AmRRON Goes to AMCON 2 for Hurricane Florence, 9-13-18

As of Thursday, 13 Sept. at 1700hrs Zulu we are increasing the AmCON to level 2 (Incident Imminent). Hurricane-force high sustained winds and extremely heavy rainfall are forecast and damage is imminent. Major disruptions to conventional power and telecommunications grids as well as transportation are expected in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, especially along the coastal areas.

As of this update, persistent (continuous) nets are being conducted on the 40m and 80m digital frequencies using beaconing modes FSQ Call and FT-8 Call. Additionally, nets are being conducted according to the AmRRON SOI. Please refer to the AmRRON Activation PDF for more details.

Expect a change to AmCON-1 (Active Incident) within the next 6 to 8 hours.

Click here to read more at AmRRON.com.

Edit: AmRRON went to AmCON 1 on Friday, September 14th, 2018 at 0300 zulu.

Edit: AmRRON returned to AmCON 5 on September 17th, 2018, while continuing to support operations as needed.

ARRL HQ Emergency Response Team Activates, 9-12-18

From the ARRL:

The ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team will activate on Wednesday, September 12, ARRL Emergency Response Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, has announced. The team already has taken some steps to help prepare Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) groups in advance of Hurricane Florence, poised to strike the US east coast along the Carolinas and Virginia.

ARRL will ship seven Ham Aid kits to South Carolina by way of Georgia today (September 11) to assist with emergency preparedness needs in advance of Hurricane Florence. The kits will fly out of Hartford to Atlanta, because airports in South Carolina are already closed with flights suspended. ARRL Georgia Section volunteers have agreed to get the kits to South Carolina for delivery to the state emergency operations center (EOC) in Columbia, South Carolina. These kits are the same ones that ARRL volunteers took to Puerto Rico a year ago to assist with disaster communications following Hurricane Maria.

“Amateur Radio emergency networks, including those connected to the National Hurricane Center, are active and ready to assist first responders and others with their communication needs before and after Hurricane Florence impacts the Carolinas,” ARRL said in an announcement. “In addition, they continue to monitor activity in order to respond when needed during the 2018 Atlantic and Pacific hurricane season.” Ham Aid kits also may be deployed to Virginia.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), now at Alert Level 3, is closely monitoring three systems: Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Invest 95L, currently in the Gulf of Mexico. The net will activate on Wednesday, September 12, at 1500 UTC, as Florence closes in on the US east coast. The net traditionally uses 14.325 MHz during daylight hours and 7.268 MHz after dark. “With propagation being extremely poor to nonexistent on 20 meters, we may be forced to operate on both bands simultaneously,” HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said this week…

Read the entire story at arrl.org by clicking here.

AmRRON Activation for Hurricane Florence Announced 9-11-18

AmRRON has announced an activation for Hurricane Florence.

SUBJECT: AmRRON Activation – Hurricane Florence

SITUATION: Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on the US east coast along the Carolinas, estimated to impact between Thursday evening and Friday morning. Widespread disruptions are expected to affect commercial power and communications grids as well as transportation.

>>AmRRON Activation – Florence PDF<<

AmCON raised to Level 3 (Incident Probable) as of Monday morning, 10 Sept. 2018, to raise awareness and begin pre-event planning and coordination in anticipation of activation of AmRRON Nets…

AmRRON Corps operators have been coordinating and developing a communications plan in order to provide the widest coverage possible. This will help ensure those in the affected area have multiple options for reporting their situations on the ground and seeking assistance.
Note: This is a real-world disaster response, and not a time for training. This is a time to implement what you know. To increase your skills and knowledge and gain additional experience, we encourage you to participate in our regularly-scheduled AmRRON Practice Nets.
The SOI will be implemented on Wednesday evening in the U.S. (20180913 0200hrs Zulu date/time).

If you’re living in an area that may be affected by Hurricane Florence, and you don’t know what to do to prepare. This Reddit thread has a lot of good preparedness advice. Here is an excerpt from the first post:

  1. Charge any device that provides light. Laptops, tablets, cameras, video cameras, and old phones. Old cell phones can still be used for dialing 911. Charge external battery back ups (power banks).
  2. Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill with water and store in the garage. Water in trash bags should not be used to bathe or drink. Bags contain chemicals to suppress insect and odor. Use for toilet flushing purposes only.
  3. Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran Wrap to keep it from collecting dust. Fill washing machine and leave lid up to store water.
  4. Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep near sinks for washing hands.
  5. Fill every Tupperware with water and store in freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a back up water supply.
  6. Fill drinking cups with water and cover with Saran Wrap. Store as many as possible in fridge. The rest you can store on the counter and use first before any water bottles are opened. Ice is impossible to find after the storm.
  7. Reserve fridge space for storing tap water and keep the sealed water bottles on the counter.
  8. Cook any meats in advance and other perishable foods. You can freeze cooked food. Hard boil eggs for snacks for first day without power.
  9. Be well hydrated before the storm hits and avoid salty foods that make you dehydrated.
  10. Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C, you’ll be sweating a lot. You’re going to want clean sheets.
  11. Toss out any expiring food, clean cat litter boxes, empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don’t have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster.
  12. Bring in any yard decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.
  13. Clean your environment so you have clear, easy escape routes. Even if that means temporarily moving furniture to one area.
  14. Scrub all bathrooms so you are starting with a clean odor free environment. Store water filled trash cans next to each toilet for flushing.
  15. Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents.
  16. Make sure you have cash on hand.
  17. Stock up on pet food and fill up bowls of water for pets.
  18. Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow for 2 emergency refills per year.
  19. Fill your propane tanks. You can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra, if possible.
  20. Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your fridges.
  21. Gather all candles, flashlights, lighters, matches, batteries, first aid kit and other items and keep them accessible.
  22. Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Buy Clorox Wipes for cleaning when there is no power. Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for 10 days, you’ll have to live in the mess you started with.
  23. Pick your emergency safe place such as a closet under the stairs. Store the items you’ll need in that location for the brunt of the storm. Make a hand fan for when the power is out.
  24. Shower just before the storm is scheduled to hit.
  25. Keep baby wipes next to each toilet. Don’t flush them. It’s not the time to risk clogging your toilet!
  26. Run your dishwasher, don’t risk having dirty smelly dishes and you need every container for water! Remember you’ll need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing yourself, and cleaning your hands.
  27. Pack a small suitcase and keep it in your car in case you decide to evacuate. Also put at least one jug of water in your car. It will still be there if you don’t evacuate. You don’t need to store all water in the house. Remember to pack for pets as well.
  28. Check on all family members, set up emergency back up plans, and check on elderly neighbors.
  29. Pets are family too. Take them with you.
  30. Before the storm, unplug all electronics. There will be power surges during and after the storm.
  31. Cover televisions, computer monitors and other electronic devices with trash bags in case windows break and expose the interior of the house to the elements.
  32. Cover windows with plywood from the outside.
  33. Gas up your car and have a spare gas container for your generator or your car when you run out.
  34. Touch base with neighbors prior to the storm to determine if they are ready and capable to weather the storm. Building relationships with neighbors also comes in handy if you need to borrow a chainsaw or need extra hands to clear debris.

Take a video of your house and contents. Walk room to room, opening cabinets, drawers and closets. Make sure to highlight model and serial numbers of appliances. Don’t forget outbuildings and sheds where you keep tools and equipment. This will help if you need to make an insurance claim later.

In your freezer, freeze a cup of water and place a coin on top after it is frozen. When the power goes out, if the coin stays on top, the food is staying frozen. If the coin falls into the water, the freezer thawed out and most food will likely need to be thrown away.

Finally, anything that you want to try and preserve, but you can’t take with you—place it in a plastic bin and put in your dishwasher, lock the door. This should make it water tight in case of any water intrusion into your home. But of course, take all the important/irreplaceable items you can.