“Since 1991, when the Seabrook nuclear power plant first came online, local hams have provided communications resources to the various local and state emergency management agencies,” writes Terry Stader, KA8SCP, Communications Coordinator. “This is a different role than some of the public service events many hams participate in. Our role as communicators is varied from the typical using two way radios to FAX, TTY and telephone switchboard operations. Our regular single-shift operations require five communicators. All operators get cross trained in all communications center operations.”
The event required the Emergency Operations Center staff to be “in the area” but not pre-staged at the Region One EOC. “We were paged via the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Health & Homeland Alert Network System (HHAN).”
Approximately forty people were involved with coordination from state agencies like the Massachusetts State Police, the MA Department of Transportation, MA Department of Public Health, American Red Cross as well as volunteers who act as community liaisons, transportation, emergency medical services, radiological monitoring, technical resources and many other roles in support of the exercise. “Multiple FEMA representatives were present to evaluate/grade us on our ability to respond to the changing scenario at the plant and elsewhere,” added Stader. The event lasted six hours from the initial callout to exercise termination.
Various Massachusetts and New Hampshire towns and cities in the Emergency Planning Zone participated in the April 4 exercise. Massachusetts communities included: Amesbury, Merrimack, Newbury, Newburyport, Salisbury, and West Newbury.
Although Amateur Radio was not used for this particular exercise, KA8SCP explained they are required to review how ham radio could be used. “We have the capabilities to operate from 75 meters through 440 MHz.”
Participants at MEMA Region One Headquarters in Tewksbury included: Communications Officer Charles Suprin, AA1VS; radio operators Dave Welsh, WI1R; Rich Cuti, N1HY; Bob Snyder, W1RS and Communications Coordinator Terry Stader, KA8SCP.
Thanks, Terry Stader, KA8SCP and PART of Westford PARTicles, April 2018
Photos courtesy Terry Stader, KA8SCP