Carolina Preppers Network Hurricane Response

The Carolina Preppers Network (CPN) has a write up on their response during and after Hurricane Florence. The CPN started a small group for the purpose of helping people become better prepared in times of crises.

Carolina Preppers Network Hurricane Response

The Carolina Preppers Network hurricane response was something with which to be impressed. For those who don’t know, CPN is an education/support organization with members in North and South Carolina. There are no membership dues and all participants are volunteers with groups meeting regularly in many towns and cities. The organization has been led by Forrest Garvin for the past few years now and during that time, it has grown from fewer than 300 participants to more than 8,500 today. CPN wasn’t created to be a disaster response organization along the lines of the American Red Cross or Samaritan’s Purse, but rather an information swapping and educational resource to help individuals become prepared to be self-supporting in times of crises. But during Hurricane Florence, CPN grew into more. Retreat Realty is proud to be one of the corporate sponsors, especially so after seeing how CPN directly impacted and saved lives during Hurricane Florence.

Days before landfall, Forrest sent out notifications to members via CPN’s Team App calling for those who could assist to help with the gathering of information (intel) and coordination of resources where needed once the hurricane came ashore. This was coordinated with leadership of the Cajun Navy, the Gulf Coast volunteer organization that became famous during Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey during which those volunteers provided their own shallow draft boats to rescue thousands from precarious situations. For several days, the leadership team of CPN worked nearly nonstop using the Zello smart phone app as well as HAM radio operators via AmRRon (the American Redoubt Radio Operators Network) and working with Forward Observer to receive calls for assistance and disseminate that information to Cajun Navy responders among other things. This coordinated effort was a significant example of how a group of loosely organized individuals can operate as efficiently or more so than larger government organizations.

There was one story of ladies stranded in their attic with water reaching up to them who were located by CPN who then notified Cajun Navy responders who rescued them. Other services involved coordinating housing and food for volunteers on the scene. One example is that of a call that came in from a Cajun Navy volunteer at 8:30 PM saying they needed housing for 10 to 30 persons. CPN volunteers called Crosspointe Church which promptly responded “What do you need and where?”, then another church provided a mission house and another had a multi-purpose facility where the volunteers could sleep and park their boats and trailers. Within an hour or so, they had the lodging they needed. All of these coordination efforts were done long distance through CPN volunteers in Charlotte, Asheville, Raleigh, Greenville (SC) and elsewhere. This goes to show that with modern technology, you can help from anywhere.

Something else that impressed me came from listening in on a conference call last night with the leadership team having an Action Review (“AR”) or debriefing of the event. There was plenty of well deserved back slapping and congratulatory words, but there was also a focus on what could have been done better and how to get ready for the next disaster whether it be from a hurricane, power failure or other catastrophic event. I believe Hurricane Florence will be remembered within CPN as the time when CPN “grew up” to become a life changer, putting theory into practice. I congratulate Forrest and all the others who gave up their time to help strangers and am proud to be a sponsor of this fine organization.

Related:

Forward Observer: Intel Support to Hurricane Florence & Disaster Response

Forward Observer: Notes on Hurricane Florence Disaster Response

Forward Observer: An Introduction to Fox Company and “Disaster Intelligence”

Radio Free Redoubt: AmRRON Coverage of Florence and EXSUM

 

 

 

NBC News: How Going Ham Could Save Hawaii

NBC News’ Left Field reporting unit recently did a report on communications in Hawaii and how ham radio could help in a disaster.

Hawaii’s recent false nuclear missile alert showed us how reliant we are on cell phones and modern technology—and how unprepared we are if they become inaccessible. But in case the unexpected happens, an unlikely group of hobbyists—ham radio operators—are standing at the ready and may save us all.

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Yakima Officials Eye State Fair Park Buildings for Possible Medical Care in Case of Disaster

From the Yakima Herald

Yakima Health District officials are exploring the possibility of using State Fair Park as a medical care facility during a disaster.

The district is seeking proposals for a feasibility study of installing generators at the Yakima Valley SunDome, Pioneer Hall and the Deccio and Modern Living buildings, which would allow the facilities to be used as places to care for nonemergency patients if needed.

“The circumstances surrounding Rattlesnake Ridge show why planning is necessary,” said Health District Executive Director Andre Fresco, referring to the slow-moving landslide on the ridge near Union Gap.

 Fresco said that if feasible, the fairgrounds would be used as a place to take care of the nonurgent health needs of people displaced in a major disaster, such as flooding or an earthquake. The Health District is working with the Yakima County Commission, the county’s emergency management officials, the city of Yakima and the state Department of Health’s Disaster Preparedness Division on the proposal, he said.

The fair park is ideally located to serve as a place for nonemergency medical care in Central Washington in the event of a disaster, Fresco said.

Having generators is a prerequisite to being able to use the site as a backup medical facility, as planners would need to be able to provide heat and power in the event of a blackout, Fresco said.

The study is preliminary and will look at whether it is possible to outfit the buildings — some of which date back to before World War II — for emergency medical use, and how many generators would be needed to power the complex in an emergency.

It would not be the first time the fairgrounds was pressed into service in a time of emergency. During World War II, the fairgrounds housed a training school for military pilots and a factory for building Army trucks for use in the Pacific Theater.

 Greg Stewart, State Fair Park’s president and general manager, said fairgrounds in other parts of the country have been used as emergency shelters for people and livestock during wildfires and other disasters and that he welcomes the study.

“The fairground has been the salvation of many communities,” Stewart said.

Puerto Rico Disaster Reports, Oct. 16, 2017

Puerto Rico continues to struggle following the recent hurricanes.

Here is a link, to an ARRL report on ham radio operators sent down to assist with communications. Note the references to generator fires, generator failures, hospital evacuations, and shortages of food, fuel and water.

This week, the team relayed a request for Culebra Hospital, which reported that a generator fire had forced relocation to a nearby clinic. In addition, volunteers relayed a request from Culebra Hospital that it needs temporary housing from FEMA for necessary staff members who lost their homes in the hurricane. The team also relayed a message for Hima San Pablo Hospital in Fajardo, which needed specialized IV fluids for a 4-day-old infant.

Rob Landon, KE8AMC, stationed at the hospital on Vieques, learned from the hospital administrator that they needed to evacuate dialysis patients, who require air conditioning that the hospital is unable to provide. “We made their day,” said Hotzfeld. “They were not aware of our presence and were impressed with our communications capabilities.”

Val Hotzfeld, NV9L (left), and ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U.

An Amateur Radio operator has been assigned at Centro Medico (Medical Central) to provide communication between the center and other hospitals. “This happened just in time, because the Menonita (Mennonite) Hospital in Caguas had both generators fail,” Hotzfeld said. The emergency room doctor at Medical Central and the ham embedded there, Juan Trujillo, N0PSF, coordinated with Dennis Perez, WP4Q, at the Mennonite Hospital in Caguas to transfer four critical patients to the Mennonite Hospital in Cayey.

Volunteers at the EOC relayed a request from Guayana Hospital for snacks, water, and a generator. Their second generator was reported to be about to fail. They also relayed requests from hospitals for fuel and water, and they provided communication for fire departments contacting the EOC.

Brushbeater blog posted a short Reflections on Puerto Rico, discussing communications preparations in light of lessons from Puerto Rico.

So upon reading this, a serious skill assessment should be in order. If you’re the communicator in your group:

  • Can you rig your own wire antennas?
  • Do you have the rough calculations to make them resonant?
  • Do you have the current consumption of your various radios written down and a way to monitor it?
  • How long can you operate battery-only?
  • Do you have enough spare equipment to keep your station up if Murphy happens?
  • Do you have a working knowledge of different propagation modes (such as why NVIS does what it does)

But most important- how many people can also do what you do in your group?

Four deaths and ten suspected of infection are being investigated as possible cases of leptospirosis, a disease spread by animal urine, possibly from drinking contaminated stream water.

Meanwhile some desperate Puerto Ricans are reported to be drinking possibly toxic water from superfund cleanup sites. 34% of Puerto Ricans are still without access to fresh drinking water.

Rotting garbage may be the next health crisis there.

Three weeks after Hurricane Maria ransacked this island leaving at least 44 dead, Jose Vargas surveyed street after street lined with mounds of soaking garbage mixed with mud, trees and sometimes dead animals.

You couldn’t make a better breeding ground for rats, roaches and all sorts of nasty diseases, the public health volunteer said. And every day the fetid piles stay there, the risk of an epidemic grows.

“We’re already building the next disaster,” he warned.

ARRL: Radio Amateur on St. Lucia Relays Hurricane Reports

From ARRL.org, Radio Amateur on St. Lucia Relays Reports of Hurricane Devastation on Dominica, a reminder of the usefulness of alternative communications methods during a disaster:

As “potentially catastrophic Hurricane Maria” is headed for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Frans van Santbrink, J69DS, on St. Lucia checked into the VoIP Hurricane Net to relay damage reports he gathered via repeater conversations with hams on Dominica, which was hit by Category 5 Hurricane Maria.

He recounted a damage report from Kerry Fevrier, J69YH, in Roseau, Dominica. “Trees down, river has flooded half the village, cars are all over, most houses have lost their roofs or are destroyed, the area between his house and the church is just flattened…in his words, ‘devastation is total,’” van Santbrink told the net.

He also heard from J73CI, who has lost his roof; J73WA on the northern end of the island, who lost his tower and was uncertain how he was going to weather the back end of the storm, and J73MH, who also lost his roof and was “just hunkering down and hoping for the best.”

Click here to read the entire article