Yakima Herald: Trained Volunteers May Be the First to Reach Victims

The Yakima Herald had an article on CERT volunteers and training last year – In an emergency, trained volunteers may be the first to reach victims. Yakima County has an active CERT program. Benton County does not. If you live in Yakima County, you can take advantage of the training from CERT. They do a “CERT Basic Course” for volunteers which includes:

Disaster Preparedness: Addresses hazards specific to the community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during and after a disaster as well as an overview of CERT and local laws governing volunteers.

Fire Suppression: Covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.

Medical Operations Part I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

Medical Operations Part II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.

Light Search and Rescue Operations: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques and rescuer safety.

Psychology and Team Organization: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers, and addresses CERT organization and management.

Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants review and practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in a disaster activity.

Excerpt from the Yakima Herald article:

If an earthquake, volcanic eruption, wildfire or flood hits the Yakima Valley, you might not see firefighters or paramedics in your neighborhood for a while.

The experience in other disasters has shown that professional first responders can be overwhelmed as they deal with urgent needs, or they might not be able to get to where people need help because roads and bridges are out.

Instead, help for your neighborhood may come from people in green vests and hard hats like Paul Jenkins, a volunteer coordinator with the county’s Community Emergency Response Team

The team has quarterly training exercises and participates in events such as a recent drill at the Yakima Air Terminal, as well as activations of the county’s emergency operations center in Union Gap.

While some people may think that firefighters, police and paramedics will be on the scene right away when a disaster strikes, Jenkins said they could easily be swamped with calls for help in an emergency, or the nature of the disaster might cut off access for a time.

Jenkins has been called out for flooding in West Valley, wildfire near Moxee and the Miriam Fire, where he helped distribute literature and provide security at the site. He was also sent to Outlook to help get information and bottled water to residents after an overflowing manure pond contaminated local wells.

While there are 60 people currently trained, Ward and Jenkins would like to see more people get involved, as it will give them skills to cope in a disaster…

CSG: Hard Target Traveler Class, Feb. 16, 2019

Combat Studies Group has a new one day class – Hard Target Traveler. This would be a good class if you travel a lot, have kids going off to college in the big city or off on a mission, or just want to feel safer when traveling.

This class will be held in the Benton City, WA area on Saturday, February, 16th, 2019. Contact CSG at either frost@bitmessage.ch or frost@unseen.is in order join the class. You will need to make a $100 deposit on the class through the CSG store web page (click here). On that page scroll down to near the bottom, above the comments, where it says “Class Deposit.”

* The Hard Target Traveler *

Course length: one day (8-10 hrs classroom, with combatives lab)

Required materials: comfortable clothing, note taking materials

A condensed course to prepare the western traveler for the potential hazards of foreign travel as well as threats on the homefront. Subjects covered include: Counter-surveillance, route planning, unarmed physical defense & improvised weapons, escape and evasion from unlawful custody, digital security and communications, medical and other trade-craft skills.

Course objectives:

By the end of this course students will be able to demonstrate the following:

    • Conduct useful information gathering on an area prior to arrival
    • Identify trouble/danger areas using map study and OSINT
    • Identify indicators of human and digital surveillance
    • Prevent common vehicle attacks
    • Escape from common physical attacks and holds
    • Defend against blunt and edged weapon attacks
    • Render self and buddy aid in event of life threatening injury
    • Escape from various restraints
    • Setup and utilize secure communication channels
    • Setup an emergency cache and explain the different types
    • Treat/prevent various ailments and diseases with off-the-shelf remedies
    • Avoid and/or escape a riot or mob
    • Identify and explain safe houses and safe zone

Cost: $275

 

Sparks31: Monitoring Exercise/Contest, Dec. 7, 2018

Sparks31 has announced a monitoring exercise (MONEX) for the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7th, 2018. Participants will be entered into a drawing for a free 2019 class of his. A MONEX is a good way to gain familiarity with using your equipment, listening for signals, and recording activity within your listening range. Sparks31 has at least a couple of classes in Washington state, including one in the Yakima valley, in 2019.

MONEX: Pearl Harbor – 07DEC2018

MONEX: Pearl Harbor

Date/Time

07DEC2018 – 0000-2359 UTC
Equipment Required
SSB/CW/digital HF receiving capability from 1600-28000 KHz.
Procedure
  • User selects frequency range(s) from Table 1, above.
  • User performs band/sector searches on selected frequency ranges for at least 1 hour during time frame specified.
  • User logs following data: DATE, TIME, FREQUENCY, MODE, CALLSIGNS(?), TRAFFIC, MISC NOTES/COMMENTS
  • User posts log as a comment to this post, and via email to sparks31wyo@gmail.com.

All qualifying participants will be entered into a drawing for one (1) free admission to any one 2019 Class. To qualify, at least three complete log entries must be submitted.

Click here for more details at Sparks31.

Sparks31 Introduces Basic Grid-Down Communications Class

Sparks31 has introduced a new class which will debut in Watertown, CT – Basic Grid-Down/Down-Grid Communications (combined with his SIGINT class). Sparks will be bringing some classes to Washington state (including Yakima and Seattle) in 2019, and hopefully this class may be added to the lineup. Communication is critical in a disaster. Can you still communicate with those you need to if the internet and phone system go down?

This is a one-day class that covers all the basics you need to set up your monitoring post, collect signals intelligence (SIGINT), get on the air with amateur radio and personal communications services (FRS, GMRS, MURS, CB, Part 15), and establish communications networks and interoperability with other like-minded individuals.

Topics of instruction include the following:

  • Learning about Electronic Communications – A Primer
  • Communications Monitoring HF-to-UHF
  • Intelligence versus Information
    • Intelligence Requirements
  • SIGINT – Signals Intelligence
  • Listening Posts and SIGINT Operations
  • Communications Services
    • Amateur Radio
    • Part 95 & 15 (license-free or “license by rule” services)
  • Communications Networks
    • Interoperability – What it is, and how to make it work.
  •  Increasing System Performance
    • Antennas
  • Grid-Down versus Down-Grid Realities
  • Basic Crypto Systems and When It Is Legal to Use Them
  • Alternatives to Radio Communications
Cost for this class is $100. Please enroll via our storefront at https://squareup.com/store/sparks31/.

Personal Defense World: How and When to Start Teaching Kids to Shoot

Personal Defense World has an article up 5 Experts on How and When You Should Start Teaching Kids to Shoot

To train or not to train? That is the loaded question. In a world with extreme conservative versus liberal views and a media that spins numbers with misleading statistics, you will find some varying passionate answers to this question. When should you start teaching kids to shoot?

If you’re looking up statistics, I would urge you to proceed with caution. There is a lot of “spin.” While the numbers may be correct, the way they are presented is typically deceptive to serve propaganda purposes. For example, you will see certain numbers for “children killed by guns” per year. The information you are not getting is that, in these stats, a child is considered anyone under the age of 21. So while your mind is picturing a young child who has accidentally shot his or herself or someone else, the reality is that the majority are older teens and young adults who have intentionally committed a crime. Guns do not kill people. People with ill intent wielding guns do. I believe there is a greater need for fixing our moral compass rather than expand gun control.

There are cases, however, where a child has found a firearm and horrible accidents have occurred. This can be totally thwarted with proper education and training. If you have firearms in your home as well as children, you have a responsibility to educate and train them on gun safety. Taking it a step further, training them to shoot under your guidance is even more beneficial.

To get a better understanding in this area, I asked five firearms experts to weigh in on how and when to begin training young shooters.

Fred Mastison — President of Force Options Tactical Training Solutions

I am a firm believer in teaching kids to shoot. There are many reasons for this, but two main points are safety and self-confidence. If you have firearms in the home, it is important that kids understand them in totality. Not only that they are potentially dangerous, but if they are treated with respect, they can be enjoyable. Kids that learn to shoot safely and correctly gain a level of self-confidence that is tough to find elsewhere…

Click here to read the entire article at PDW.

Forward Observer: Community Security eBook

Sam Culper at Forward Observer has written a short (sixteen pages) ebook on Intelligence and Community Security. It’s a ‘quick start’ guide to understanding intelligence for community security and emergency preparedness.

The writing is on the wall. It couldn’t be more clear.

Our power grids are critically vulnerable.

“As an almost 30-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force with leadership experience in intelligence and cyber warfare, and as a current member of the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, I know we are highly vulnerable to a cyber-attack on our electric grid.

Such an attack could have devastating, long-term consequences for our economy, our national security – for our very way of life.”

Those are the recent words of Don Bacon (R-NE), a retired Air Force Brigadier General who was in charge of the Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) strategy program.

This “news” about the power grid shouldn’t be news to anyone, but it drives home a very good point…

If you care about your wife, children, family, and neighborhood, you should spend some time preparing for the effects of a cyber attack like the one Rep. Bacon describes.

The emergency preparedness community is so quick to focus on “bullets, beans, and band-aids” that they often overlook the value of local intelligence gathering.

Intelligence is probably the single-most overlooked aspect of preparedness, yet it should be a central part of your preparedness plans.

I’ll state the case:

If you’re concerned about a cyber attack or a grid-down event, you’re not actually preparing for those events. You’re preparing for the effects of those events.

But how do you know what the specific local effects will be, and how can you be sure?

Only intelligence can inform you of the second- and third-order effects of an event of this magnitude.

Only intelligence can inform you of very specific threats you may experience in the area.

Only intelligence can inform you of the likelihood that your neighborhood will suffer from looters, even worse criminals, and further systems disruption.

Bullets, beans, and band-aids will get you through periods of emergency, but they can’t inform your expectations of what will happen in the future.

That’s the value of intelligence…

Sam Culper says to share the ebook far and wide.  Click here to download Forward Observer’s Intelligence & Community Security ebook. It may only be freely available for a limited time.

So here’s what I want you to do…

PRINT IT.

Forward this email to your friends.

Give the book away.

Read it this weekend.

Have your friends read it this weekend.

And then act on it.

For the rest of this weekend, you can access the book here.

American Partisan: Deception Detection

From Kit Perez at American Partisan comes this article 3 Principles That Will Help You See Deception Right Now, briefly laying out some instructions for detecting untruth in statements.

With all the ruckus about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the accusations against him, it’s being driven home once again that deception detection is a critical skill. When it comes to your groups and activities, it could end up being the difference between security and infiltration.

Analyzing people’s written or verbal statements for deception is a learned and perishable skill. As you get better at it, the principles get more advanced. Eventually you can construct a profile of the person, identifying far more than whether they are being deceptive. You’ll be able to see their core motivators, their agendas, and more. This gives you the ability to see past what their goals are, and thwart or pervert those goals.

There are many principles behind this type of analysis. To get started, however, we’ll just look at three basic ones, and we’ll use a sentence from Kavanaugh accuser Christine Ford as our example.

As with any analysis, we will start with the belief that she is telling the truth. When I sit down to begin analyzing a statement or constructing a profile, I start with the assumption that I am looking at truthful words from a truthful person. If my assessment changes, it is based upon their own words. They’ll need to talk me out of believing them. So let’s get started.

Principle 1: People mean what they say.

Speech in someone’s native language is so ingrained that it is beyond second nature; it’s instinct. Speech conveys visceral concepts like possession; even the smallest of toddlers understands the idea of “mine.”

The free editing process is where someone is given the chance, space, time, and freedom to relay information using their own words to convey what they want conveyed. They choose the words, they choose the concepts, they choose what they tell you. That means, you can trust that what they tell you is what they meant to tell you.

That doesn’t mean they’re telling you the whole truth. You see, most deception is done by omission, not fabrication. Find the information that’s being left out, and you’ll find the sensitive information that changes the scope of the bigger picture.

The good news is that people telegraph the information they’re trying so hard to keep out. As people, we can’t help it. The brain knows what it knows, and leaving information out (or fabricating it) causes internal stress that the brain will try to avoid…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

John Mosby: New Pistol Book Now Shipping

John Mosby of Mountain Guerrilla has announced that his new book Guerrilla Gunfighter, Volume One: Clandestine Carry Pistol is now shipping.

The new book is titled Guerrilla Gunfighter, Volume One: Clandestine Carry Pistol. This is the Clandestine Carry Pistol course, in book form, with a great deal more information. The book so far, which is at the editor now, runs just over 300 pages (which is largely unheard of in a pistol training book). The book covers the usual “Here is how you shoot a pistol,” content, but then goes on to put that content into context, illustrating and discussing different contextual applications of those core skills. It also includes a complete training program-of-instruction (POI), and a sustained practice program, as well as in-depth discussion of fighting mindset development, weapon and support gear selection and set-up, and optimization of sub-prime weapon choices, when you have to run whatever happens to be available.

Pastor Joe Fox of Viking Preparedness has a short video review up:

There’s also a longer review over at ZeroGov by John Meyers. Click here. Scroll down a bit when you get there to get to the review.

…When I first started in on the book late one evening, the introduction immediately drew me in. It dives into the context of clandestinely carrying a pistol. I knew from classes I’ve taken with Mosby that he was an advocate of carrying a gun whether it is legal to do so or not. Not very many in the training industry recommend this to say the least. It’s one thing to say it in a class of somewhat ‘vetted’ folks it’s another to put it in print. In fact most trainers won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. Mosby explains this phenomenon better than I can:

In a training industry full of law-and-order apologists, many of whom are either off duty police officers, retired police officers, or have gotten reserve officer status from a friendly local police chief, that allow them to carry legally in places and at times forbidden to “lesser” subjects, I tend to be one of the lone dissenting voices that openly encourages people to carry their damned gun, even when its not legal where you are going!”

While this has a certain ‘stick it to the man!’ zeal, it comes from a realistic threat assessment of knowing that the places the state usually forbids one from carrying are possibly the most likely places you’ll need to employ your CCW gun. You may have to ‘roll dirty’ one day. Decide for yourself.

Mosby has a different take on mindset than most. The guy may talk about ‘tribe’ in the blogosphere, but knowing the guy on somewhat of a personal level, he actually lives it. What other firearms instructor dedicates most of a chapter to detailing the failings of the justice system and how “private” violence based on justice may be legitimate? He challenges the State’s claim to a monopoly on violence. Part of his description of law enforcement may challenge one’s modern American sensibilities. He states that the best thing the average middle class suburban type person can do for ‘mindset’ is recognize that “the police are not coming to save you. If you use force, they’re probably going to arrest you. The State is not there to protect you, it is there to protect the State.”…

Columbia Safety: Wilderness First Aid, Oct. 6, 2018

Columbia Safety will hold a one day Wilderness First Aid class on Saturday, Oct. 6. The fee is $125.

Click here for more information and registration.

An intensive 8- to 10-hour course for those who are involved in wilderness recreation. This course may also meet the needs of volunteers and professionals who lead groups on short trips in relatively low-risk situations.

Most first aid classes assume that an ambulance or other advanced medical attention will be minutes away.  While wilderness first aid still assumes that you will eventually have the same, it also trains for the additional time that you may need to stabilize a patient before that happens. This makes the class good for those preparing for disaster aid situations.

Inland NorthWest Preparedness Expo, Sept. 22-23, 2018 – Sandpoint, ID

The Inland Northwest Preparedness Expo will take place at the Bonner County Fairgrounds, Sandpoint, ID on September 22 and 23rd. While this expo is not related to our own Northwest Preparedness Expo in Prosser, we do know a lot of the speakers involved, having hosted them for our own expo or as separate speakers for our assembly. There are a lot of good people presenting here, and it looks like it would be worth your time to attend.

http://inwprepexpo.com/

 

Speaker schedule:

Saturday, 9/22
Time Slot Title Speaker Room
9:15 – 9:30
Flag Ceremony Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts Main Floor
9:30 – 9:45
Event Welcome Glen Bailey,
County Commissioner
A
10:00 – 10:50
Go Bags: Survive the First 72 Hours Lee Lukehart,
Bonner County ARES
A
Active Shooter! Ranger Rick B
11:00 – 11:50
Hazardous Fuel Treatment Mark Sauter,
Selkirk Fire Dept
A
Gunshot Trauma First Response Ranger Rick B
12:00 – 12:50
Water Storage & Purification Nick Mechikoff,
Panhandle Health
A
Handgun Safety and Operation Russell Spriggs,
The Pistol Prof
B
1:00 – 1:50
Prepping from a Woman’s Perspective Shelby Gallagher, author
A Great State: The Divide
B
2:00 – 2:50
Prepping 2.0 Glen Tate, author
299 Days Series
B
3:00 – 3:50
Intro to Prepper Gardening Patrice Lewis A
Intro to Emergency Communications John Jacob Schmidt,
AmRRON
B
4:00 – 4:50
Medicinal Herbs Dr. Carla Northcott, PhD A
Meal in A Jar Janiene Rise, THRIVE Freeze Dried Food B
Sunday, 9/23
Time Slot Title Speaker Room
10:00 – 10:50
Go Bags: Survive the First 72 Hours Lee Lukehart,
Bonner County ARES
A
Medicinal Herbs Carla Northcott, PhD B
11:00 – 11:50
Overview of Idaho Water Rights & Permitting Brian Domke, Strategic Landscape Design A
Introduction to Emergency Communications John Jacob Schmidt,
AmRRON
B
12:00 – 12:50
Community Force Craig Nelson, Bonner County Sheriff’s Office A
Ladies First: How to choose a handgun Russell Spriggs,
The Pistol Prof
B
1:00 – 1:50
Prepping 2.0 Glen Tate, author
299 Days Series
B
2:00 – 2:50
Prepping from a Woman’s Perspective Shelby Gallagher, author
A Great State: The Divide
B
3:00 – 3:50
Wood Gas — The Other Solar Energy Steve Honkus A
Beekeeping TBD B
4:00 – 4:50 B
Ham Radio Field Communications Richard Howell, NQ7C
North Idaho Militia
A
Critical Considerations when deciding on solar, wind, hydro and hydrocarbons Thomas Quinlin, Idaho Solar & Energy Storage B

Brushbeater RTO Course – Why You Should Take It

One of our members recently attended the Brushbeater RTO Course. He has written up his thoughts on why you should take the RadioTelephone Operator course if you can.

Earlier this month I attended Brushbeater’s RadioTelephone Operators course taught by NC Scout. Other people have done reviews of the class (see here and here), so I am going to structure this a little differently. Rather than give a blow by blow of the course as others have already done, I’ll try tell you why you, as a prepper, or member of a Neighborhood Protection Team (NPT), or member of a Mutual Assistance Group (MAG), should take this course.

The purpose of the RTO course is to teach you how to communicate via radio and do so effectively as a member of a communications team. Communication is the act of transferring information from one place to another. Successful communications means that the information has been correctly and effectively transferred from the sender to the receiver. How many ways can that go wrong in radio communication? You may be surprised. The RTO class attempts to identify and rectify some of those common problems.

First, you may not be talking to the right person in the right place. For this, you need a communication plan, or Signals Operating Instructions (SOI). The plan tells you how to identify/authenticate to whom you are talking. It tells you where (what frequency) to contact them. If you can’t speak to them on that first, primary frequency, then you have an alternate frequency and then a third, contingency frequency. Finally, the plan lays out an emergency method of communication. You may have one plan that you use week in and week out for practice with your team or for supporting public service events, but you should practice changing it as well. And if you are preparing for some sort of TEOTWAWKI SHTF WROL WTFBBQ where your NPT is fighting off the golden horde type of event, you’ll want to change it every day.

Choosing the correct frequencies for the location and distance across which you need to make contact is a part of this planning, too. Will line-of-sight frequencies be appropriate or are beyond-line-of-sight frequencies required? What frequencies do everyone’s radios cover? To what frequencies does any possible adversary have access? If our radios cover a frequency, is the antenna on the radio sufficient to make the contact? If not, can you build a field expedient antenna that will be better?

Make sure you can talk to the person you want, and that it actually is the person you expect – check.

Next, you need to transfer all of the information without forgetting or leaving out anything important. Here the RTO course emphasizes standardized report formats. Most of these have come from NC Scout’s prior military experience. You can modify these for your own group or make up new ones; the important thing is to standardize them and to not modify them to leave out anything important. Many experienced radio operators or prior-military service personnel are familiar with the SALUTE report (size, activity, location, uniform, time, equipment) for reporting enemy information, but there are many other useful reports as well.

A good example is the arrival report, used to tell the command element that you have arrived at the location where you were sent. In my own experience with public service and emergency response, your arrival is typically only sent with something like, “Net control, this is Wxxxx. I have arrived at Spokane Memorial.” While having an entire report for arrival, may take more air time, it can convey critical information. For example, you can add that there was a rollover accident blocking interstate 90 so take the 5th Ave exit to get to the hospital. Or you were sent to the Red Cross building on McClellan, but they had moved services a few blocks away to the high school at 5th and Stevens and you taking up your post there. Deviations in final position as well as deviations on your route the location can provide important information for higher up decision makers and shouldn’t be left out.

The RTO course covered and practiced sending and receiving several different types of eports. Just as important as sending all of the information is receiving all of the information accurately. NC Scout emphasized that the receiver should repeat back the entirety of the report to the sender to ensure accuracy. Just saying, “Report received” doesn’t cut it and results in time wasted, or worse — lives lost, because a response was sent to the wrong location or the wrong assets were delivered.

Make sure that all important information is accurately delivered – check.

Finally, if your group or team is going to run efficiently and effectively, your command and control must be organized. Units being sent out must know why they are being sent and what they are expected to accomplish. The command element/post must remain available and actively monitor any operations in progress. Enough radio operators must remain with the command element to communicate with all of the remote units without being overwhelmed. How many radio operators that is will depend on your specific circumstances, including your size, the number of remote units to be sent out, the type and size of the situation to which you are responding, the capabilities of the radio operators and so on. For example, a command center for a peacetime parade may have one radio operator, communicating with twelve remote radio operators, but a large marathon may have several different teams operating on their own frequencies with their own net control. Similarly, a Neighborhood Protection Team with one control point and one roving patrol can operate with one RTO in the command center, whereas a community under siege in a civil disturbance scenario may have several scouting teams out and a need for a command center RTO for each remote team.

The RTO course again uses some military procedures to help with the command function. Warning orders and operations orders are briefly discussed as methods to impart the goals and mission-specific procedures to the teams being sent out. Similarly, NC Scout briefly discusses what are intelligence and intelligence requirements and the inclusion on the requirements in mission briefings.

Control your communication teams effectively – check.

The RTO course teaches to all levels of experience. If you are new to radio communications, the class will cover the basics of radio operation, antenna theory, and propagation for line of sight and beyond line of sight communications at a level that is understandable for a beginner, yet provides insights to more experienced radio operators as well. The class I was in had people from no prior radio use at all the way up Amateur Extra ham radio operators and ex-military radio users. Everyone appeared to have gained something valuable from the class.

In a disaster or SHTF scenario, you will need to talk to someone. That someone likely won’t be standing right next to you all of the time. How are you going to talk to them when they aren’t in talking distance? Why might you use UHF instead of VHF to talk to them? Why might you need HF? Why might you want to use a digital mode instead of FM or SSB? What’s the best radio for my team? Who needs to have a radio? Who needs to know how to use one? Should you use FRS or MURS? Should you get an amateur radio license? Is burying a box of Baofengs enough to cover my communications needs in the future? If you’re not sure about the answers to any of those questions, or are confused about what some of them mean, then you should take this class.

Occasionally I teach classes for people to get their Technician amateur radio license, and I plan on using some of NC Scout’s antenna explanations in the next class. The training about reports has made me re-evaluate how our radio communications should be conducted. I drove seven hours for the class, and it was worth it.

Related:

Brushbeater: Scenes from a Recent RTO Course

Dialtone: Puzzle Pieces – Gear to have in your kit for field expedient antennas.

2019 Sparks31 Classes

Sparks31 is bringing some classes to Washington state in 2019. Sign up to get the early bird rates. Communication monitoring and SIGINT comes to Seattle on June 22-23, and Get On the Air Field Radio is in Yakima on Aug. 17-18. Check it out and learn some useful skills.

Sparks31 Signal Corps

I will be doing classes in the following cities next year:

Boston, MA – Urban Signal (Communications and SIGINT) Class – July 20-21, 2019 – $500 (early bird rate)

Denver, CO – Communications Monitoring and SIGINT Class – May 18-19, 2019 – $200 (early bird rate)

Denver, CO – Come As You Are and Get On the Air Field Radio Class – May 25-26, 2019 – $200 (early bird rate)

Seattle, WA – Communications Monitoring and SIGINT Class – June 22-23, 2019 – $400 (early bird rate)

Yakima, WA – – Come As You Are and Get On the Air Field Radio Class – August 17-18, 2019 – $300 (early bird rate)

I’m now accepting deposits ($50 non-refundable) for the above classes at https://squareup.com/store/sparks31/item/class-deposit.

There are still a few slots left for my Denver SIGINT Class in October. You have only one week left to take advantage of the…

View original post 4 more words

CSG: Low-Vis Tactical Vehicle Operations Course, Aug. & Sept. 2108

Combat Studies Group has a couple of open-enrollment dates for their Low-Vis Tactical Operations course. Those weekends are Aug. 25-26 and Sept. 1-2. The two day classes are $400 and take place in the northwest.

It’s safe to say that a good number of us spend a lot of time in vehicles. Going to and from work, taking the kids to practice, going shopping, visiting friends and family and so on. How would this common activity change if the thin veil of civility we currently enjoy were to slip? Can we still do what needs to be done without ending up a mobile resupply for the bad guys?

Let’s engage in a mental exercise, hypothetical in nature, wherein the area you live in has devolved into a completely lawless state. It doesn’t matter why, whether it’s a financial collapse, foreign invasion, natural disaster or any number of other scenarios. Picture something akin to the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 90’s.

You live in a rural area about 20 miles from the nearest town. You receive word via your HAM network that relatives in town are in need of extraction due to a sharp increase in gang activity and looting. Their vehicles have been stolen and/or destroyed and they are barricaded in their home with dwindling supplies.

What would you take with you on this mission?
What would your mission planning look like? 
What would drive your planning process?

Let’s look at something a bit less extreme. You need to run a security patrol or recce patrol in an area that is in a condition somewhere in between current day Caracas, Venezuela and Detroit.

How many vehicles would be in your party?
How overt would you want to be?
What would your contingency planning look like?
How would you deal with an unexpected roadblock? 

Now let’s say you get a frantic call for help from a loved one and you need to go right now. You are stuck with what is already in your vehicle. Will it support your operation in any meaningful way? 

A vehicle in your party a mile ahead radios that they have driven into an ambush and are disabled on the X. How would you approach this situation? The driver of the down vehicle is unconscious and appears to have a neck injury. How do you extract them in a hurry without causing more damage?

(And while I realize many of these questions are going to be determined by your METT-TC, they definitely deserve your attention sooner rather than later so standard procedures can be developed.)

These are some of the questions we address in the Low-Vis Tactical Vehicle Operations course.

– Vehicle packing – What and how
– Dressing around your equipment
– Tricks of maintaining a low profile
– Route planning
– Contingency planning
– Emergency action plans
– Multi vehicle operations
– Communication and coordination
– Ambush
– Roadblocks – manned and unmanned
– Anti pursuit measures
– Fighting into and out of vehicles
– Crossloading damaged vehicles under duress
– QRF setup and duties
– Vehicle modifications
– Counter surveillance
– Bail out bags
– Down driver and extraction 

This is a two day course with SIM guns and a three day course with a live-fire module. Course involves classroom instruction, hands on demonstration, SIM guns and operating your vehicle in controlled scenarios.

Cost is $400 (2-day) and $550 (3-day)

EIS: Earth Ex 2018 – Black Sky, Aug. 22

The Electric Infrastructure Security (EIS) council’s second annual Earth Ex is coming Wednesday, August 22nd. You can submit an email address to get exercise notifications.

Our integrated world – and the “catch” that comes with it

In the modern world, everything we do depends on nationally and globally interconnected utility, infrastructure, resource and service networks. Together, they are much like our bodies – a fully integrated, interdependent organic system.

But there is a catch. Like our bodies, this integration – while critically important – brings with it a unique vulnerability. If any major piece fails, the whole system can collapse. Six “Black Sky” hazards represent particularly serious concerns for such vulnerabilities.

What can be done?

Sector by sector, nation by nation, leading government organizations and corporations are beginning to make investments and develop plans to build resilience against these “Black Sky” hazard scenarios. With EARTH EX, they are joining together to evaluate those plans.

But government organizations and corporations cannot do this alone. Resilience – at the level that will be needed for these extreme hazards – begins with individuals, with families and with neighborhoods.

The Individual and Family EARTH EX Experience

Individual and Family participants in EARTH EX will have an opportunity to experience the same full-scale video “injects” used by their corporate and government colleagues, as an introduction to a special, animated, interactive learning experience.

In the exercise, you will learn some of the most important preparatory steps you can take to prepare for extreme hazards:

To protect yourself and your family, and prepare to help your friends and neighbors to get through an unprecedented crisis.

Who is participating?

Professional sectors are participating in six categories:

  • Utilities (electricity, water and communications providers)
  • Government (all levels of government, law enforcement, finance and emergency responders)
  • Non-profits (both local and international organizations)
  • Health (health services of all kinds)
  • Cyberworld (cyber response and forensics)
  • Private sector providers (transportation, retail, factories, agriculture, finance, food and pharmaceuticals)
  • And for the first time … individuals and families, adults and children

Click here to download the EIS preparedness checklist.

Sparks 31: More Practice – SIGINT, COMINT

From Sparks31

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Practice. Practice. Practice.

That’s how you become good.

You know where you live. (At least I hope so…)

You live in a state, county, and maybe even in a municipality (city, town, village, borough, etc.)

That means you will have a state police/highway patrol, county sheriff, and possibly a local municipal police force.

Each will have its own dispatch/operations frequency or talkgroup if they use a trunked system.

You should know what State Police/Highway Patrol troop covers your area, and what precinct your local PD your neighborhood is in (if your town/city PD is that big).

That should be three frequencies and/or talkgroups.

Go to Radio Reference.

Select your area.

Program in the necessary data.

Go to the local dollar store and get a composition-type  notebook.

Listen.

If there is too much traffic, then just listen to one. Start with your municipal PD  or county sheriff if you live in an unincorporated area.

Take notes.

Listen some more.

Keep taking notes.

Do it for a week.

Then do it some more.

Keep practicing. That’s how you become good.

Sparks has a class on all this in Denver in October.

Brushbeater has a radio operator class in Montana in September.

Forward Observer has an SHTF Intelligence class in Florida at the end of August.

Everyone is telling you to get trained. Events are telling you to get trained. Why aren’t you?