North Shore ARES Participates in Peabody Regional Homeland Security Exercise

Hello to all….

The North Shoare ARES team led by North Shore ARES District Emergency Coordinator, Eric Horwitz, KA1NCF, and North Shore ARES Emergency Coordinator, Jim Palmer, KB1KQW, participated in a a mock exercise with Peabody Emergency Management held by the Northeast Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council. Below is a write-up of that report:

(PEABODY, MA) – Leadership officials from the North Shore Amateur Radio Emergency Service team responded today to a mock exercise being held by the Northeast Regional Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Eric Howritz-KA1NCF and Jim Palmer-KB1KQW at the North Shore ARES desk at the PEMA exercise
The exercise simulated a mock crash of a tractor trailer truck which carried and released a cloud of chlorine gas into the atmosphere prompting emergency response officials to coordinate efforts on a regional scale, in addition to simulated evacuations and shelter-in-place operations of community residents. Members of the Police and Fire Departments, Electric Light, Department of Public Works were primary responders along with numerous regional Chiefs and Officials from various other communities.

Eric Horwitz – KA1NCF, North Shore ARES District Emergency Coordinator, along with Jim Palmer – KB1KQW, North Shore ARES Emergency Coordinator staffed the Emergency Management desk at the operations center.

Meantime, Mike Griffin-KB1OHZ conducted a surprise resource call-up drill on the 145.47 NS1RA Danvers Repeater simulating an ARES activation across the area. At the ready to assist with shelter communications within an hour’s time were Nat Henricksen-NG1Z, Pete Aery – KI1P, and David Titelbaum – KB1MSR. The operations phase of the simulation kicked off at 10:00 and concluded at 13:00.

Mike Griffin-KB1OHZ doing communications during the exercise at the exercise location
Testing our skills further, the exercise ended with a working fire in the Peabody area and we were able to transition to a more realistic operational phase while the scope and extent of the fire were ascertained by the various officials on site. The fire remained small and additional resources were not required from the Emergency Management resources on location for the exercise.

The exercise was considered a great success and all parties involved were able to walk away with various information to improve the efforts at the center. Jim-KB1KQW and Eric-KA1NCF promoted Amateur Radio’s role to the various attendees by teaching that we are available when all else fails. This information was well received and we hope that these officials will spread the word about our valuable role in emergency communications and response.

Overview of all groups participating in the exercise
North Shore ARES has been continuously working on our relationship with Peabody Emergency Management, most recently activating the operations center for a recent Nor’easter on March 8th. No reports of flooding were received from that event but minor wind damage was realized later into the evening prompting an ARES/SKYWARN activation to monitor the storm. Our first activation with Peabody Emergency Management took place on Patriots Day 2007 with a significant Nor’easter which brought several episodes of urban/coastal flooding along with numerous reports of wind damage across the region. Since then we have participated in approximately 15 other activations, mostly for weather related incidents across the area.


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