City of Watertown - Division of Emergency Government

Amateur Radio Support Group-Emergency Communications Procedure Manual

I. Introduction and Purpose The purpose of this manual is to describe how amateur radio operators will provide communications in cooperation with the Division of Emergency Government in the event of an emergency in the City of Watertown. A. Amateur Radio Support Group - To facilitate communications in an emergency, an Amateur Radio Support Group ("ARSG") has been formed. Coordinators are responsible for recruiting, training and certifying licensed radio amateurs to participate in an emergency. Dan, KC9IKI, is the ARES/RACES Emergency Coordinator for the City of Watertown and is the primary ARSG coordinator. The Division of Emergency Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ARES in 1988 when the ARSG was formed. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service ("ARES") was organized in 1935 by the American Radio Relay League to help train amateur radio operators to provide emergency communications for various local agencies. The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service ("RACES") was created by the federal government after World War II to assist with civil defense types of emergencies which covered more than just a local area. Today radio amateurs who belong to ARES also are registered as RACES members. 1. Eligibility - All FCC licensed amateur radio operators who have a desire to serve shall be eligible to participate. 2. Membership - Interested persons must complete and sign an "ARSG Membership Request" form before participating. They also may have to sign a form permitting a law enforcement background check before membership approval. 3. Training and Certification - The coordinators will from time to time conduct appropriate training programs designed to result in operator competency to provide communications during times of emergency. All ARES/RACES members must complete the FEMA IS-700 course and either the ARRL Emcom Level I course or the FEMA IS-100 course by 12/31/06 and hold completion certificates. 4. ARSG Certification - Upon completion of required training, the coordinators shall ask the Division of Emergency Government to issue a picture "Identification Card" to the amateur which identifies him or her as an ARES/RACES member authorized to participate in the ARSG emergency government activities. B. Non-ARSG Members - Those licensed radio amateurs who have not attained ARES/RACES required certification or are not members of the ARSG also are encouraged to provide public service communications in the event of an emergency. Such amateurs may operate their own radio stations and contribute to the effectiveness of the ARSG by assisting the ARSG in communications to or from third parties. C. City of Watertown Director of Emergency Government - The Fire Chief of the City of Watertown has been appointed as the Director of Emergency Government for the City. He is the person who, in times of emergency, will be responsible for directing all activities. The ARSG will receive its instructions from him or his delegate, most likely a person designated by him as the Communications Officer. The Communications Officer shall be responsible for determining the extent to which communications are needed from the ARSG. The Fire Department uses the Incident Command System ("ICS"), so the persons directing the ARSG in each emergency may vary. D. Communications Activities - It is anticipated that the Communications Officer will request assistance of the ARSG in the following situations: 1. Local Emergency in Watertown Area - In the event of an emergency that is solely related to the City of Watertown and its surrounding area, the ARSG will be asked to provide communications to assist City officials and agencies such as the Police and Fire Departments. Such communications will be conducted using the Kenwood TM-V7A VHF/UHF radio, Astron power supply and 144/440 MHz. antenna located at the central command post (fire training Room 55) in the basement of the Watertown Fire Department, and portable radio equipment taken to any Emergency Operating Center ("EOC") established by the Communications Officer. In addition, individually-owned base, mobile and handheld units may be needed for ARSG operation at these and other official locations. Also, a 144/440 MHz. antenna has been installed near the Watertown Memorial Hospital Emergency Department and a 144/440 MHz. antenna is located at the Watertown High School Technology Center, should there be a need to assign an operator to those locations. 2. County-wide or State-wide Emergency - If the declared emergency extends beyond the local Watertown area, there will be a need to interface with and communicate with or through other emergency communication groups. The ARSG shall have received training so as to be able to provide such communications. This type of activity may involve participation in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service ("ARES"). An antenna feedline for the 80M and 40M dipoles at the Fire Department is located near the 144/440 MHz. feedline at the window to the command post. A Kenwood TS-450S HF radio and second Astron 20A power supply is located in the command post. The Watertown Amateur Radio Club has another HF transceiver which can be taken to and operated at an EOC location. 3. National Emergency - In the event that the emergency is of a national nature, it is possible that normal amateur radio communications will be suspended by the FCC. In that case it may be necessary for the ARSG to cease operations, unless it operates under authority of the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service ("RACES"). HF radio operations generally will be used. (See section 2 above regarding available equipment.) 4. Special Activities - Depending upon the type of disaster or emergency it may also be necessary for the ARSG to assist in formal traffic handling for such organizations as the American Red Cross. It is the intent of the ARSG that such third party activities only be provided if manpower is sufficient and further assistance is not needed by the Communications Officer of the Division of Emergency Government. -2- II. General Principles of Communications A. Primary Function - The primary function of the ARSG is to provide communications only when requested by the Division of Emergency Government. The ARSG does the communicating and the Division supplies the contents of the messages. The messages must be handled in confidence and any inquiries should be referred to the Division officials. Amateur operators shall make no public statements and shall not give out any information. B. Monitoring - During an emergency, all stations shall remain silent and monitor the assigned frequencies. Stations should only transmit when requested by the Net Control Station ("NCS"). C. Participation - ARSG members are to only appear and participate if asked by the Communications Officer and should otherwise stay out of the emergency areas. You are communicators, not first responders. ARSG members shall be familiar with the Incident Command System ("ICS"), since it will be used by the Division of Emergency Government. Following ICS procedures may mean that the Communications Officer may not always be the person directing ARSG members. Make sure you know who is in charge. D. Registration - The ARSG is an official part of the Division of Emergency Government and all operators must be registered with the Division and sign in and out when participating. Identification cards issued by the ARSG/Division must be presented before you will be allowed in the affected areas. Be sure to sign a duty roster at your assigned location, so you are covered by City insurance. E. Volunteering - Since all participation is strictly voluntary, if you are asked to do something that in your judgment may be injurious to your person or property, you may refuse to comply. If you are not going to participate you shall leave the affected area immediately. Remember, the job you perform has to have something to do with communications, even if indirectly connected. III. Alerting Procedures A. Coordinators - The Division of Emergency Government will contact the coordinators of the ARSG to notify them if an emergency arises. When the coordinators are notified they immediately shall contact the balance of the ARSG members to alert them. The first method of communication shall be the telephone. If telephone service is not available, amateur radio monitoring frequencies shall be utilized, or any other notification method. B. Official Roster of ARSG - The ARSG coordinators shall maintain an up- to-date roster of certified members, which shall include the name, address, telephone number and callsign. A copy of the current roster shall be placed on file with the Communications Officer, the Director of Emergency Government and the Watertown Police Department. C. Monitoring Frequencies - Those ARSG members who have access to 2-meter FM radios shall monitor the frequency 146.460 MHz. This frequency shall be used to alert members if the telephone is not operative. Other frequencies to use or check are: -3- 146.640 MHz. Rock River Radio Club Repeater - Juneau, WI (123.0 PL) 442.025 MHz. WA9YVE Repeater owned by Watertown Amateur Radio Club, UA - Ixonia, WI (114.8 PL) 857.2375, 858.2375, 859.2375 & 860.2375 MHz. Watertown Fire & Police Frequencies 154.295 MHz. Watertown Fire (Mutual Aid-Statewide) 154.785 MHz. Dodge County Sheriff 154.860 MHz. Jefferson County Sheriff 154.055 MHz. Jefferson County Emergency Pagers D. Declaring an Alert - The general procedure will be that an alert will be called by the Director of Emergency Government and communicated by the Communications Officer. However, it is possible that the first party recognizing an emergency will attempt to notify the ARSG or some other agency or group. If that occurs, relay the information to the Watertown Fire Department at 920-261-3610 or Watertown Police Department at 920-261-6660. When calling identify yourself as an amateur radio operator and member of the ARSG. If necessary remind the Police or Fire Department operator that they have a list on file and can verify your name from the list. If telephone service is not available use any alternative available. E. Standby Alerts - In certain instances the Communications Officer may call for a standby alert. ARSG members shall then assume a ready status, but shall not be deployed to emergency locations. F. Test Alerts - From time to time the Communications Officer may determine that a drill for the purpose of testing the communications network is appropriate. In such instances all emergency activities may be implemented, but it is important that frequent announcements be made that a test is being conducted and that a real emergency is not in progress. IV. Station Locations A. Deploying Persons to Stations When an Alert is Called 1. The ARSG coordinators shall dispatch two operators to the Net Control Station ("NCS") located at the central command post (Room 55) in the basement of the Fire Department, 106 Jones Street, Watertown. 2. The ARSG coordinators also shall dispatch two operators to any Emergency Operating Center ("EOC") established for such emergency. The EOC may be located in Fire Truck #1 which is generally where ICS orders are issued. Otherwise, the mobile vehicle station of the dispatched operators may become the EOC. 3. The persons dispatched to the NCS and EOC locations normally shall consist of a NCS operator or EOC operator and an ARSG coordinator. 4. If injuries are involved, the coordinators also may dispatch one or two operators to the Watertown Memorial Hospital where they shall set up a station using the antenna feedline terminating in the Emergency Room area. There is a separate ARES/RACES Activation Plan for the hospital, but it also is coordinated by the Fire Chief or his delegate and follows all these procedures. -4-

5. All members of the ARSG not dispatched to the NCS, EOC or Hospital locations shall monitor their own amateur radio stations at their base locations or in their automobiles. Assignments shall be made by the NCS, if necessary. 6. Before accepting an assignment be sure you have informed your family and secured your home. You will not be effective if you are worried about things at home, or if you have to leave the assigned location abruptly because you are called home. B. Equipment at Assigned Locations and Items to Bring 1. NCS Station - Claude Held, WA9KCU has a key to the building and the Room 55 command post, but if it is locked when you arrive you should request admittance to Room 55 by fire personnel by showing your Identification Card. It is located a few feet from the room where City Officials have their emergency operating center. The Communications Officer may be in that room. The NCS station in the command post is set up with a 20 amp Astron power supply and a 50 watt Kenwood TM-V7A 144/440 MHz. transceiver. A Kenwood TS-450S HF radio with another Astron 20 amp power supply is also set up. There also is a scanner and a computer running Windows 98. Additional cables, connectors and operating items are located in a red box labeled "WARC" under the table. It has a lock with the combination noted on it. A 144/440 MHz. antenna has been installed at approximately 95 feet on the City antenna tower. Dipoles for the 80M and 40M bands also are mounted on the tower. Both VHF and HF feedlines are hardline connected to 9913 and terminate at the window in the command post. The assigned operators will need to plug in the Woods power strip and connect the 144/440 MHz. and 80M/40M antennas to begin operations. Be sure to disconnect these same items when you depart to prevent lightning damage. The wall socket is generator powered for backup. 2. EOC Station - Persons assigned to the EOC station must take their own mobile or handheld radio, power supply or battery and an antenna. If you do not have a portable antenna as part of your jump kit, you may be able to use your mobile antenna, if you have coaxial cable to connect it. In addition, 440 MHz. capability would be useful at the EOC station. The Club also owns a Kenwood TS-570S HF radio (stored at N9HR's home) which could be used at an EOC site. G5RV dipole antennas also are available from the Club. 3. Hospital Station - The operator assigned to the Hospital should take an HT. A 2-meter J-pole antenna is permanently installed on the roof. It also works well on 440MHz. The feedline terminates in a room near the Emergency Department. It has a PL-259 connector. BNC and SMA adaptors and patch cables for your HT are stored in a bag marked with ARES and WARC labels. Be sure to bring your Identification Card and ask for Anna Heller, Hospital Safety Officer, to admit you to the radio room. There should be a VHF radio and power supply available in the near future. See the separate Activation Plan for Watertown Memorial Hospital for more details. Follow the procedures in this manual. -5- 4. High School Station - If appropriate, operators may be assigned to the High School Technology Center to operate using the discone antenna for for 144/440 MHz. operation. Bring a BNC or SMA adaptor for your HT. Obtaining access to the High School and room may be difficult. 5. Additional Mobile Units - ARSG members who are equipped with mobile 144/440 MHz. FM units may be assigned to appropriate locations throughout the area. Such mobile units should make sure that they have sufficient gasoline and other emergency items aboard. Check your jump kit list for appropriate items. Remember - do not go directly to the disaster scene, but check in first with the NCS, a coordinator or the emergency government Communications Officer. It is important to register before you take your post. You may have to do so via radio if you do not report to the NCS or EOC locations first. Without proper credentials you may not be allowed to participate and may not be covered by insurance. 6. Additional Base Stations - Those members of the ARSG who wish to remain in their homes and operate their base station equipment should listen to the monitoring frequencies and assume a stand-by alert status. 7. Jump Lists and Kits - Each ARSG member should have a jump list of items needed for an alert or activation. The first part of the list should include items that will be needed for a short duration activation, such as radio equipment, some water and a few personal items. The second part should include items needed if more than 12 hours of participation will be required, such as sleeping bags, food, medicines and additional personal items. Be sure you gather and store the items on the lists into containers or kits for quick access in an emergency. V. Net Control Station (NCS) A. Duties of NCS - The NCS acts as the director of operations for all amateur radio communications. As such it has the following specific duties: 1. Activating or silencing the net based upon instructions from the Communications Officer. 2. Coordinating traffic from within the net. 3. Dispatching traffic outside the net. 4. Providing for an alternate net control operator in the event the current operator must leave his post. 5. Conducting additional nets on HF frequencies, if necessary. 6. Keeping an accurate log of communications. B. Location - The NCS shall be located at the central command post station at the Fire Department, unless such station is inaccessible due to the emergency. In such event the NCS shall be established at a location at some other point within the area. -6- C. On the Air Format - During all tests, alerts and actual emergencies the same format shall be followed. Specific procedures are as follows: 1. Activation of the Net - The NCS will state: "This is (call sign) net control station of the Watertown Division of Emergency Government Amateur Radio Support Group operating on 146.460 MHz. An emergency net is now activated at (time). Only stations with emergency traffic should call net control at this time." 2. Stations calling with emergency traffic should respond: "(Call sign) with emergency traffic". The NCS will handle this traffic immediately. 3. "This net is convened for emergency traffic only. Those stations not directly involved are requested to keep this frequency clear." 4. "At this time we wish to take a roll call of ARSG members participating. Respond with your call sign and state whether you have traffic." 5. Stations should respond: "(Call sign) - no traffic or (call sign) - with traffic." After all check-ins are accounted for the NCS will receive the traffic from all stations having traffic. 6. The NCS will then request all stations not members of the ARSG to check in with or without traffic. 7. The NCS will then ask if there are any other check-ins. After all check-ins the NCS will announce information, issue assignments, ask stations to stand by, or secure the net, as appropriate. 8. Never leave the net without telling the NCS you are checking out. 9. The ARSG Coordinators, upon orders from the Communications Officer, shall advise the NCS to cease operations. At that time the NCS shall close and secure the net. VI. Operating Frequencies A. Primary Frequency - The primary monitoring and operating frequency for emergency communications is 146.460 MHz. In the event that this frequency is not usable, alternative frequencies in order of priority are: 145.72 MHz., 147.45 MHz. B. HF Frequencies - In the event that HF radio operation is required the voice monitoring or operating frequency shall be 3.997.5 or 3.975 MHz.(LSB) for 80M and 7.250 or 7.245 MHz. (LSB) for 40M. WC9AAG WEM in Madison uses these frequencies for emergency communications. Also try 3.985 MHz., the Badger Emergency Net. C. Other Frequencies - In certain instances other operating frequencies will be designated by the NCS. If packet radio is appropriate for message handling it should be conducted on 145.610 or 446.100 MHz. The WEM node is ARWEM. -7- VII. Message Handling A. Authentication - Messages to be transmitted shall be authenticated by the agency official originating the message and taking responsibility for its contents. B. Precedence - Messages should be given a precedence if possible such as: emergency, priority, welfare, or routine. C. Written - Messages should be in writing if possible. D. Length - Messages should be as short as possible without compromising accuracy. E. Formalities - Formal messages should consist of the following component parts in the order given: 1. Number. 2. Precedence (emergency, priority, welfare, or routine) and optional handling instructions. 3. Station of origin (sender's callsign-not author). 4. Check (number of words in text). 5. Place of origin (author's location). 6. Time filed. 7. Date. 8. Address (include zip and telephone number). 9. Text (use X for a period). 10. Signature. F. Acknowledgment - If traffic is copied successfully, the receiving station shall respond with a simple "Roger". G. Plain Language - Use plain language for all messages. You may use the ITU phonetic alphabet, but do not use any codes or other abbreviations. Exception - You may use the standard pro-signs used for formal ARRL message handling. H. Log Messages - Always log emergency and priority messages. Log all others, if possible. I. Privacy - If author requests privacy, you probably should not use amateur radio. Telephone, fax or direct delivery are better choices. J. Station Identification - Remember to identify your callsign at the end of each exchange, not after each transmission. Follow normal FCC rules. VIII. Severe Weather Special Procedure A. Activation - At the request of the Communications Officer or the National Weather Service the ARSG may be asked to assist in severe weather conditions. -8-

B. Monitoring - If a severe weather watch or warning is issued all stations should monitor the primary monitoring frequency. If asked to do so, the NCS will report the status of the emergency and activate the net. It will indicate whether it is a stand-by alert or an emergency alert. An emergency alert will generally exist upon issuance of a tornado warning or severe thunder storm warning for Dodge and/or Jefferson Counties. Note: Under those conditions a net is usually conducted on the Juneau Repeater at 146.64 MHz. It would be redundant to conduct a separate net in Watertown, unless the ARSG is requested to do so. C. Spotters - Spotters will be assigned specific sectors and shall report the following: 1. Report only what you have actually seen and observed or what law enforcement, fire or other public officials have confirmed. 2. Report no other information. 3. Make a note of the actual time of the observance. 4. Give as accurate a location as possible. 5. Describe the storm speed, direction and severity. 6. Look for the following: tornadoes on the ground, funnel clouds aloft, hail, strong winds. 7. To estimate wind speed use these guides: 25 - 31 MPH - large branches moving, whistling heard in overhead wires. 32 - 38 MPH - whole trees moving, inconvenience in walking. 39 - 46 MPH - small branches and twigs break, impedes walking. 47 - 54 MPH - slight structural damage, large branches and weak limbs break. 55 - 63 MPH - moderate structural and tree damage. 64 & above - heavy to severe structural and tree damage. D. Repeater Monitoring - During a severe weather alert it may be advisable for some ARSG members to monitor repeater frequencies to become aware of information from other nets. Such assignments shall be made by the NCS. Some of the important frequencies are: 146.640 MHz. Juneau 147.150 MHz. Madison 145.130 MHz. Milwaukee 146.670 MHz. Milwaukee 146.730 MHz. Washington County 146.820 MHz. Delafield 146.880 MHz. Baraboo -9- IX. Incident Command System A. General Principles - ICS provides an organizational framework of management tools to bring multiple agencies under single overall command. B. Management by Objective - It is necessary to understand policies, procedures and laws and then establish incident objectives, select strategies for cooperation and resource use, and finally apply tactics for objectives. C. Organizational Structure 1. Incident Commander has Command Staff - information, safety and liaison officers. 2. Operating sections consist of planning, operations, logistics and finance/administration. D. Amateur Radio - Amateur radio usually fits under logistics, which includes transportation, communications, medical support, personnel resources, food services and supplies. X. Summary The preceding pages have outlined the fundamental principles of amateur radio communications in the event of an emergency. The explanations have been very brief to allow for quick reading in the event of an emergency. It is anticipated that instruction and training beyond that provided in this manual will be necessary for successful operations by the ARSG. Also, please use the pre-emergency, emergency and post-emergency Quick Reference Guide which cites specific sections of this manual for more detailed explanations. Please direct any questions or suggestions to the Coordinators of the ARSG. Rev: September 7, 2006


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