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Brighton Safety Fair

John Murphy, KCØJPO, Adams County PIO was at the Brighton Safety Fair on Saturday on May 31st from 10AM to 2 PM and met some other hams who were either inactive or not aware of ARES in Adams County. He also met a lot of people who were not familiar with amateur radio and how it could help them and their family prepare for a disaster, as well as how we supported those in the recent flooding who were cutoff of from the outside world due to cellphones and land lines not working, as well as during power outages.He was able to enlighten some about amateur radio and ARES,as well as generate interest in ham radio in general, but ARES in particular.

Adams County (R1D1) Booth at Brighton Safety Fair

Adams County, R1D1, Booth at Brighton Safety FairPoster display on the table

CERT Booth at the Brighton Safety Fair           Air Life Helicopter Landing at the Brighton Safety Fair

CERT Booth at Brighton Safety FairAirLife Helicopter Landing at the Brighton Safety Fair

Attendee’s at the Brighton Safety Fair watching the Air Life helicopter preparing to depart

Brighton Safety Fair attendees watching the Airlife helicopter

Region 1 District 1 Weather Spotting Network

On May 20th the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) requested SKYWARN trained Amateur Radio Operators to engage in weather spotting for the Colorado ARES Region 1, which includes mainly the North Central area of Colorado including the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Elbert and Jefferson. This was the main area of severe weather expected by the NWS.  SKYWARN spotters are just that, spotters and reporters, and not chasers.  They provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, and the main responsibility of a SKYWARN spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In an average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States and these events threaten lives and property.   Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN trained spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data. This information has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods which have saved countless lives.

Region 1District 1 (Adams County, CO) primarily focuses on Adams County, however, if need be they can spot in the surrounding areas as well.  When a weather net is setup, spotters report their observations to the net controller via amateur radio on a local county frequency, who then passes significant observations to the NWS via amateur radio on regional frequency to assist in their forecasting and, when necessary, the issue of appropriate alerts and warnings.

On Tuesday, May 20th, ARES Region 1 District 1 setup a weather net at 2:45 PM local time as did many other districts in the region.  This was the beginning of a three day weather event.  Heavy thunderstorms ran through the area.  Our net had six weather spotters check in and give reports on conditions in their area.  No severe weather was observed by R1D1 spotters on that day and the net closed at 5:08 PM.

On Wednesday, May 21st, more severe weather was expected so the ARES R1D1 Weather Net setup again at 12:45 PM with ten spotters checking into the net to give observations.  Many rotating wall clouds and hail was reported.  A few tornados were spotted and all was reported back to the NWS Boulder. There was lots of weather activity that day and the net was closed at 5:34 PM.

On Thursday, May 22nd , more severe weather was expected so the ARES R1D1 Weather Net was again setup at 1:30 PM, with nine spotters checking in to give observations.  Areas of flooding and scud clouds appearing to be funnels were observed.  Even though this was more of a calm day, there was much activity with one spotter reporting an accident due to water over the roadway and hydroplaning being the cause.  The net closed at 6:05 PM.

Wall Could in NE Colorado on May 20th, 2014

Wall Could in NE Colorado on May 20th, 2014

Wall could near Bennett, CO on May 21st, 2014

 wall cloud near Bennett Colorado

Training: Operation Strange Brew

On Saturday, April 12, 2014, I had the opportunity to attend the training session arranged by Perry Lundquist, W6AUN, the North Central Region EC. We first put together a simulated weather response for the National Weather Service (NWS) requesting spotters in the field as well as flood watch spotters requested by the various county Emergency Managers(EMs). This was basically done to get experience of completing the IC-205 with details of the use of your county’s various radio frequencies as well as a discussion of the various district’s alerting methods. After a quick lunch break, we were treated to a presentation on HAZMAT placarding and labeling as well as transportation in Colorado, given by Randy Perlis, CDOT HAZMAT Department.

This lead to the main part of the exercise, Operation Strange Brew, which started with a simulated train car derailment as well as an accident with the rail car with a truck hauling construction materials at the intersection of E. 80th St, Highway 2 and Rosemary St in Commerce City, and message traffic giving wind direction and speed, as well as there were already casualties involved as well as several schools and residential areas in the immediate area, which prompted the involvement of Adams County (R1D1) ARES, as requested by Adams County EM, which led to a Mutual Aid involvement from JeffCo, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas-Elbert and Boulder county ARES.

Overall, this was a very good exercise, involving not only the efficient use of radio frequencies but the also the efficient use of the CO ARES chains of command, with the District EC’s communicating with the Region EC who was communicating with the other District EC’s and vice versa. In the opinion of this writer, it was an effective training exercise along with good information provided by both Perry Lundquist, W6AUN, and Randy Perlis of CDOT HAZMAT Department.

Did you say there was Hazardous materials in the areaHAZMAT Training  by Randy PerlisHAZMAT TrainingMembers of Arapahoe ARES listening intently to Randy Perlis

Continue reading “Training: Operation Strange Brew”

Colorado Skywarn EC and Liaison for the National Weather Service gives presentation to R1D1 ARES

At our regular Thursday night meeting on April 6th, 2014, after a presentation by Norm, KB1SGJ, our EC, regarding upcoming activities and exercses, we had an opportunity to hear a presentation from Randy Reynard, WØRDR, who is the Colorado EC for Skywarn and the NWS Liaison for the Colorado Section. He discussed the proper weather net procedures as well reporting guidelines.DSCF0151DSCF0152

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Continue reading “Colorado Skywarn EC and Liaison for the National Weather Service gives presentation to R1D1 ARES”

Winter Survival Tips

Snow and or severe cold can be potentially life threatening, and every year we see cold and snow related deaths. Everyone is potentially at risk during winter storms. The actual threat to you depends on your specific situation.
Related to ice and snow:
• About 70% occur in automobiles.
• About 25% are people caught out in the storm.
Related to exposure to cold:
• 50% are people over 60 years old.
• Over 75% are males.
• About 20% occur in the home.
Definitions:
• Frostbite – Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by that tissue being frozen.
o Warning signs:
 Loss of feeling
 White or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of the nose.
o Caring for frostbite:
 If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately!
 If you must wait for help, slowly re-warm affected areas. Some pain is normal here.
 If the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.
• Hypothermia – Low body temperature.
o Warning signs:
 Uncontrollable shivering
 Memory loss
 Disorientation
 Incoherence
 Slurred speech
 Drowsiness
 Apparent exhaustion
o Detecting and caring for hypothermia:
 Take the person’s temperature. If it’s below 95°F (35°C), immediately seek medical care!
 If medical care is not available:
 Get the person out of wet or moist clothing, and wrap them in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Dress them in warm dry clothing if possible.
 Begin warming the person slowly.
 Warm the body core first. If needed, use your own body heat to help.
 DO NOT:
 Do not give the person alcohol, drugs, coffee, or any hot beverage or food; warm broth is better.
 Do not warm extremities (arms and legs) first! This drives the cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure.
• Wind Chill – The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the combined effects of wind and temperature. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Animals are also affected by wind chill. (Note: In recent month, wind chill has been replaced by ‘FEELS LIKE’, but it is still the same)
If you are stranded during a Winter Storm…
• Outside
1. Find shelter. If you cannot find shelter:
 Prepare a lean-to, wind-break, or snow cave for protection from the wind.
 Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
 Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
2. Try to stay dry.
3. Cover all exposed parts of the body to retain heat and protect from the wind.
4. Do not eat snow! It will only lower your body temperature and provide relatively small amounts of water. Melt it first.
• In a car or truck
1. Stay in your car or truck.
 Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow / cold.
 A car or truck is much easier for rescue crews or snowplows to find, greatly increasing your odds of survival.
2. Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat.
 Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow to allow exhaust to escape.
 Open a window a little for fresh air to help prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
3. Make yourself visible to rescuers.
 Turn the dome light on at night when running engine.
 Tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.
 Raise the hood, indicating trouble, after snow stops falling.
4. Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers, and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.
• At home or in a building
o Stay inside.
o When using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc.:
 Use fire safeguards.
 Properly ventilate.
o If there is no heat source available:
 Close off unneeded rooms.
 Stuff towels or rags in the cracks under the doors.
 Cover windows, especially at night.
o Eat. Food provides the body with necessary fuel to produce its own heat.
o Drink. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Dehydration occurs more rapidly in cold, dry weather like we typically have in Colorado.
o Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration, and subsequent chill.
Colorado sees it share of snow during the winter months. The best time to prepare for the next snow is now while the weather is mild and dry. Take an inventory of your winter supplies both for the car and the home and stock up on items that you need. Store shelves often go bare very quickly ahead of an approaching winter storm. Planning and stocking up well before-hand is best. Be prepared and the winter snows will be a lot less bothersome.

ARES Members Additional Preparation
All Adams County members are encouraged to monitor weather as they can change rapidly. Having the following equipment will make you more prepared and ready if/when a winter weather call-up is made:
NOAA All Hazards Radio
Back up Battery for your home station
Back up power for your HT’s
A AA Battery pack in case you cannot charge your ‘normal’ HT batteries
Keep your vehicle filled with enough fuel to be able to respond
Make sure your anti-freeze is properly mixed and filled to the appropriate levels
Have a winter survival kit in your vehicle, even if you are only driving around town, you may not need it, but you may come across someone who does
Take any other appropriate actions to make yourself ‘winter ready’

Adams County ARES (R1D1) Assists With Colorado Flood Disaster Response

Region 1 – District 1 (Formerly District 27) ARES was deployed on September 12th, 2013 in support of Commerce City Flooding. Due to the September Front Range major flooding and road closures a shelter was setup in the Adams City High School on the afternoon of 9/12/13. The Red Cross started to setup the shelter and quickly discovered that cell phone coverage for that area was bad. A request for Amateur Radio operators to provide communications was sent to Red Cross Headquarters. Emit Hurdelbrink, W0UAW, the Colorado ARES Section leader sent a request to R1D1 ARES in Adams County for support.

Within 2 hours Amateur Radio Communications were setup and providing a clear link to the Red Cross Headquarters and the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The shelter saw a flux of 150 to 200 people with 150 people spending the night. With the communications link closed — food, water, cots and a dumpster were provided for the shelter. The shelter manager was greatly appreciative of our efforts and said we made things happen.  The shelter was open for 30 hours then demobilized.

Adams City High School
Adams City High School

Message From The Emergency Coordinator

From: Norman Brown
To: All Adams County ARES Members
Subject: Members of R1D1 ARES

Hi Everyone,

I am your new Emergency Coordinator for Adams County. First I would like to say thank you for your continued support and a special thanks to Carol Hurdelbrink for her service and support in this transition.

I have been involved with Adams County ARES for the past 2 1/2 years. I retired from Region 1 FEMA about three years ago. Emergency management has always been a passion of mine and I am excited to be involved again with ARES communications.

It’s going to take me a little while to get the lay of the land. But I have already begun to reach out to some of our Emergency Management customers to introduce myself.

One of the first things I would like to do is to re-validate our membership roster. I understand that by using the member@ adamscountyares.org address it will post to everyone in our address book. My problem is I have no idea how current the address book is.

Can you please send me an email to: <removed> stating your status?

Are you still interested in being an ARES Member?
If so can I get your Name, Call Sign, Phone Number?

We are looking into updating the Web Site and current Email system to refresh our information.

Thank you so much and I hope you will still be involved in the Region 1 District 1 ARES group.