Meetings Starting Again – February 27th

Greetings to all emergency communicators!

It’s been nearly a year since our last in-person EmComm meeting – and what a year it was!  Our meeting facilities weren’t allowing building use during the pandemic, but restrictions have eased to the point that we can again use the church where we meet as long as we continue to use masks and observe sensible social distancing.  I thought about utilizing Zoom or other video conferencing platforms to keep the meetings going, but the consensus was to hold off until we could meet in person.

A lot has happened in emergency and disaster communications recently.  Between tornadoes, international computer hacking, terrorist attacks, Texas losing power for days due to unprecedented cold weather and much more, comm folks have seen that this is no time to let down our guard.  We spent a lot of time in meetings last year training and learning new techniques, but many of you have mentioned that it’s time to get out in the world and practice our skills.

To that end, I’d like to assign some homework before you come to the meeting.  Please take some time to think about public service events that EmComm groups have participated in over the years.  Various groups have provided communications for bike races, foot races, walk-a-thons, festivals and road rallies.  I already have some events on the calendar – the Section Emergency Test is coming up in October, the Rangely Rally America event looks like it’s proceeding and of course Field Day will be coming up in June (in one form or another).  But bring a list of events that might welcome our technical expertise and we’ll get in touch.  Events have been reduced due to the pandemic, but there must be opportunities for training that we could join.

As usual, we welcome communicators from any agency, whether hams or not.  Most of our members are hams, but a number of agencies have non-ham communicators as well – everyone is welcome.  If you know any EmComm folks that aren’t reached by these e-mails or on the radio nets, invite them along.  We welcome members from RACES/ARES, AuxComm, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Civil Air Patrol, MARS, REACT, CERT and more. Everyone brings something to the table!

If you have any questions, let me know.  Ideas for meetings are welcome as well.

The meeting will be Saturday, February 27 at 0900 at:

First Christian Church
1326 N. 1st Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501

That’s next to Sherwood Park off of 1st and Sherwood.

We look forward to seeing you all – and we’ll have donuts!

Thanks.

Chip Ferron NØWKR
Emergency Coordinator
Colorado ARES
Region 9 – Northwest Colorado

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March 28th Meeting Cancelled

Greetings to all EmComm members –

Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 virus and the recommendation of the various healthcare agencies to limit group meetings, we’re going to cancel the upcoming EmComm meeting originally scheduled for March 28th.  I’ve been in contact with Emit Hurdelbrink, and the AuxComm team will plan to bring the program over some time in the future.

 In the meantime, let’s all do what we do best – prepare our radio skills for whatever situation should arise:

  • Check your equipment
  • Improve your operating skills
  • Learn a new mode.  How often have we said, “I’ll learn WinLink (or DMR, or HF, or…) when I have the time.”  Well, now you have the time!
  • Build that Go-Box that you’ve been meaning to start on
  • Upgrade your license

There are plenty of things you can do to improve your emergency communication value to the community.

Stay safe and stay healthy!

Thanks,

Chip Ferron NØWKR
Emergency Coordinator
Mesa County ARES
Region 9, District 4

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November Emergency Communications Meeting

We’re closing in on the holiday season, so it’s time for one more EmComm meeting before we all get busy with holiday activities.  The end of the year is rapidly approaching, so it’s time to review your training and certifications for your Emergency Communication participation.  We will meet next Saturday, November 23 at 0900 at First Christian Church, 1326 N. 1st – the usual place.

As communication needs become more complex, our emergency services partners need to know that the communicators who assist them are properly trained and vetted, and won’t become a liability rather than an asset when they are called to participate.  One of the ways to be prepared is to have an organized, complete binder of certifications, identification and qualifications.  I personally use the ARES Emergency Communicator Individual Task Book to keep my ICS certs, CAP qualifications, RACES Manual and AuxComm credentials in a 3-ring binder.  Whatever system you use, you need to keep it current and complete, so I would like to focus our upcoming meeting on putting together this vital record.  Feel free to bring any certifications you have in paper format, and we can make copies to include in your Task Book.  If you like, bring a flash drive and we can scan your records into a .pdf file as a permanent record.  I include a copy of my ham license as well.

As usual, we welcome members from every EmComm-related group, including RACES, Mesa County SARC, Civil Air Patrol, Salvation Army, ARES and any interested individual looking to link up with a group that shares those interests.  We look forward to seeing you!

And naturally, we’ll have coffee ‘n’ donuts.  Feel free to e-mail me at if you have any questions.

 

 

Chip Ferron NØWKR
Emergency Coordinator
Mesa County ARES
Region 9, District 4

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The Great Colorado ShakeOut

At 10:17 a.m. on October 17, 2019, thousands of people will participate in the Great Colorado ShakeOut, the state’s largest earthquake drill ever!  We’ll join participants from across the country to prepare for earthquake response and recovery.  As part of ARES, it’s important that we know how to launch a communication response to assist local, state and federal officials as they mobilize for damage control.  In Mesa County, all ARES members should monitor the Western Colorado Amateur Radio Club’s W0RRZ repeater at 146.94 MHz (107.2 tone) for information on how to respond.  The only catch?  No public AC power!  The first thing to go in an earthquake is public power, so please respond with battery, generator or solar power only.  Even a handheld will work, so we should all be able to respond. 

The Great Colorado ShakeOut is part of the Great ShakeOut, a national and international initiative to help teach citizens how to survive and recover from an earthquake.  More information is available at www.shakeout.org.  As of October 6th, 17.8 million people are registered to participate in the U.S. and 19.4 million worldwide.

This will be a brief drill – I would just like to see how many ARES members can respond.  We’ll also be working with Mesa County RACES, which will be monitoring the GMRA repeaters to assist with a government response, so try to monitor both bands if you’re also a RACES member.  We’re fortunate in Mesa County to be relatively disaster-free, so this is a good opportunity to brush up on our emergency communication readiness skills, and this meets the requirements for an ARES drill to enter into your ARES Task Book for required exercises.

Listen for more details on the RACES/EmComm net on Wednesday on GMRA.

Thanks for your participation!

Great Colorado ShakeOut Statewide Earthquake Drill – Flyer

Chip Ferron, N0WKR
Mesa County ARES Emergency Coordinator

 

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Severe Weather Spotter and Safety Classes – SKYWARN

The National Weather Service office in Grand Junction offers free Spotter Training Classes throughout the year and around the western slope.   If your interested in learning how to spot severe weather and learn about the dangers from these storms, we encourage you to attend one of their free 2 hour classes.

For your convenience a list of the upcoming classes is listed below.  For additional information or to confirm a class, please visit the NWS Grand Junction Spotter Training Page.

  • Telluride, CO – 8-17-2019 12-2pm – Telluride Fire Station 1
  • Glenwood Springs, CO – 8-24-2019 12-2pm – Glenwood Springs Branch Library
  • Gunnison, CO – 9-14-2019 12-2pm – Gunnison County Emergency Operations Center

 

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Use Social Media to Your Advantage

NWS-GJ-TwitterWe all have our thoughts/concerns about social media. Some people dive in deep while others stand around the edge of the pond and say “No Thanks”. However, Social Media can have its good side and you can use that to your advantage.

Twitter is one of those things that you can take advantage of without having to actually participate. Twitter’s short bits of information make it timely, easy to read and extremely useful. IF…….. you follow the right people.

Mesa-County-Sheriff-TwitterDon’t follow your favorite beer maker, car dealership or snack food company. Only follow those individuals or organizations that will feed you the information you need. Being that we are ARES, that is going to be EmComm related posters. Here are a few that I follow and recommend. Please note that you can click on any of these Twitter links, see what they are posting and decide for yourself. Without having to create an account.

NWS-GJ-Twitter-Post

Getting updates for weather, law enforcement, emergency services and travel can be a major benefit to you.  Using Twitter on your computer via the browser or an App on your phone and/or tablet, puts that information at your finger tips as it happens.  You don’t have to wait for the evening news or the morning paper to know what’s important to you.

FEMA-R8-PostingYou can open a Twitter account with a minimum amount of information.  Use you Ham Radio Call Sign as your login name.  There are thousands of Ham Operators doing just this.  Then add some of the above tweeters and search using keywords to find others that post the information you are interested in.  You can visit https://twitter.com to look around and create a login.  Download the app on your devices as well.  If in the end you don’t like it, just close the account.  You never have to post anything if you don’t want, you can just use it as a News Feed as many of us do.

Thank you and I hope you found this useful.  Please note that the opinions expressed here are my own and not of Mesa County ARES or its participants.

John Fuller, WJ0NF

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Welcome to Mesa County ARES

Welcome to the new site for Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES), Mesa County Colorado.

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.

As you can see, we are just starting to put together some content for those interested in participating in ARES and also for those already involved. Please bookmark this page and check back for related information and upcoming events.

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