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					     The Importance of Disaster
      Intelligence Gathering in
              Hurricanes




Presented by: Dennis Dura-K2DCD, Manager of
Preparedness and Response – ARRL HQ and
Rob Macedo – KD1CY, Director of Operations for the VoIP
Hurricane Net kd1cy@voipwx.net
                              Agenda
   How an active National Weather Service SKYWARN program with
    cooperation/coordination with ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency
    Services) gathers critical disaster intelligence and how that applies to
    hurricanes.
   How ARES, RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services),
    MARS (Military Affiliated Radio System) and other EMCOMM
    related services can support the mission of gathering disaster
    intelligence, support SKYWARN and how that applies to
    hurricanes.
   How SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Network) and
    Red Cross communicators can support this mission.
   The importance of interoperability and the usage of Amateur Radio
    to share disaster intelligence information across all the various
    disaster agencies.
   How active Amateur Radio EMCOMM programs that support the
    activity of gathering disaster intelligence can better support being
    there for “When All Else Fails” and communication outages occur.
      SKYWARN Program Overview
   SKYWARN is the National Weather Service’s
    volunteer weather spotting program which provides
    timely severe weather reporting to NWS for the
    protection of life and property.
   SKYWARN is an ARES function in some parts of the
    United States but in other areas, it is a RACES function
    or a completely separate service from ARES and
    RACES.
   Local National Weather Service Forecast Offices offer
    SKYWARN training at varying times of the year
    depending on the local NWS office.
   You do not have to be an Amateur Radio Operator to
    be a part of a SKYWARN program in most parts of the
    country.
    SKYWARN Program Overview
   An active SKYWARN program is an integral part of
    the warning and forecast process at the local NWS
    office for severe weather and hurricanes.
   Active SKYWARN programs that can share damage
    and weather instrumentation reports with other
    agencies and funnel the information to the National
    Hurricane Center and other agencies can provide what
    some emergency managers call “Disaster Intelligence”.
   Roles for ARES, RACES and MARS in
Gathering Disaster Intelligence in Hurricanes
   ARES, RACES and MARS Operators along
    with others involved in EMCOMM can support
    gathering disaster intelligence for hurricanes and
    other disasters by doing the following:
     Get SKYWARN trained by their local NWS
      Forecast Office.
     When you as an ARES, RACES, MARS or
      EMCOMM operator get damage or weather related
      information in a hurricane, share with as many
      agencies and outlets as possible via Amateur Radio
      once the data is confirmed and validated.
       How ARES and RACES Can Support
    Gathering Disaster Intelligence Information
   Many ARES Operators support the American Red Cross with
    shelter communications and in some cases disaster damage
    assessment during hurricanes.
   Information on issues at the chapter office/shelters, particularly
    structural damage issues or other similar problems that ARES
    operators operating at their Red Cross chapter/shelters find out
    are very helpful to Emergency Management, the National
    Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.
   Dissemination of this information across multiple Amateur
    Radio Nets at the local, state and national level can provide
    access to many agencies supporting disaster relief and to allow
    for better updated surface conditions for meteorologists.
   RACES Operators can perform similar acts from city/town,
    county and State Emergency Operation Center locations.
   How the Military Affiliated Radio System Can
Support Gathering Disaster Intelligence Information

   Military Affiliated Radio System Operators that
    are also cross-trained in SKYWARN can
    provide information based on that criteria to the
    NWS, NHC, and Emergency
    Management/EOC’s.
   That information can then be captured and sent
    as a MARS EEI (Essential Elements of
    Information) informing the Department of
    Defense and other federal entities of an incident.
How Red Cross and SATERN Operators Can
  Help In Gathering Disaster Intelligence
   Red Cross Communications Officers can support their
    ARES Amateurs and provide information that can be
    useful to other agencies such as NWS, NHC and
    Emergency Management.
   SATERN Amateurs can provide information from any
    field units that Salvation Army may have in the disaster
    area and add support beyond their traditional health
    and welfare traffic role. That information would be
    useful to other agencies as well.
    Disaster Intelligence Examples
   Hurricane Dean and lost fishermen at sea in Jamaica in 2007:
   Report seen on stormcarib.com from a Jamaica resident of 17
    fishermen lost at sea near the island of Middle Key per local
    Jamaican Radio.
   Report given to a relay in Trinidad over the VoIP Hurricane Net,
    9Z4FZ-Julien Dedier, who is one of the Emergency
    Coordinators on the island of Trinidad and Tobago.
   Julien talked with the Trinidad Coast Guard who got in contact
    with the Jamaican Coast Guard.
   Report was verified to be 16 Men in Middle Key who were
    instructed to take refuge and an abandoned Coast Guard facility
    on the island. They were advised to break the lock and enter the
    facility.
   Perfect example of gathering disaster intelligence. Information
    was passed on to WX4NHC and was fine-tuned, verified and
    cross referenced by two different communication paths.
      Disaster Intelligence Examples
   Hurricane Rita in 2005 reports obtained from a Ham Operator at
    the Livingston, Texas Memorial Hospital
   Hurricane Rita in 2005, Florence-WM6V took information from
    a local ARES/SKYWARN Net and delivered the information to
    the VoIP Hurricane Net to relay to WX4NHC.
   Florence monitored and checked into her local net while being a
    liaison to the VoIP Hurricane Net.
   The information included damage to the Livingston Memorial
    Hospital where she was stationed, damage to a Red Cross Shelter
    at a local school, and measured wind speeds in excess of 100
    MPH.
   Other Amateur Operators relayed reports from relatives and one
    Amateur Radio Operator relayed reports from the Fire Station
    where he was located.
   The Net served as a link between other EOC’s, NWS offices and
    the National Hurricane Center.
   Let’s take an in-depth look of the disaster intelligence gathered
    during Hurricane Rita.
    Disaster Intelligence Examples
   Hurricane Rita Audio Clips:




   This is another example of how Amateurs stationed at a
    certain location with access to other repeaters and
    information can be critical in gathering disaster
    intelligence.
   It also shows how VoIP modes can be a place for
    coordination when available.
    Disaster Intelligence Examples
   Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Levee breach
   Hurricane Katrina was really a two part disaster. There
    was the hurricane itself and then the levee breach
    caused by the hurricane.
   What if the levee breaches were detected sooner before
    they completely let go? Could additional safety actions
    been taken before the flood occurred?
   The lack of knowing the significance of those breaches
    ahead of time and potentially being able to take action
    hurt any mitigation before the levee breach occurred.
   This is an area where Amateur Operators providing
    information/disaster intelligence could be vital in
    mitigating a disaster.
    Disaster Intelligence Examples
   Hurricane Emily impact in 2005 in the Caribbean
    Islands
   Hurricane Emily’s impact to the Caribbean islands
    would not have been known if it were not for the
    efforts of J73CI-Clem James and 9Z4FZ-Julien Dedier.
   Both Clem and Julien provided critical information
    from their local area and from the area most affected in
    Grenada and the Grenadines.
   The roof of the hospital in Carria Cou, Grenada was
    ripped off and the information would not have been
    known without the support of Clem and Julien.
   There were also additional reports of roof damage to
    homes, cars being moved in the streets and residents
    panicking due to the severe conditions.
                            Conclusion
   Disaster Intelligence gathering is a new and important way
    Amateur Radio Operators can contribute to disaster response
    and a way to be more prepared when all else fails.
   Creates a new motto of “Before it fails, Amateur Radio Gives
    Situational Awareness” and also prepares Amateur Operators
    better when and if things fail.
   We recommend ARES/RACES/SKYWARN Groups due the
    following:
       Be active in their local SKYWARN program for severe weather events
        for all seasons and provide pertinent information per the NWS
        SKYWARN reporting criteria.
       When incidents of significance occurs outside of hurricanes pass on that
        information to multiple sources. (EEI’s for MARS, ARES and
        SKYWARN delivering info to NWS, local and state Emergency
        Management etc.)
                         Conclusion
   During the tropical season, if a tropical storm is slated to
    affect your region, prepare for one scale above what the
    actual intensity is.
        Hurricanes such as Humberto, that intensified into a hurricane with
         little or not advanced warning, can expose preparedness issues.
        Being active when the system is a tropical storm is helpful as tropical
         storms can bring flooding and severe weather and certainly being
         active from a SKYWARN perspective would be tremendously
         helpful.
   If you’re active performing these functions, you will have the
    situational awareness to know if something will fail so that
    Amateur Radio can be there when all else fails.

				
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posted:12/12/2011
language:English
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