The purpose of this blog is to keep BC ARES members up to date on what I, Sam Henley (KEØLMY), am doing as the EC to promote our group, secure affiliations we can count on during emergencies in our county, and gain more experience/training to serve you as well as I can.
February 6, 2018
Though the weather may keep our second meeting for 2018 very small or keep it from happening at all, I want to give you an update on the development of our very first Tabletop Training Scenario.
The first stage of development was to form the general outline. This included an overview paragraph of the situation to be addressed which, in this case, was an ice/snowstorm scenario. Also included were a complication list, setup and operation questions, and a suggestions section.
The next stage of development is the addition of types and examples of traffic passed during the scenario. So far, we have added two sections; Shelter Messages and EOC Messages. An updated version of the PDF has been uploaded here. If you have more recommendations, feel free to contact us.
I am in the middle of taking the FEMA IS-120 An Introduction to Exercises. As I continue this training (followed by the IS-130), I will add to and update the PDF. My goal is to build at least six scenarios for our group to expand our skills.
I look forward to a time when we have the ability to gather a large number of our members together to begin running these scenarios. My goal is to draw on the experience our members bring to the table from their own life experiences. Our unique experiences make for a well-rounded group!
February 1, 2018
I have so many experiences to talk with you about that I may have to break it into separate posts! As most of you are aware, I have been enrolled in CERT training with the Camden County, MO CERT training class. Five of the above pictures were taken by Eric Hoover, who runs the Camden CoMo CERT Team. He is funny, driven, outgoing, and capable. He knows his “job” and he wants to help his team be the best it can be when an emergency arises. I have also met his wife and co-leader/co-trainer, Brittany, and she is an amazing woman! They both work for the Camden County school district.
This past Monday, Bruce and I were trained on extinguishing small fires. I was impressed by Ron Gentry from the word go. He is the Emergency Management Director for Camden County. He is a retired Fire Chief, among a handful of other qualifications! He balances his no-nonsense approach to teaching with a healthy dose of common sense and a great sense of humor! The Camden County, MO CERT Facebook page has a video posted on our first try at the mock “small fire” scenario here. Thank you to the people who congratulated me and offered feedback! I felt it went very well. I can’t wait to do a true small fire exercise!
Next up, Winter Field Days! Okay, I have to tell you, I was SO excited to do my first field day at a location other than the ham cave! Roger offered to set me up in the middle of our farm with my radio, antenna, generator, and computer and let me go to it, but I nixed that idea REALLY quickly!
A few months ago, when we added the information for Winter Field Days to the website, Cary Altman (KB0HV) and WAARCI invited us to come up to their new tower site at Holden, MO. We were excited to do something with the group, so we made the hour and a half trip up there. It was fairly easy to find and I didn’t get more than ten feet from the Durango before I was meeting club members! Not only did the club members welcome Roger and me, they also made my son, Alex, feel welcome and put him right to work helping set up equipment and carry stuff to different areas. They also talked him into going back to studying for his Tech license again!
Despite everything you read, there’s a LOT more to Field Days than setting up your radio and talking. We had tons of visitors who were there to see the new tower site, check out the equipment, and visit with friends. We even had a visit from the local superstar, Rick Ebbeson, who was named the 2017 Volunteer of the Year back at the 2017 Show-Me Partnership Conference (D’OH, I still owe you all a run down on that, too!). Sometimes, when I get to meet people in person which I have been listening to on the radio for years, I get a little starstruck! I was VERY excited to also meet a regular to the Region A Healthcare net, Jack (N0SAX)! Truly, there’s no way I could remember every single name and face I saw on Saturday, but I was so thrilled to meet you all and hope to do more with you in the future!
One of the neatest things I got to use that day was this little contraption Cary made. It allowed us to plug in two sets of earbuds to one radio, so Terry (the operator) and I (the logger) could both listen to our potential contacts.
On Sunday, I drove back up there with Alex. I think the guys were happy that Alex and I brought donuts with us when we went up Sunday! After donuts, Cary put me on the radio. I alternated between calling CQ on 14.280 and searching around for contacts on the band. We managed a few contacts before the time ended at 1 PM local time.
I am very excited that Cary and the members of WAARCI invited the BC ARES up for Summer Field Day. I would love to have a good number of our members up there! I think it would be a great group exercise and fantastic for outreach to groups in surrounding areas. I, of course, wouldn’t mind a little healthy competition, too!
January 25, 2018
As I’m sure many of you already know, I began my CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training this past Monday. I find it absolutely fascinating! Communications is such a huge part of what CERT does, that I daresay it is one of the cornerstones!
I have a list of great instructors who participate in the Camden County, MO CERT training and I would like to take a moment to thank them for what they do.
Ed Nicholson, Ron Gentry, Brittany Hoover, Eric Hoover, Dan Malloy, Lori Favilla, and Bob Hayes are among those responsible for providing the Basic Training to go along with the required FEMA online courses for the CERT program.
So far, I have met Ed, Eric, and Dan. They are all very knowledgeable, well-spoken, and very helpful. They make the class fun and informative.
Bruce and I are the only ones in the current class, though I suspect this is due to weather and illness within the community. He and I had a challenge the moment the class started. We were told to take a couple of pieces of cardboard, construction paper, scotch tape, and scissors and build a five-foot-tall, freestanding tower in five minutes. No other instructions. I figured it was a test of our ability to show the maximum utilization of available resources. (Credit for that saying goes to KDØWXT!) We were successful and when we analyzed the point of the exercise, it was to teach us to use available resources on-site, work with unfamiliar people, and complete challenges in a short timeframe.
We were given an outline of the course and we were assigned homework!
As usual, I will keep you updated on the class, my progress, and my activities, especially with how they coincide with communications and ARES in particular!
January 10, 2018
Just had to share the news! As many of you know, I have been enrolled in the ARRL EC-001 course which began at the end of November. I just took my final assessment today and scored a 94%!
While no amount of bookwork or paper can take the place of field experience, I feel more secure with both my role in our group and in any emergency situations that could arise in our area. This course also showed me the positions we need to fill and the different areas we need to work on and put in place to be a strong ARES group.
I look forward to speaking with many of you who want to take on more active roles at the upcoming meeting! Thank you all for your continued participation and support!
December 21, 2017
I figured if I held off for just a little while on my blog about the conference, the slideshows for the keynotes and breakouts would be posted online. Good news! I have been emailed a link to them! Now you won’t have to sit through pictures of slides taken from my phone!
I attended all of the Keynote Speeches and I was also able to attend four of the breakouts. I was blown away by some of the presentations, especially when the focus was turned back to the volunteers who worked tirelessly in emergencies here in our own state.
Here is the list of the presentations I attended:
As the Waters Rose – Eureka’s CERT Members Did As Well
Being A Great Team Leader
From First Response to Long-Term Recovery Partnerships to Increase Efficacy of Response
Good Samaritan Law Overview
Managing Spontaneous Volunteers
NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors
Operation Community Recovery Exercise
Self & Team Care Before & After Deployment
Successes and Challenges with Harvey, Irma, and Maria
The Proper Tool Is Everything – Using and Evaluating Affordable Social Media Tools
WebEOC Training for Volunteers
Closing Remarks – Together We Do Better
As you can see, it was a VERY busy two-day conference, which is why I thought I would split it up into several posts. I intend to touch on a few of these things in-depth because I feel that they apply to us as a group or as individuals, so you can look forward to more information on those from my personal notes.
P.S. Here are a few of the people I met at the conference:
December 11, 2017
This month has been so busy for us and it continues with even more training for me! As I learn more and more about what it means to be the EC and how to fulfill my obligations properly, I want to keep you all updated, too.
By now you know I am working on the ARRL EC-001 course for Emergency Communications. I will try to keep you all updated on what I learn, but you are welcome to also complete the training. So far, it has included information about properly passing messages in emergency situations and within that has been information on properly running our Sunday night ARES net. I have taken screenshots so everyone can see some of the information. Some of our members have asked me about different things which actually come up in this training. I found out that I have some bad habits and will be correcting myself accordingly. Let me show you what I mean:
I also thought the following were extremely important:
I hope this helps to clear up some questions you may have and provides more information for those (including myself) who have not yet been in an emergency situation!
I will be posting later this week about my experience at the Safety Symposium I am attending on Tuesday and Wednesday!
November 29, 2017
I am sitting down to fill our my monthly paperwork for the first time. As I am doing this, I am seeing just how active our members are in the group. From all of our members who check in on our weekly ARES nets to meetings to FEMA and Skywarn training to running the website, we have pulled together for an astounding 154 hours of BC ARES activity this month!
I am amazed and humbled by all of you who rise to the occasion, pitch in to help and make an effort to spend some of your time each month to make our group great!
I can’t thank you all enough for the support and assistance you have given me as I learn my position as well. So many of you have answered my questions, made recommendations, offered your help, and taught me many things I didn’t even know until this month! I have not had a single negative interaction and I am grateful for that favor.
In short, November was busy but December will be even more jam-packed with BC ARES activities. I began the EC-001 course this week and it will take 9 weeks to complete. At the end of that time, I intend to let you all know about my experience!
Can’t wait to share all of the events coming up in December with you!
November 21, 2017
The last ten days have been VERY busy for me! I have made many contacts with area nets and hams, attended the Region A Healthcare meeting and volunteered to put together mini-training sessions with the area hospitals, health departments and other facilities to help their radio users become more familiar with and more comfortable using their amateur radios! I have also started to prepare for the December meeting. KE0LMZ and I have many fun, Christmas themed things planned! In my “spare” time, I have been studying for my extra license.
First up, I have been emailing, checking in on area nets and otherwise reaching out to various amateur radio clubs and organizations in the area. As we gain more affiliates, our network and community grow larger. The main principle of ARES is to be there in times of emergency to provide communication support for people in need. I feel that to do this, I should be out there, visible and accessible to those in our group, community and beyond!
This leads me to the second item. I was graciously invited by KD0CNC to attend the Region A Healthcare meeting which took place this morning. I was able to learn SO much. I now know names and faces of quite a few of our area Emergency Managers, healthcare organization staff and more! They all seemed very motivated to work with the amateur radio community to strengthen their ties to us and learn more about us. I have a few things in the works and as soon as they are set in stone, I will roll them out to our fantastic ARES members!
Finally, KE0LMZ and I have been working hard on plans for our “Christmas” meeting. We would love for as many members of the group to attend as possible because we would like to take a group picture at the December 9th meeting. Please wear a white shirt! Don’t worry if you can’t attend, as I will list our members not appearing in the photo on the page as well.
I want to thank Cary Altman. Along with my independent study for my Extra Class license, I have gone almost daily to see the “Extra question of the day” on his group’s Facebook page: WAARCI, Inc FB Page. This kind of outreach to the community is priceless and his efforts are greatly appreciated!
That’s all for now! I’ll be back with more news from the EC front in a week or two!
Meet Foxtrot, the new BC ARES group mascot! He is already doing a great job guarding the BC ARES members’ Christmas gifts!
November 11, 2017
This blog will be a bit different. I had the honor of presenting Rick Wade (KD0CNC) with a plaque today. This commemorative plaque was to thank him for his years of service as the Emergency Coordinator of the Benton County, MO ARES. Below you will find the speech I gave when presenting him with his plaque. I hope it conveys the kind of persistent, loyal, supportive person Rick is and I am thankful I could share it with you.
“I remember the first time I met Rick. Roger (KD0WXT) took me to the Lebanon Hamfest a few years ago. At that time, I had no interest in Amateur Radio. I hadn’t even heard of it. I was convinced I would be fine with my computer and cell phone.
Eventually, I attended a couple of ARES meetings with Roger and Rick continued to sell me on the idea of becoming a ham.
I turned studying for my tech license into a homeschool class and Renee (my daughter) and I were licensed on the same day in December 2016.
In the following months, Rick and the ARES group taught me to build a Dipole antenna and a J pole antenna. They taught me to properly hook up radios. They made me feel welcome and and never treated me like I was “just a woman”, which is something I appreciated.
Rick continues to challenge me so I can better myself.
Thank you so much, Rick, for all of your efforts!”
And at the very same meeting, Rick presented me with my EC certificate. I appreciated his touching words and good humor!
November 8, 2017
I have had a busy week! I am in the middle of reading the entire EC Manual, so I have a well-rounded idea of where to begin my journey as your EC! I am particularly looking forward to running drills and I will be talking to the ARES members at the upcoming meeting to find out who has taken part in drills in the past and can help me set up and run them in the future.
I recently completed the following FEMA training: ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800. I intend to take quite a few more which have been recommended by members of other ARES groups. I have signed up to take the 9 week EC course with the ARRL and that begins at the end of November.
I have been checking into quite a few other 2m nets in the area to promote unity and cooperation between our groups. Any nets I check in on, I will also list on our Nets page so you can participate, too, if you wish. Two of these nets happened this morning. I ran the Region A Healthcare Net at 9 am on the Warrensburg repeater which reaches out to amateur radio operators (hopefully some in healthcare facilities) and at 10 am I checked into the Camden County Emergency Net on the Lake of the Ozarks repeater. Part of my goal is to spread the word about these nets and encourage as many hams as possible to participate.
Along the lines of promoting unity and cooperation, I am reaching out to area groups/clubs to ask them to become affiliates. We can all help and learn from each other!
I have reached out to Mike Bellinger about attending one of our meetings and though he is very busy, I hope to have him attend one soon!
My intention in the near future is to reach out to the Sheriff’s Department, Police Department, Fire Department and the Emergency Managers of Warsaw, Lincoln and Cole Camp to offer our assistance and cooperation with training and practices they may hold.
I welcome any and all ideas which you have for making the BC ARES inviting, fun and effective! I look forward to speaking with all of you!