Boston Marathon Coordination Message #1 – Monday April 16th, 2012

Hello to all..

..Eastern Massachusetts ARES to be placed on stand-by effective from 7 AM-7 PM Monday April 16th, 2012 to support any significant issues that may occur outside of the Boston Marathon event. Amateur Radio Operators that are involved in ARES that are supporting the Boston Marathon are expected to continue to support that event as their number one priority. The standby is for Eastern Massachusetts ARES members who are unable to support the Boston Marathon for this year but may be available for other duties in the event a significant issue occurs outside of the Boston Marathon event and route..

..Record breaking heat is expected for the 2012 Boston Marathon with temperatures in the 80’s to possibly even the lower 90s. This will potentially cause stress on the runners, volunteers and infrastructure resources more so than in the past 8 or 9 Boston Marathon events covered in recent history. In addition, with the very dry conditions since the beginning of 2012, hot tempeatures and gusty west winds, there will be an increased fire weather risk across the area. This message will discuss weather safety for Monday April 16th for those deploying and involved in the Boston Marathon and potential risks for any significant issues outside of the Boston Marathon route that may require ARES assistance with those ARES members that are unable to support the Boston Marathon event but may be able to support an issue outside of the Boston Marathon event. We stress again for those ARES members who have commited to the Boston Marathon event, you are to support that commitment as your top priority as your assistance at the marathon will be very important this year given the weather conditions..

While this may be a bit off topic for some SKYWARN Spotters, Amateur Radio Operators and Red Cross volunteers, many of which are SKYWARN Spotters, will be involved in the Boston Marathon on Monday April 16th. To reach out to the highest level of Amateur Radio Operators involved in the event, this coordination message is being sent out to the SKYWARN email list and posted to the various Amateur Radio lists. We appreciate everyone’s patience with this message. This is likely to be the only coordination message on the Marathon unless a significant change in the weather forecast occurs. See information below:

Eastern Massachusetts ARES members not participating in the Boston Marathon should be in a stand-by mode for the Boston Marathon event on Monday April 16th from 7 AM-7 PM for any significant issues outside of the Boston Marathon that may require Amateur Radio Emergency Communications support. With over 300 Amateur Radio Operators staffing the Boston Marathon route, the start line and the finish line, if an issue arises needing Amateur Radio support outside of the Marathon route, it is important that any ARES members not involved in the marathon can help with any response that is required. There will be two backup operation centers including the Eastern Massachusetts ARES Net Control Center at the town of Bridgewater EOC monitoring the Boston Marathon event and events outside of the Marathon. The biggest issues that could occur outside of the Marathon route is as follows.

1.)    A large brush fire due to the extreme dry conditions since the start of 2012 causing a mobilization of resources outside of the marathon event.
2.)    Another unexpected issue that requires a major response of resources.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) at the SEOC (State Emergency Operations Center) will be active for the Boston Marathon with the MACC (Mutual Aid Coordination Center) stood up at the SEOC. Amateur Radio Operators will be at the SEOC to support backup operations and to provide situational awareness to MEMA and agencies that are supporting the Boston Marathon event. See media advisory below:

The weather outlook for the Boston Marathon is one that is extremely unfavorable for volunteers and runners. The Weather Forecast across the Boston Marathon route is for record breaking heat to occur. Conditions are expected to be sunny throughout the day. There will be a ‘hot’ land breeze blowing along the marathon route with winds of 10-20 MPH with gusts of 25 MPH. Temperatures along the marathon route will range in the Upper 50s to lower 60s early in the morning warming to 75 to 85 degrees by mid to late morning to the 85 to 90 degree range by afternoon with lower 90 readings not out of the question. This means that conditions for the runners and even volunteers will be extreme for being outside and in the sun’s exposure for the entire event. The amount of ambulance requests along the route could rival or eclipse records set in the 2004 Boston Marathon. The BAA has sent a notice that inexperienced runners and runners with medical conditions consider not participating in the 2012 Boston Marathon and even for conditioned runners to take it slow as it will not be a day for breaking marathon records. This has been seen at various Boston Media outlets and an article on the notice sent out is listed below from WCVB-TV Channel 5:

For Amateur Radio, Red Cross and all other volunteers along the route, it is recommended that you do the following:

1.)    Dress for the hot weather. Wear loose fitting and ligher color clothing to try and keep your body cool as best as possible.

2.)    Sun screen will be a must given the intense heat and bright sunshine. Make sure to cover exposed skin particularly those folks that could get sun burn easily during sunny and hot conditions. This can cause significant health issues if not taken care of properly. A hat for your head can also protect your head from sun burn.

3.)    Be sure to drink liquids and eat properly during the event and that you are self-sufficient so that you can be of full help to the function and not distract everyone from the main purpose of supporting the runners by having a health issue on your end that can be avoided. No rain is expected at this time so there should be no need for rain gear.

4.)    Be highly vigilant to any runners that may be in distress along the route. With the intense heat, there is likely to be a high number of runners affected in some way by the weather conditions.

5.)    Also, be highly vigilant of cigarette butts or other flammables that could be tossed out in grassy areas. With the very dry ground coupled with hot and dry conditions, it will not take much for a brush fire to occur as elevated fire weather conditions exist and may prompt the issuance of fire weather watches/red flag warnings for Monday but at a minimum, elevated fire weather conditions will exist. Take care of any of these disposals and assure they will not cause a fire issue that can be avoided.

Barring a significant change in the weather forecast, this will be the only coordination message on the Boston Marathon. We appreciate everyone’s support in this event and hope those that volunteer enjoy themselves and feel the self-satisifcation of supporting this historic event and those that are monitoring the Marathon or events outside of the Marathon realize that the monitoring is an important function as well and is a testament to being able to scale other incidents beyond the marathon if required. Thanks to all for their support!

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 508-346-2929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address:

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