delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 36 NUMBER 11

ARES News

Donn Rooks, K8AOK Delaware County Emergency Coordinator

Changing of the Guard

Finding someone to put in the number of hours, amount of energy, and dedication to be a county ARES Emergency Coordinator isn’t easy.  When Stan got ‘promoted’ to Ohio SEC, Donn Rooks, K8AOK, stepped up to the job. Donn’s work for the past several years has included keeping ARES in front of county officials, representing us well to organizations such as Ironman, and basically keeping the membership headed the same direction…somwhat akin to hearding cats. Donn has decided to take a step back, while still being involved in ARES, in order to spend more time with his family and grandchildren!  He has put in a great amount of time and energy and has represented ARES well! The new county Emergency Coordinator is Ben Schwab, W8AXE.  The “Axe” is no randomized call- Ben has completed his medical and fire requirements to be certified as a professional firefighter - and he’s looking for ways to break into the fire service as a lifetime career. In the meantime, his emergency training will carry him well through our exercises and emergency situations. Ben grew up in the Olentangy area of Delaware County, and is very familiar with the county. Ben has launched his EC career with his participation in the October SET (Simulated Emergency Test) and he’s begun chairing meetings. We look forward to Ben taking DELARES to a new level, and hope present and future members will stay active and enjoy the training!

Let’s Change Our Paradigm! 

Here’s the question:  Since 9/11 the emergency response world has changed, never to be the same. In the past several years the methods of how our  agencies respond and handle events, from small to immense, have been  extended to agencies such as ARES. We are expected not only to know how they act, but to be able to prove our own ability to act with them as partners.  How do we do that best? Nowhere was that more obvious to us than last year’s RNC/NAACP/Red Cross spinup last year in July! ARES  members were ~expected~ to be certified and credentialed in order to play.  We were, we did, and we received  accolades.  But for ALL of Ohio ARES, it’s time to put up or shut up.  That’s a little harsh, but the time has come for ARES to follow through on our stipulations which require proper training for our members.  It’s been a long  time since we first announced the necessity for our volunteers to complete the four “magic” NIMS courses, 100, 200, 700 and 800. These are the foundational courses which describe how an emergency operations center and the entire emergency response is handled in a uniform, dynamic form. In the fire service, we have used these very principles as we roll up on a minor house fire, all the way to a dramatic, mass casualty disaster.  The simple truth is that ARES wants to work with our partner agencies as just that…partners.  In order to be a true “service” and not just a bunch of helpful hobbyists, we have to be able to prove our worth.  Consider the recent months of disasters in Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean. Hams were requested and dispatched there for vital activity.  If we sent hams there who were not able to function as a part of that massive effort, it would reflect badly on Ohio and we would probably not get asked again.
Reminder: Statewide tornado drill November 5
But there’s another side to ARES.  There are plenty of activities that fall in the range of “Public Service” yet don’t involve EOC operations, emergency response agencies or really the need for our four magic courses.  SkyWarn nets, bike rides, runs and the like are all events that ARES members (certified or not) regularly participate. Are these any less worthy than the relatively fewer true emergency events?  So if we summarily dismiss a bunch of long time ARES members who don’t have their cards are we doing any good?  And yes there are a few who just don’t “get it”- that owning a ham license is NOT instant qualification to participate in emergencies. They just refuse to take the step and take the training. Yet their time and energy still helps ARES. So after a great deal of thought, we have decided to follow the example of amateur radio licensing. Entry-level operation can be had through the Tech license. Yet there’s incentive to upgrade to General/Extra because far more activities are permitted, and you can enjoy much more of the hobby. So why not create that same environment for ARES?    Tier Two membership in ARES will be designated for general membership. Tier Two operators will be encouraged to participate in public service events, work projects with equipment and stations, and do the type of work ARES members have done for years. Tier Two members will NOT be activated for service during emergencies that involves operation in EOC’s or for partner agencies who require the FEMA certification.   In the event that additional manpower may be needed (The Big One) they, like spontaneous volunteer amateur operators outside ARES, may be assigned to secondary tasks.  While ALL time invested by our volunteers is valuable, Tier Two operators will be at the ‘entry level’ of ARES in Ohio. Tier One operators in ARES will be those who have completed the four FEMA courses, having certificates on file with both their county EC and the Ohio ARES Training Database. These are the prime operators who will be activated when requested by our partner emergency agencies such as the EMA. We hope to create incentives to entice Tier Two operators to upgrade within the ARES system.   It will be the duty of each county EC to maintain a roster defining the capabilities of each member, and to maintain an activation system for Tier One members.  EC’s are required, AEC’s are strongly suggested to be Tier One operators. In addition, ALL NEW MEMBER APPLICANTS will be screened to provide the four FEMA courses. I appreciate your comments! When it counts, Ohio was there! Ohio was invited to participate in the Caribbean, and our representatives returned highly praised for their work. George Reidel, N1EZZ, was sent immediately after the first big storm. He was singularly involved in transmitting messages from St. John’s…and wound up hunkering down as the second hurricane swept the island. He finally got a return to the states courtesy of Kenny Chesney’s private transportation. (Fancy, huh!)   We also know Mory Fuhrmann, N8KKW, spent a cycle in Puerto Rico with the Red Cross.  John Probst, KA8RVI, deployed with OH-5 DMAT for three weeks in PR. Also from District 3, Gary Clark II, KC9TND, went to Texas for Harvey and then to Florida after Irma both for the Red Cross.  Michael Carter, W8BSI, deployed with OH-TF1 (Ohio Task Force 1) after Harvey.   Great work from all who gave of their time. You represented Ohio well! On another topic, please understand that you can be a member of ONE ARES county organization, not several. If you are asked to assist, that’s just fine! But membership is limited to one county. It does NOT necessarily have to be your county of residence.  Membership in more than one county messes with reporting numbers both for membership and participation hours, so we do want to keep things straight. The Sarge is operational! The W8SGT (The Sarge) station at the OH EOC is fairly well complete!  After a loooong time, we have the stations in place and are operating on the air from our new room which opens onto the main floor. We have two each FTDX-1200’s and AL-1200’s for two of the stations. The center position is aimed primarily at VHF/UHF and features an IC-745 for 100 watts on two meters, the Kenwood 2000, and an assortment of dual band rigs. We are adding a DMR radio very soon!  These shots were taken during the SET, showing DEC7 and Sarge staffer Mark Griggs, KD8YMN and SEC Stan, N8BHL operating. Many thanks to who participated in the SET! 

Ohio ARES 

Stan Broadway, N8BHL Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator
© DELARA News, the official monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware, OH