Exercise Coordinator's Overview of NET Exercise 10-14-18
This Overview appeared in SWNI News Dec 2018 under Collins View.
On Sunday, October 14th (2018) Collins View NET members participated in a city-wide deployment exercise. This was Collins View first participation in an exercise like this right here in our neighborhood! We had 19 members register for this event, including 3 members from Riverdale and 2 members from Marshall Park. One CV NET volunteered to help out South Burlingame as an Amateur Radio Operator (ARO). Two Riverdale NETs were assigned to the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) as sub-net control, using ham radio frequencies. Registered NETs received a call from PBEM at approximately 12:45 pm with the message that a major 9.0 earthquake had just hit Portland and that everything was good at their residence (family, house, pets, etc.) and they should prepare to deploy to the prearranged staging area.
NETs left their residences and walked prearranged routes to the staging area (St. Mark Church on Terwilliger). They found red envelopes taped to selected mailboxes which contained emergency scenarios (fire, building damage, wires down etc) and practiced filling out damage assessment forms to turn in once they arrived to the staging area. All members had Family Radio Service (FRS) radios (two way walkie-talkies) to check in with the ARO at the staging area. Once the members arrived and checked in, Incident Command assignments were made, operational teams put together and assignments given for light search and rescue missions.
The weather was fabulous, team members stepped up to the plate to problem solve and we all learned a great deal about leadership structure, working in teams with specific responsibilities, mapping out the neighborhood with potential problems and prioritizing goals.
Overview by Nancy Holmes, Exercise Coordinator, 10/25/2018
Net Control Radio Operator's Report
Avi Solomon, AE7ET Net Control
Physical location, the remote base had good coverage of the neighborhood. With a modest GMRS antenna I was able to make consistent contact with all NETS and the South Burlingame staging area.
Equipment and batteries, we did not need any of the backup equipment and the 50AH battery had full voltage after the exercise. No charging was necessary for the duration of the exercise. Antennas remained up on the mast using only 2 zip ties each despite wind.
Having a runner and an additional radio operator, the addition of Kevin as a FRS net control and an assigned SUV as a runner made getting messages to IC much easier.
Having lots of blank paper, pens and clipboards. (Protect from blowing wind).
Deploying a tent by the door to the van keep the remote base cool and comfortable.
Check Ins and tactical callsigns, every net checked in and was assigned a unique tactical call sign, they were used for the duration of the exercise.
Passing messages both through the subnet as well as directly with SB net.
Dealt with significant interference from non-net stations on FRS 7. Despite, was able to continue to use the channel.
We prepared a SITREP, but were not asked for it so it was not transmitted.
Having a Situation Report (SITREP) ready to go if requested on a NET form 6.
Having the frequencies of Resource Net, River-south Subnet and W7ECC on stickers affixed to table and equipment.
What Needs Work
We had NETs try to check in before the FRS net had started and some before the exercise message from PBEM was sent.
NETs giving their traffic with their check in on FRS 7
NETs generally not respecting ALL STATIONS STAND-BY or giving traffic informally without being recognized by net control.
In the first 15 min I was overwhelmed with traffic. The inability to get stations to stand by meant I had to delay checking into the River South subnet by nearly 20 min.
Bad record keeping of FRS traffic. Because of the overwhelming amount of messages I abandoned the log for the FRS net.
Aftershock check ins, teams were sent into the community and we received a message from IC to check their welfare post-aftershock. However, we did not have a roster of who was on what team.
Using radios within the staging area between command staff and to AROs. This created even more traffic on the FRS net that could have been done by a runner.
Non-priority messages being relayed via radio by NETs that were on their way in. Should have been written down and carried.
We never received a message from W7EOC but wanted one.
Two (sometimes 3) simultaneous radio nets is too much for one operator.
With two operators in the same vehicle headphones are likely required.
Regular radio training as part of CV Net meetings. Priorities, what standby means, how to give traffic, message priorities and waiting to be acknowledged by net-control.
Practice having the CV net change channels (or discussion about it). We made the decision to stay on 7 despite a bit of interference. It's not something we have trained. Can we add it to laminated cards both main and backup channels.
Practice preparing a SITREP (on form 8) and giving it to communications.
Discuss FRS and HAM priorities. I think our FRS net should take priority and we will check in with PBEM/River South when able, thoughts?
Using SUVs as runners worked well and could dramatically reduce radio traffic within staging area
Keep a few headphones in go kit.
Pre-write a fill-in SITREP on a NET form 6, keep in go-kit and beecon box.
Take-Away points, from Incident Commander
Maryellen Read Incident Commander
The Exercise Coordinator Project Manager functioned as oversight and safety NET on site. This Staging Area Site overseer/Safety position is essential in real time deployments, as assigning an On Site runner to carry messages among the different managerial role tables. Clipboard boxes for each managerial or supporting role, labeled with role duties and containing the specific NET forms and laminated role cards were very good in organizing and eliminating confusion and anxiety over forms and duties required. People needed to open box and actually read the role cards. The pre-assigned walking routes (Collins View SNAP maps) format proved itself to be an efficient use of time and personnel. Reporting of route assessments need to be prioritized (emergency/immediate, delayed, minor). Slight modifications of spacing and map graphics, as well as role cards made available to each Collins View NET, (as suggested in the participants' hot wash review after the exercise), are forthcoming.
The Incident Commander (IC), in addition to making deciding the objectives of the emergency response, has to make sure role position assignments (Volunteer Coordinator, Ops, Medical, Radio etc) are understood by, agreeable to, and skills-appropriate for the person assigned. This is a major responsibility of the IC. IC needs to tell, not ask when directing duties to others, while being receptive to their concerns, comments, skill sets and questions. The Amateur Radio Operators (AROs) were essential to this exercise and to our real time emergency response efforts.
Just for fun... Outline of the exercise co-ordinator's Hot Wash report (In Raw report above).
1) Deployment Massage from PBEM
2) Participant Deployment to Staging Area
3) Role Assignments
4) Radio Scenarios
5) Radio Operations
6) Search and Rescue/ Size-Up Scenarios
7) Neighboring Team Scenarios
9) Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteers / Community Members
10) Post — Exercise Team Hot Wash
11) Overall, what went well?
12) Overall, what could have gone better?
13) Overall, what did you learn from this?
14) Feedback for the Exercise Planners
APPENDIX III. GLOSSARY OF TERMS
ARO - Amateur Radio Operators
FRS - Family Radio Service (two way walkie-talkies)