On June 27th, several participants from Adams County ARES took part in the annual amateur radio Field Day at Veterans Park located in Brighton, Colorado. Once every year, amateur radio operators across the country establish temporary ham radio stations, usually in a public place such as a park, shopping center parking lot, etc., for several reasons. One of which is to practice setting up a temporary operating position, such as might be needed during a disaster scenario, usually using emergency power (such as batteries or generators). Another reason the “hams” do this would be to contact as many other “hams” as possible during the 24 period, earning points, which I guess also turns this activity into a contest. Another reason is to try to showcase amateur radio to the public, so they are aware of “ham” radio and it’s capabilities. This reason, as well, introduces new people to ham radio, and tries to generate interest in those that may have thought about becoming involved in amateur radio.
EC Norm Brown, KB1SGJ, announced at our February 5th meeting that our annual meeting for Adams County, R1D1, ARES will take place on March 5th, 2015, at the normal location for our meetings, which is the Adams County Substation located at 4201 East 72nd Avenue Commerce City, CO 80022. The meeting will take place in the 2nd floor training room. All members are requested to attend this very important business meeting. See you there.
On August 7, 2014 the CBS Ch 4, Denver, Mobile Weather Lab vehicle visited the Adams County (R1D1) meeting at the Adams County Sheriff Substation at 4701 E. 72nd Ave. in Commerce City.
The Mobile Weather Lab (MWL) was operated by Mr. Rob McClure, a News Photojournalist at CBS Ch. 4. This visit was set up by Mr. Tim Wieland, News Director with help from Mr. Ed Greene, Senior Meteorologist at the television station.
Because weather plays a big part in the lives of Coloradans, the ARES group was happy to see a vehicle that was dedicated to following the weather and allowing the public to keep track of it. As storm spotters with the National Weather Service, it was fun to see technology that was used by the local television stations to track the weather, especially severe storms, and keep the general public informed and safe.
Adams County (R1D1) ARES would like to thank CBS Ch.4, Denver along with Mr. Tim Wieland, Mr. Ed Greene for helping to set this event up, and especially Mr. Rob McClure for taking the time to come and set up the Mobile Weather Lab and discuss it with us.
On June 28, 2014, Adams County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) and Brighton Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) participated in a tabletop exercise called Formidable Footprint, a nationwide exercise (found on the Disaster Resistant Communities Group website: http://www.drc-group.com/project/footprint.html ). Various disasters are setup by this group so that disaster response groups from around the country can exercise and respond to simulated disasters that might occur in their areas and exercise their operational plans and procedures.
Adams County ARES and Brighton CERT responded to a tornado that hit the town of Broken Willow (which replicated the town of Brighton, Colorado). The day started out with a simulated severe thunderstorm watch issued the National Weather Service (NWS) office, which soon was escalated to a tornado watch which involved Adams County ARES in their roles as weather spotters for the NWS. This soon evolved into a tornado warning, with several funnel clouds observed in and near the town of Broken Willow.
Within a short amount of time a tornado swept through the town, cutting electrical service to about 200 residents, and damaging numerous homes and businesses. Brighton CERT and Adams County ARES moved into town to start on initial search and rescue while Broken Willow’s emergency services organized, set up an incident command post, and took over the search and rescue efforts, while the CERT team continued to perform primary searches in other, less damaged parts of the town, and ARES took on a communications role within the incident command post as well as in a shelter established for those whose homes were deemed unlivable.
As the group was handling this incident, another incident occurred on the main highway that runs through town in which a semi-trailer truck transporting chlorine overturned and damaged the transport container releasing chlorine gas in the vicinity of the town of Broken Willow. The drift of the chlorine was into town and forced the relocation of the incident command post, as well as residents.
The simulated tornado and chlorine leak incidents were ended for the ARES and CERT teams as Broken Willow emergency management was able to regain communications and determine that everyone in town was accounted for.
This was a simulated situation, however, here in Brighton, CO it could happen and this is what Adams County ARES and Brighton CERT is training for, so when the real thing happens, they will be prepared. Lessons learned from this, as well as future exercises can go a long way to insure that we are ready for whatever comes our way.