Hello to all….
….3,000 Evacuees headed to Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Cape Cod Red Cross now Activated with Cape Cod ARES on stand-by….
….No significant changes on deploying to the affected area….
As the media has reported, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has announced that 3,000 evacuees are being sent to Otis Air Force Base. Given this development, Cape Cod ARES District Emergency Coordinator, Frank O’Laughlin-WQ1O, has reported that the Cape Cod Red Cross is now fully activated with Cape Cod ARES now on stand-by to support communications needs as required. The air base has very strict security provisions so only a handful of Cape Cod ARES personnel will be allowed on the base only. Beyond tactical communications between the Cape Cod Red Cross chapter and Otis Air Force Base, there will be little need for Amateurs to actually deploy to Cape Cod, however, depending on the needs of the evacuees, there is the potential for Amateurs in ARES and NTS to get involved with health and welfare traffic for the evacuees to loved ones that they may have lost contact with during the move. Again, this will largely depend on the need of the evacuees. This is being worked by the ARES leadership and Massachusetts State RACES Radio Officer, Tom Kinahan, N1CPE. If this need develops, updates will be posted as required. Again, It is not clear at this time if this need even exists. Given that phones and other forms of technology work here, this may not be needed but there certainly could be limitations on the amount of phones etc. available at the facility so Amateur Radio may provide a parallel path to get messages back to loved ones. Frank-WQ1O will keep the ARES staff informed of any needs and Tom-N1CPE will keep us informed working with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency if there is a need for such messaging.
Over the past 2 days, N1XRS-Tony Duarte and I spent several hours monitoring the SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network) Net on 14.265 MHz and the Health & Welfare Net on 7.290 MHz on 40 Meters when propagation allowed it. The SATERN Net was successful in facilitating several rescues over the past couple of days and had liaisons to MARS contacts. That net has been dealing solely with emergency and priority traffic. Its not clear when the net will shift to Health & Welfare if at all. SATERN has setup a web site concerning health and welfare traffic at http://www.satern.org/ where you can search by name or fill out a Health and Welfare form. The Red Cross has provided a family links registry on their web site at http://www.redcross.org to try and reunite families. Special thanks to Jim Ward-N1LKJ, Section Traffic Manager, for providing this information.
Jim Ward also reports that 16 NTS traffic messages have been handled and sent into the affected area as a Health & Welfare traffic. It is not clear if those messages reached their intended destinations. Yesterday, Fox-25 was looking for a Ham involved in such operations and Jim Ward-N1LKJ was interviewed and featured on Fox-25 News at 10 for his efforts. Special thanks to Jim for agreeing to doing the interview given that he was involved in efforts that attempt to reunite loved ones.
Eastern Massachusetts ARES made contact with Erin Sarris, Associate Director of Disaster Services Preparedness and Response, Sunday Evening. Thus far, only a small number of Red Cross personnel from Mass. Bay has been deployed. With the sheltering of evacuees taking place on Cape Cod, there is little direct involvement from Mass. Bay in that process. Mass. Bay Red Cross is not directly looking for communications deployments currently and recommended to continue following the ARRL/ARES path for deployments.
Concerning actual deployment to the affected area, we have received little information other than what has been provided from the ARRL National Web Site. An attempt will be made to contact ARRL/ARES leadership in Alabama, where it appears they are staging personnel currently. If further information becomes available, it will be passed on via this coordination message.
Below is the applicable text of Coordination Message #4 for coordination purposes:
If you look at the national web site, at the following link:
You will see that they have made an update on how to sign-up for possible deployment to the affected area. They are now asking anyone who is interested to sign up via the following database link:
Those that have already signed up via the email address of email@example.com have already been forwarded to the appropriate personnel per what is stated on the national web site so you do not need to sign up again using the database link provided above if you’ve already sent an email to the ARRL address.
The database link http://katrina.ab2m.net/ will ask for similar information as what was asked for via the arrl.org email address. They will ask for name, call sign, contact information, equipment you can bring down and I’d also recommend providing training and previous experience in emergency communications for the mission in such a note. I would strongly recommend working through your ARES EC/DEC or myself before sending an email to that address. There are many things to consider including the fact that lodging and other conditions may be extremely poor and there will most likely be a lot of coordination issues given the fact that this is such a large disaster relief effort for served agencies to manage and our leadership wants to make certain you are aware of the risks and are fully prepared to be involved if you consider deployment. As Steve Schwarm, W3EVE, quoted from Westchester County Red Cross, “Blessed are the flexible, for they will not get bent out of shape” and this very true for this major relief effort. Once that is complete and if you decide to accept such a mission and have signed up on the database link provided above, please copy your ARES DEC and myself to such an email so that we know you are being considered for going to the region and keep us posted on whether you are accepted for deployment. That way our leadership can assist in communication to your family and friends if required. It will also help to make sure that we do not displace too many resources to the region. As I’ve stated previously, hurricane season is far from over and there remains an ever present threat through at least the first week of October of a hurricane striking our region. We also need to keep in the back of our minds that ever present threat of terrorism to our region and having resources available to tend to that unexpected threat if it occurs.
Once again, there should be absolutely, positively, no self-deployments to the region. The situation down there is extremely tense and anyone who is down there without proper authorization despite their best intentions is likely to receive a very bad reception. Please work through our ARES leadership as we will continue to work very hard to keep you informed of changes in a situation that is changing by the hour and minute as the situation slowly becomes more stable and proper assistance can be provided.
Massachusetts Bay Red Cross has posted a status report via their web site that provides a good status on their response to this catastrophic disaster. The link appears below:
The Salvation Army also has status information and headlines via their web site. That link also appears below:
There are many other agencies providing support for this effort. The links above are intended to provide response information from 2 of the main agencies we deal with but there are dozens of others that are also providing support.
I would also like to thank one Amateur who has sent information to ARRL via the email address for possible acceptance of deployment and notified me that he had sent a note concerning possible deployment. I would also like to thank another Amateur who cannot deploy himself but has offered equipment to help someone deploy who may not have the equipment required to deploy down to the region. These Amateurs are showing the spirit of Eastern Massachusetts ARES by offering to help and also providing the ARES leadership with appropriate information on the help that they are offering. That teamwork and support is very much appreciated!
Please contact myself or your ARES DEC with any questions, comments or offers for support during this time period both here at home for any assistance that we can provide from here in the relief effort or for actual deployment to the affected area. On behalf of the entire Eastern Massachusetts ARES staff, we look forward to working with everyone to properly make a difference in this trying time for the United States caused by one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s history.
Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Pager #: (508) 354-3142
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: (508) 346-2929
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org