It is a Disaster

At the October meeting we had an exercise to cause some discussion and help us understand just how bad things can be in a disaster. It was a lot of fun and I think we learned just how unprepared we all really are. After the discussion we decided that we would keep doing this and I hope that others will come to the meeting because This was fun, and the more people who are here the funner it will be. Exercise as follows:

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Internet/Cellular Phone/Communications Exercise Your community has just been hit by a disaster — The following conditions now exist: No commercial power will be available for 72 hours. 60% of the power line infrastructure is down. 60% of all radio towers are out of service for 72 hours, with all antennas at a 45 degree angle from normal in the city from North to South. The trunking systems are all out of service – totally.

Land line telephone service is lost to 60% of the community. The cellular telephone system is overloaded, and it takes two hours to get a connection, and then you are limited to using the service for 3 minutes.

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All city, county and state radio networks are reduced to 20% of their normal capacity. Cable TV systems and satellite TV services are completely out of service with no commercial power available. All internet service providers are down and out of service. All internet telephone service is down. 25% of the fire, police and EMS equipment is destroyed. No gasoline or diesel is available from any underground storage tanks, and the local government has taken over all overhead fuel storage tanks for their use. If you can demonstrate to them that your use will support the recovery effort you may be able to secure a limited amount of 5 gallons of fuel.

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You have planned ahead and have an emergency gasoline powered generator to power your radio equipment, your generator uses 0.7 gallons of fuel per hour of operation. How much fuel do you have on hand (this may include your automobiles fuel tanks, if you have a way to get the fuel out)? You have; _____ gallons of fuel, and can operate your generator for _____ hours. If you use your automobile to charge your batteries, the fuel consumption will be MUCH higher.

Do you have food for 72 hours for all members of your household? An MRE will feed two average persons per meal – 1200 calories each. Do you have five or ten gallons of drinking water? Tomorrow was your day to replenish your supply.

Do you have a way to keep warm during cold weather, bed rolls, blankets, fireplace, gas or charcoal grill (for cooking as well)?

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With the loss of 60% of the radio towers we have lost a great deal of homes and many people will require shelter. Is emergency shelter available for 60% of the population and can you access your camping gear, if it did not get destroyed with your house? Are you prepared to not just survive, but can you help for distances in excess of 40 miles? Do you have emergency radios, both local(FM and HF? Do you have spare/portable antennas, tools, etc.?

For now amateur radio provides the only communications link within the community and to the outside world. How do you intend to help our served agencies, EOC’s, hospitals, health and welfare, emergency shelters, disaster support agencies and provide local media outlets with emergency information for the public?

Your radio tower was damaged, your home lost 40% of the roof. Do you have an emergency antenna support?

Do you have a 30 watt or higher power mobile unit installed in your automobile? If this unit has not been used in the last 7 days, count it as out of service.

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Would you need to go to the local store to purchase (they will all be out of everything in one hour, if not currently destroyed) food, water, batteries, gasoline (none available), bed rolls, parts for replacement antennas? If you are using any portable radio (including cell phones) that transmits, do you have an alkaline/Ni-MH battery pack, with spare batteries? If not, count that radio out of service after 4 hours of use.

If your rechargeable battery pack was not charged in the last 72 hours count that battery pack as out of service. If you have not used that portable radio in the last 7 days count it as out of service.

Do you have an HF radio, including portable antenna and emergency power source, that was operated in the last 7 days? If not, count it as out of service.

All amateur repeaters are presently out of service. Can you communicate without their use on a simplex frequency, and do you know which one to use? *****

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This short scenario can be used to judge how prepared you are and help you determine what you need to do to get prepared.

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