SC ARES Update & EF2 Tornado Strikes Edgefield County

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SC ARES has been busy over the last few weeks. We are continuing to rebuild the organization and improve it’s functionality. Below you will find a report out of Edgefield County where an EF2 Tornado caused significant damage. I’ve heard from many counties statewide and have continued to be impressed with the level of interest in our program. Please stay tuned for more upates on several exciting things coming soon.
April 5, 2017 ARES operations Edgefield County

1. National Weather Service issued at Tornado warning for Edgefield County near Johnston area at about 1300 hrs
2. Shortly there after, Edgefield County sheriff department started receiving reports of damage
3. Edgefield County EM director requested ARES support at about 1400 hrs, requested 2 hams to support EOC
4. We provided three hams, KM4TWA, AE4UX and W3MIF for the EOC
5. One ham, AB4BF did ground truth reports on the damage since he lives in damaged area.
6. Skywarn was very active on the 145.49 mHz repeater
7. The Edgefield repeater, 146.85 mHz was used for ARES communications to EMD and K9OH in Columbia (This is an SCHEART repeater but the linking hardware has not been installed.
8. Johnston was the center of the damage area. The mayor of the city is KM4GLS.
9. Damage report is extensive.
10. Damage: Many trees down, some snapped off and others pulled from the ground by their roots. Trees blocked roads and took down power lines. Damage to many homes from tree falling on them. One business roof was totaled removed and ended up in the highway. One report of injury.
11. Two shelters were opened. Closed one shelter at 2030 hours and attempted to close the other, but people arrived. It remained open. Shelter support was provided by CERT team members.
12. ARES support ended at 2100 hrs
13. Normal communications remained operational for police, fire, EMS and cell.
14. Post event discussion will look for improvements to our team efforts in Edgefield. Meeting not set yet.

Donald, W3MIF
EC Edgefield County

ARES/RACES 2017 Tactical Communications Plan

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SC ARES Tactical plan V4.3

The 2017 ARES/RACES Auxiliary Communications Tactical Guide contains new information on ARES organizational structure, changes in SCHEART repeater information and better clarifies auxiliary communication functions during an emergency.  Latest addition includes new DMR repeaters at Clemson and Pickens.

The V4.3 update release on March 9th is to correct an error in the DMR frequency table.  Murrells Inlet repeater frequency was incorrectly listed and has been corrected to reflect 441.8875 Mhz transmit and 446.8875 receive.  Thanks to W2FTV for reporting the error.

DHEC PeeDee Region Exercise

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On April 13 the DHEC PeeDee region will conduct a Redundant Communications Exercise focusing primarily on hospitals and healthcare facilities.  The main focus will be on hospitals but all regional healtcare facilities may participate.  This will be an amateur radio exercise using the scenario that all other means of communications have failed.  SCHEART volunteers should contact their respective facility to determine if that facility is participating in the exercise and how you can assist.  If your facility is not participating and you want to be involved contact George KK4F (kk4f@arrl.net) and we will find a place for you.  The exercise is scheduled to begin around 10:00 AM shortly after the regularly scheduled Thursday SCHEART ESF-8 statewide net and should last an hour or two.  We will be using the linked UHF side of the SCHEART system because in a disaster that is where healthcare facilities will be operating.

Leadership Roster Update

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We are currently updating the leadership roster. If you do not see your name on the list, please ensure you have registered under the Join ARES page and then email k9oh@arrlnet to ensure we get you listed. We are not wanting to leave anyone out.

Website Updates In Progress

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Over the passed couple of weeks, we have been working to gather updated contact information for our leadership team. We are well aware that the EC list is very much out of date and are going through it thoroughly. Since most the information is outdated, we are going to disable the EC lists while we work through it.

As many of you have experienced, Avast Anti-Virus is falsely alarming to our site due to a security issue from several years ago from a previous hosting provider. That issue was corrected many years ago, but Avast has refused to remove the ARES-SC domain from its black list.Users that are having this issue may add the site to a white/trusted list. You may also check via Google to show this is a safe site.

 

ARES Registration Forms

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In an effort to move the South Carolina ARES Program forward, we are moving to a new electronic ARES Registration form. This form will replace the paper forms previously managed by your local Emergency Coordinators. So, if you are interested in continuing to provide emergency communications, please visit the Join ARES at the top of the page to fill out the short form. This will assist us greatly in responding to future disasters quickly by having immediate access to contact information for all SC ARES members.

 

Section Emergency Coordinator

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Greetings All South Carolina ARES/RACES/AUXCOMM Members,

I wanted to take this time to introduce myself as your new Section Emergency Coordinator. My name is Billy Irwin K9OH and I am currently living in the Forest Acres area of Columbia, SC. Previously, I served as an Emergency Coordinator for Spartanburg and Richland Counties and then on to the role of SKYWARN Emergency Coordinator for the Greenville-Spartanburg NWS Forecast Office where I had a service area of 46 counties in 3 states.

Currently, I operate 1 VHF repeater on Caesar’s Head MT and 2 UHF Repeaters in the Midlands of SC. My Amateur Radio Hobby also includes my station at my home QTH. My home station has antennas placed on the roof of a 6 story apartment building. With all that being said, I am very interested in emergency communications and their various systems. My other hobbies also include railroading and the weather.

My professional background is both in Information Technology and Emergency Services. Over the years, I’ve served in various county and state government positions as a technical specialist dealing with networks of various types and functions. This hasn’t been just in the field of radio. Currently, I am finishing up a degree at Midlands Tech in Network Systems Management.

Now to the good stuff… The ARES program in South Carolina is heading for some exciting new changes in 2017… We are currently looking at what is working and what is not. For our program to grow, we need all of your participation. So, if you have input on our program, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact me. Remember, I am your SEC, and I work for you.

Please stay tuned for more updates.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season,

Billy L. Irwin – K9OH Section Emergency Coordinator ARRL South Carolina Section 2000 N. Beltline Blvd Apt 613E Columbia, SC 29204 Phone: 803-497-5560 E-Mail: k9oh@arrl.net

 

 

Something to Think About

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Below are some thoughts pertaining to your involvement with a local ARES Group.

How well is your ARES group doing?

Do you and your group have a plan ‘When All Else Fails”?

Planning and organization are key parts to being prepared for a sudden or predicted disaster.

With the right assets and proper training your ARES members will streamline their activation
and your ability to deploy your assets will improve.

Do you have a written plan for any likely disasters in your area?  For the low country concerns
could be:  hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquake, train derailment or a port incident (such
as just occurred in Savannah, GA).

Do you have mock drills in your area?

Does your ARES group have monthly meetings?

Does your group try to recruit new members?

Do you know your adjoining counties’ ARES leadership?

Do you train with your local served agencies?

Have group members completed the needed and recommended ICS courses?

Have group members had any First Aid (including CPR) courses?

When developing a plan or SOP, some of the items your should consider to include are:
-how will your ECOM group activate in a disaster?
-do you have a primary net frequency to rally on?
-do you have back-up/secondary frequencies or bands?
-do you have multiple net control operators who can activate a net or subnets?
-who will facilitate the best use of your resources/group members in pairing up
with all served agencies depending upon skill set and available equipment?
-do you have a current list of members and contact information?
-do you have a list of all served agencies in the area along with current names of
persons in charge and their contact information?

In summary, have a plan and test it out.  (de W4KSD)