Wednesday, October 05, 2022

The Decision to evacuate #hamradio #ARRL

 When the hurricane, hazmat spill, tornado, ice storm etc. comes, you have two choices.


Shelter in Place!  

There are NO others.

Mandatory evacuations are so ill timed.  They are inconvenient for you.  They come, sometimes, when you don't get the notice.  They are unnecessary as well.

Why are they unnecessary? 

You have a brain.  You can watch the news.  You can watch the weather.  You can listen of official government sources.

If they are talking "It's gonna be BAD", do you really need someone zipping up and down your street telling you to get out of Dodge?

Did you learn how bad it was in New Orleans during Katrina?  Folks there were told how bad it was AND there was an official evacuation notice.  How well did that go?

You have two choices.  Pick one.  I can't help you if you make the wrong one.  Just be sure you have your ham radio turned on and checking into a net so you can call for help.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Safe and Well ended #hamradio #ARRL @redcross #LastingLegacy #NatlPrep

As noted below, Safe and Well has been discontinued by the American Red Cross.  This certainly can have disaster implications to amateur radio operations.

Within hours of an emergency or disaster, ex. hurricane, ice storm, etc. the cellular telephone networks are overworked by folks who have not learned that texting will get through before a voice call will.

Within hours, calls for "health and welfare" messages come from hams seeking information on the channels to use to get word to loved ones in an impacted zone.

Please be aware of these suggestions:

1.  Learn how to set up personal networks in order to communicate with "lifelines" and loved ones.  GroupMeWhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, etc. offer direct messaging to lists of people.  Get your smart grandson to set up a family list.  

2.  Read the "Tips for Contacting Loved Ones" at the link above to Safe and Well.  

3.  Find your local amateur radio operator and ask them to send a "radiogram".  The caveat here is that not every amateur radio operator knows how to send a message AND there is no guarantee that a sent message may reach the destination.  These volunteers can only try.  There is no cost for the trying.

4.  Better yet, become licensed as an amateur radio operator and learn how to help your neighbors with contacts into a disaster zone.  The training is free.  The license is not.  Morse Code is not required (but it is fun to learn).

For years, emergency managers have encouraged people to Plan, Prepare, Practice in order to overcome the first 72 hours of any disaster.  It's time to do that, especially since it's National Preparedness Month.





Safe and Well Platform Ending FAQs 

Disaster Cycle Services Job Tools 

Respond / Reunification 

Message for Partners 

Unfortunately, the platform which currently hosts the American Red Cross Safe and Well website,, has become obsolete due to technology changes, and will be deactivated at  midnight on December 29, 2020. While this means that we won’t have a self-service website for people  to register or search for loved ones after disasters, we want to reassure you that the Red Cross remains  committed to this work. Our less public, behind the scenes efforts to reunite loved ones are not going  away.  

The Safe and Well website has served as the public-facing part of the Red Cross Reunification Program and has been used by a variety of partners over the past 14 years. Now, with more and more people  depending on mobile apps to communicate and connect, we will adapt our messaging and encourage  the public to use our free Red Cross Emergency app. The app features an “I’m Safe” button that allows  users to post a message to their social accounts or send an email to a pre-determined list, letting people  know they are safe and out of harm’s way. 

In the coming days, the Reunification team at headquarters will connect with our national partners to  share this important update. We have also created a template message for field teams to share with local  partners who use Safe and Well. As part of this notification, we will encourage local partners to remove Safe and Well from their continuity of operations plan and contact their local Red Cross to talk about  ways the Red Cross may be able to support them moving forward.  

It’s important to note, the Red Cross will continue to support requests for reunification that come in  through our national call center, chapter network, or through emergency welfare inquiries (EWI), family  reunification requests (FRR) and military welfare inquiries (MWI). Our team will also explore options to  support similar safe and well services in the future as needs change.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. What is the timeline for discontinuation of the Safe and Well website? 

A. Between December 22 and 29, users will still be able to access, however they will  receive a message that the site will no longer be available after December 29.  

Beginning on December 30, users will receive a message when attempting to access explaining that the site has been discontinued and sharing additional relevant information. 

Q. What do we tell people who are looking for someone after a disaster?  

A. We encourage people to talk with their families before disaster strikes and set up a communication  plan. In addition, the free Red Cross Emergency app features an “I’m Safe” button that allows users to  post a message to their social accounts or send an email to a pre-determined list, letting people know 

RES Safe and Well Platform Ending FAQs V.1.0 2020.12.17

they are safe and out of harm’s way. If you believe your family member to be missing after a disaster,  please follow local emergency guidance on missing persons.  

Q. What do we tell our partners who contact us about their continuity of operations plan? A. We recommend sharing this information:  

1. Encourage the partner to connect with emergency management to determine what alert systems  are in place in their community. 

2. Educate partners on the free Red Cross Emergency app and how they can help their employees  create a communication plan as part of their personal preparedness. 

3. Advise partners about the aspects of the Red Cross reunification program that will remain  available to them.  

Q. Is there another public facing platform that we can transition the Safe and Well program to?  A. There are other platforms available, but none that we are recommending or partnering with at this  time. It’s important to note, the Red Cross will continue to support requests for reunification that come in  through our national call center including emergency welfare inquiries (EWI), family reunification requests  (FRR) and military welfare inquiries (MWI). Our team will also explore options to support similar safe and  well services in the future as needs change.  

Q. How many people have been helped over the life of the Safe and Well program?  A. The Safe and Well website was created in 2006 as a result of Hurricane Katrina with funding from  FEMA. We upgraded the site to its current version in July 2010 and it has facilitated more than 20,000  matches in the past 10 years. In 2019, Hurricanes Michael and Florence as well as the tragic Camp Fire  response in California were some of the most significant disasters supported by this program with that  year alone having more than 3,400 matched search inquiries.  

Q. How do we help our staff and workforce prepare now that the safe and well product and  registration options are no longer available?  

A. The Safe and Well website was a significant tool for the Red Cross, but it isn’t all encompassing of our  work. While this means that we won’t have a self-service website for people to register or search for  loved ones after disasters, we want to reassure you that the Red Cross remains committed to post disaster reunification efforts. Our less public, behind the scenes efforts to reunite loved ones are not  going away. For example: 

We will still be able to search registration lists for congregate and non-congregate shelters. We will still be able to take names of missing people to match against said lists as well as to add  to the Emergency Welfare Inquiry/Family Reunification Request Log (RRL) system used to track  and located EWI, FRR and MWI cases. 

The public will still be able to call us during a disaster for help. 

Through our messaging we can still encourage people affected by disasters to reach out to their  loved ones and to use the free Red Cross Emergency app which features an “I’m Safe” button  that allows users to post a message to their social accounts or send an email to a pre-determined  list, letting people know they are safe and out of harm’s way. 

We will modify the existing Helper Tool (formerly used in concert with the website) for regions and  relief operations to use as an internal tool to “register” shelter residents if needed.

RES Safe and Well Platform Ending FAQs V.1.0 2020.12.17


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

You have 18 hours! What will you do? #hamradio #NatlPrep #LastingLegacy

Our friends at the Space Weather Prediction Center do a great job with Space Weather, including those pesky solar flares that fry the electrons of a Prius on the Florida highway during an evacuation for a hurricane.

Have you lost count how often the Carrington Event has been mentioned by this author?

Asking our friends at SWPC, what the lead time for an event might be, the answer below might give comfort, compared to the 13 minute average warning time for a tornado.  
If it were a Carrington-like event, and it had an associated CME that was directed at Earth, we would likely have on the order of several hours to possibly a day to provide the public with a warning. If I'm not mistaken, one of the fastest transit times that has been recorded was approximately 18 hours from the time the CME departed the Sun to when it impacted Earth. 
So, in 18 hours, what are your plans for protecting your cell phone, HF radio, walkie talkie, Roku device, weather radio, Fusion or Dstar hotspot, electronics in your automobile,  television set, or portable AM/FM radio?  How sure are you that the stuff you listen to will be transmitting anything?

Reality is the Amish may be your Uber or Lyft ride.  Bicycles and walking will be the norm.  Anything with electronic ignition has lost its mind.  

Transmitters with ALL tubes, i.e. tube finals, exciters, modulators, and power supplies will all function. Solid state devices will not, unless they were stored in a Faraday cage.  Now you know why Soviet Mig-15 fighters had tube type radios.

There was a scene in the show Jericho where the survivors were using their cellphones for batting practice.  Without some preparedness now, that scene is likely to be reality. 
The museum piece cars and farm tractors were transportation.  Gasoline and diesel, however, were on short supply.  Pipelines may be able to move oil but refineries may be a bit challenged to convert it.

OK.  What will you do?  After a drought, I had an emergency management director ask "Now that your drought is over, what will you complain about now?" after which the reply was "a solar flare".

Don't have an answer?

Here's two ideas:

Cellphone, solar charger, other small electronic items, go in a Faraday cage.  Christmas popcorn tins come in handy after Christmas.  One article has a number of suggestions.

The first suggestion is to wrap your cellphone in plastic wrap and wrap that again in aluminum foil.  Test the microwave as a Faraday cage.  Put your phone in it.  Close the door.  Call the phone.  If it works, it is not in a Faraday shield.  If it does, wrap your phone, radio, solar charger, AM/FM radio, walkie-talkie and put them in the microwave.  

After the Event, carefully unpack them and test them.  Maybe a good thought would be to do that at night.  Don't expect them to work (remember the transmitters have to be 100% tube-type) but, if they do, tune the AM broadcast channels for clear channel stations.  Your first goal is to determine "How big is BIG; how bad is bad".

The second suggestion from the link is the aluminum trash can (here's the Christmas popcorn tin idea).

Clubs?  How about a cache of radio gear for club members to use?
OH, our friends at the Department of Homeland Security have a handy little document also.
It's your turn now.  In comments, give suggestions.  Tactfully worded comments will be approved.

Ready?  Set?  Plan, prepare, practice.

Southgate News


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