500 year floods" is complete garbage. They do not have even 500 years of records, let alone the 10,000 or so that would be required to say that the flood levels statistically reach X in a 500 year period.
If you knew something about forensic meteorology you'd know that humans don't have to keep records. Mother Nature creates the records, and we "read" them.
It's the same with seismology; there are records of pre-historic earthquakes that indicate a history of seismic activity that are there to be interpreted by someone brighter than you are.
 
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