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Amatuer Radio Emergency Services Our role in the Joplin Disaster.

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Presentation on theme: "Amatuer Radio Emergency Services Our role in the Joplin Disaster."— Presentation transcript:

1 Amatuer Radio Emergency Services Our role in the Joplin Disaster

2 What is ARES ARES stands for Amatuer Radio Emergency Services ARES volunteers provide communications for: Government Agencies Disaster relief organizations Public Service events Emergencies or disasters Training exercises

3 ARES operators receive training in: Message handling Communication technology Administrative procedures Disaster preparedness

4 Joplin Missouri May 22 2011

5 Overall, the tornado killed 162 people injured some 1,150 others, and caused damages amounting to a total of $2.8 billion. It was the deadliest tornado to strike the United States since the 1947 Glazier-Higgins- Woodward tornadoes, and the seventh- deadliest overall. It also ranks as the costliest single tornado in U.S. history.


7 ARES Response On May 22, 2011 the American Red Cross requested the local ARSE group to assist them with communications between the shelter that was opened at Missouri Southern State University and the American red Cross office in Joplin.

8 Monday May 23, 2011 I was contacted by the Missouri State Emergency Coordinator Ken Baremore, W0RBK, and asked to respond to the Joplin Tornado emergency to be in charge of all ARES operations in the disaster zone. The initial assignment was to evaluate and oversee the demobilization of the ARES team assisting the Red Cross.

9 Tuesday May 24th At about 16:30 hours the Red Cross officially requested that ARES stand down as communications has been restored to them. Demobilization went smoothly and ARES Red Cross operations were suspended. I was contacted by the Newton county EC and advised that a request will be made for communications support between the Newton County and Jasper County EOC's. I contacted the district EC's and asked that they be prepared to respond.

10 Wednesday May 25th At about 07:00 hours I received a request to provide amatuer radio communications between Newton County (Neosho) and Jasper County Emergency Operations Centers. Newton County ARES was asked to man the ARES station in the Newton County EOC. SEC Baremore was informed of the request, then I contacted the Webster County ARES and requested that they respond with operators and more equipment. The Newton County EOC Amateur Radio station was manned, a 24 hour schedule was made for operators manning the station and communicated to me via Newton County ARES repeater. VHF/UHF communications between the two EOC's were established.

11 Operations Wednesday May 25th a test message was passed to Newton County EOC confirming commnications on VHF and UHF systems were functioning i.e. simplex and repeater operations. The second test message sent was to an out of area station comfirming HF operations were established.

12 Operations continued.... Jasper County asked ARES to provide 24 hour communications until further notice. A schedule was established for 24 hour operations with ARES operators already called to respond and others available from the local ARES team.(most local ARES were affected by the tornado.) ARES was notified of the need to support possible expanding operations.

13 Thursday May 26th Message passing continued, however, ARES also saw a mission change for communications. Although police, and fire units from Joplin could communicate, many National Guard and out of town/state police and fire could not. It was decided that communications would work between public service agencies. ARES was put on communications list as backup communications for that purpose.

14 Real Time Information After returning to the ARES EOC, the communications officer from the disaster EOC came and asked if I had an idea what could help with getting real time information from the field. I suggested that Ham operators be placed with each Search and Rescue team, allowing for real time information to be passed directly to their EOC, and if needed, any information or verification could be provided from the disaster zone. Messages could be sent with immediate response and provide a way to relay emergency information including team and medical events happening in the field.

15 Repeater Allocation After discussion with the ARES team it was decided to allocate use of the Four repeaters available. The Salvation Army had arrived and was in need of a repeater in which one was assigned. A repeater was dedicated for the use of Search and Rescue teams and used as a Skywarn Repeater in case of bad weather. The thinking on this is that the search teams would be recalled in case of inclement weather. The UHF and VHF repeaters in Newton County were dedicated to communicatons for the two EOC's. UHF simples frequencies were dedicated to communications between the basement EOC and ARES EOC. Other VHF simplex frequencies were assigned as needed.

16 Radio Operators in CERT Community Emergency Response Teams had ham operators placed with each team. CERT members with Ham Radio licenses were designated their team radio operator. Eight teams of ten people were sent on search and rescue missions in the disaster zone. Radio operators were given grid maps of the disaster zone and operating frequencies as well as instructing them to radio their assigned search area by using grid number once received.

17 Radio Operators for Salvation Army Contact was made by the Salvation Army requesting 5 ARES radio operators to help with communications. ARES radio operators were requested from both the Americorp Volunteer Center and from SEC Baremore. I contacted the Americorp Volunteer Center requesting that all Amatuer Radio Operators be sent to my location for assignment. Five were assigned to the Salvation Army and the rest were used in other assignments as needed.

18 Radio Operators I contacted the Americorp Volunteer Center asking that all Amatuer Radio Operators be sent to my location for assignment. For identification they had to have a photo ID and proof of current radio license. Americorp supplied 12 radio operators. Five were assigned to the Salvation Army and the rest were used in other assignments as needed.

19 Then to Now Close working relationships with County Emergency managers. Close working relationships with the local community Close working relationship with Missouri State Emergency Management Agency Close working relationship with state and federal Homeland Security agencies. Close working relationship with FEMA Radio training and testing for ALL CERT and Search and Rescue teams as well as active scenario skills application.

20 Continued training Constant radio training including programing, message receiving and passing and use, antenna building etc. Training with other groups and agencies, including field exercises. Establishing a County/District Emergency Operations Plan. Field deployable portable repeater systems for use in a disaster.

21 Communication improvements District D HF net (Sundays 1600 hrs 3.973) District D linked repeater system net.(Friday 1930 hrs) (Special thanks to the Southwest Missouri Linked Repeater System Organization)

22 Information resources Cecil Higgins District D Emergency Coordinator, Missouri Section

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