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Front Page » March 1, 2011 » Emery County News » County participates in training exercise in communication
Published 1,363 days ago

County participates in training exercise in communication


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By PHIL FAUVER
Staff writer

Sinbad Desert Amateur Radio Club, Boarderline Radio Club and Skyline Radio Club volunteers were invited to participate in the Seven Eastern Utah Counties mock disaster exercise. The counties involved in this exercise were Duchesne, Daggett, Uintah, Emery, Grand, Carbon, and San Juan.

The sponsors were Uintah Basin and Southeastern Utah Association of Governments.This exercise was part of a Homeland Security Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Program for the Uintah Basin and SouthEastern Utah.

The exercise started off with the following scenario. At around 8 a.m. Feb. 15, Delta Flight 3126 from Salt Lake City to Denver reported a total engine failure and was attempting to crash land on a plateau in the Book Cliffs area. Ranchers in the area called to report smoke and fire visible in the area. When the Sheriff's Search and Rescue personnel from Grand, Emery and Carbon counties reached this crash site by snowmobiles they reported that the aircraft was largely intact, and there were many survivors. There were also several injured, some life-threatening and some deceased victims. Delta reported that the aircraft had 74 passengers and a crew of five on board. The county commissioners from all seven counties immediately directed an activation of the County Emergency Operations Control or Command Posts in support of the response and rescue operation. The weather was clear and mild.

By 10 a.m. the Emery County Command Center was in operation and making contact with dispatch centers in each of the seven counties by radio. As the disaster happened in Emery County, Emery County became the command and control center. Emery and Carbon counties set up their mobile communications command centers at the county fairgrounds in Price. The other counties set up mobile command centers and dispatch centers in various places in their area.

Hospitals and health department's in close proximity to the disaster area were contacted to make sure each were prepared to receive and transport injured and non-injured crash survivors and deceased bodies. Castleview Hospital has a functioning ham radio operator and radio.

The purpose of this exercise was to test the communications by radio to and from all seven counties utilizing the State Road System mountain top radio repeaters. Command posts and dispatch centers were set up in each of these counties using the SRS mountain top repeaters. Soon communication was established and information exchanged about the simulated disaster and the transporting of victims by helicopter or ambulance to various hospitals that could accommodate the injured.

Carbon County reported they were sending a truck with water, food and shelter for the first responders to the disaster. The various counties reported by radio as to what assistance they were providing as if it were an actual emergency.

Each command post, command center and dispatch center had a script they were following.

Captain Kyle Ekker the incident commander from Emery County over saw the entire operation for Emery County. He made sure that all components, participants and equipment were functioning properly.

Bret Mills the Emery County incident communications coordinator for the Emery County Sheriff's Office, assisted by Jessie Price, set up equipment, antennas and kept the radios tuned or functioning while making notes of any items that needed to be improved upon.

Mills, WX7Y said, to the amateur radio operators, "I will be linking this exercise to the SDARC repeater system so please limit the activity, any real emergencies of course will be handled by a triple break and ask for the link to be dropped so your emergency traffic can be handled. If you don't want your repeater system involved in this then please take it off the link prior to this exercise."

In short: We will all meet up on the SRS system by having each dispatch center take a turn cross patching the command posts, emergency operation centers, and dispatch centers on their respective SRS repeaters. We will also gradually add in more tactical frequencies as we go along and finish with the 800 mhz frequency being cross patched in to the network. Each county dispatch center will patch to the repeaters and then remove the patch so another county dispatch center can communicate over the repeater system. Several volunteer amateur radio operators reported in from Emery, Carbon, Sanpete and Duchesne counties when asked for a report by dispatch. The ham radio operators were asked to report their locations using their hand held radio or mobile radios through the ham radio club mountain top radio repeaters.

The ham radio club repeaters on mountain tops in Utah allow for communications over most of Utah, parts of Colorado and Arizona. These volunteers are capable of providing an additional source of communication in case of a real disaster. They would be extra eyes and ears on the ground assisting where needed.

Others involved in this communications test were the BLM, State of Utah Division of Homeland Security, State of Utah Division of Communications, Allen Memorial Hospital, Uinta Basin Medical Center and Castleview Hospital.

Sheriff Greg Funk said that in this test they were dispatching through linking mountain top repeater radios and patching or linking into other agencies communications systems. This linking allows for all agencies to be able to communicate with each other. He said this is an exciting step forward for this part of the state.

Sheriff Funk met with the Amateur Radio Operators (hams) and said, "Looking at the terrain we have in Emery County there are some places where our present radio communications are insufficient, however, the ham radios are able to communicate in many blind areas or dead spots. Especially along Interstate 70 and in the deep canyons of the San Rafael Swell. A dead spot is an area where radio communications cannot be sent or received.

Some Sheriff Deputies have found that ham radio is the only means of communication in these dead spots. A few deputies have passed the Ham Radio FCC test and have obtained a Ham radio license and purchased their own radios. A good Ham Radio for attaching to an automobile or using as a hand held radio can cost approximately $300 to $1,200.

The following were on hand to observe and assist at the exercise. Margene Hanson, Price Dispatch Center Manager was working in the Carbon County Mobile Communications Center.

Alan Orten KA7LEG Price Incident Communications Commander said There are a couple of people here from the State of Utah representing Home Land Security and the state will consider approving of what we are doing. They are the overseers of the entire exercise. This whole exercise, when it is done. We will determine what changes need to be made. Then we will come together at a later date to go over what is decided this afternoon.

Terrie Wright, is the Emergency Response Coordinator and Public Information Officer for four counties in the Southeastern Utah District Health Department. She said, "We have an office in Castle Dale, Moab, Price and two offices in San Juan Counties. "We also have two Ham Radio Operators in our system to help."

Robbie Donaldson works for the Southeastern Utah Health Department and is over the Hospital Preparedness Program to help link communications between the hospitals. He reported Castleview Hospital has a Ham Radio and he hopes he will be able to pass the test when the radio class is held again and become a Ham Radio Operator. Robbie is also involved with the Medical Reserve Corp. The Medical Reserve Corp is an organization based on volunteers, both medical and non-medical volunteers for a community of a specific area like Southeastern Utah Region. As such our people can assist in a major accident or disaster scene. In the case of a major problem Southeastern Utah Region can deploy these volunteers to help out. The volunteers can be medical, teachers, psychiatrists, anyone that might help in a disaster. These are all credentialed local volunteers as such we would know where we can deploy them and use their skills.

Jason Llewelyn is the Emergency Director for Carbon County. He is the Carbon County Fire Chief and an EMT for Carbon County. He assisted Jim Anderson on site, during the exercise, when Jim became faint due to low oxygen.

Lee Hill is the Regional Planning Director for Uintah Basin Association of Governments in Roosevelt. He reported that it is nice to be able to tie in different counties and see exactly what their communications capabilities are. We will see what their training levels are and utilize some of the Home Land Security money that was set aside to do this type of exercise and to benefit from those programs that are available. After our review meeting today we will follow up and possibly set up a second exercise to see if we are able to rectify or adjust some of the things that did go wrong. It is nice to have Eastern Utah working together.

Michelle Miller is a liaison for the region of Dagget, Uintah and Duchesne Counties and works for the State of Utah as a communities support representative.

After this communications test was completed a meeting was held with all agencies to evaluate the objectives and suggest improvements. Necessary corrective actions will be implemented and additional tests of this nature may be held in the near future.

Photo of Sheriff with SDARC Ham Radio Operators L to R

Jim Anderson KA7YIV of Huntington

Allen Orton KA7LEG of Price SDARC Club Vice. President

J J Grant K7JNJ of Orangeville SDARC Club President

Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk

Emery County Deputy Sheriff Dusty Butler

Brett Mills WX7Y of Castle Dale

Paul Porter K7BFE of Orangeville

John Barker K1HOD of Huntington

Sinbad Desert Amateur Radio Club Beginnings: A little history.

The Sinbad Desert Amateur Radio Club is a general-purpose club that mainly serves the Carbon and Emery Counties but has members from all over Utah and surrounding states. The Club was formed by local Hams in Eastern Utah in 1982 by individuals with a common interest. Those interests range from a "ragchew" on one of the standalone repeaters or on the SDARC repeater system to the many different modes on the low bands.

Repeaters

The first repeater installed became the Bruin Point repeater in 1981 and consisted of a Motorola tube driven VHF repeater on 147.320. It was then replaced with a Motorola Micor radio. At this same time another group of Hams from Emery County installed a repeater on Cedar Mountain on 147.080 which was a store bought Uniden VHF repeater with a home made duplexer.

Other repeaters from neighboring clubs and individuals are also linked to the Sinbad System. The Skyline Amateur Radio Club has a few repeaters on their side that are linked to us. The Borderline Amateur Radio Club have two repeaters linked to Sinbad, the Grizzly Ridge repeater (145.490 pl 136.5). There are also two repeaters from the Moab area that are usually linked, the Moab repeater (146.900 pl 88.5) and the Bald Mesa repeater (146.760 pl 88.5). assisting where needed.

Others involved in this communications test were the BLM, State of Utah Division of Homeland Security, State of Utah Division of Communications, Allen Memorial Hospital, Uinta Basin Medical Center and Castleview Hospital.

Sheriff Greg Funk said in this test they were dispatching through linking mountain top repeater radios and patching or linking into other agencies communications systems. This linking allows for all agencies to be able to communicate with each other. He said this is an exciting step forward for this part of the state.

Sheriff Funk met with the Amateur Radio Operators (hams) and said, "Looking at the terrain we have in Emery County there are some places where our present radio communications are insufficient, however, the ham radios are able to communicate in many blind areas or dead spots, especially along Interstate 70 and in the deep canyons of the San Rafael Swell." A dead spot is an area where radio communications cannot be sent or received.

Some Sheriff's deputies have found that ham radio is the only means of communication in these dead spots. A few deputies have passed the Ham Radio FCC test and have obtained a ham radio license and purchased their own radios. A good ham radio for attaching to an automobile or using as a hand held radio can cost approximately $300-$1,200.

The following were on hand to observe and assist at the exercise: Margene Hanson, Price Dispatch Center Manager was working in the Carbon County Mobile Communications Center.

Alan Orten KA7LEG Price Incident Communications Commander said, "There are a couple of people here from the State of Utah representing Home Land Security and the state will consider approving of what we are doing. They are the overseers of the entire exercise. We will determine what changes need to be made. Then we will come together at a later date to go over what is decided this afternoon."

Terrie Wright, is the Emergency Response Coordinator and Public Information Officer for four counties in the Southeastern Utah District Health Department. She said, "We have an office in Castle Dale, Moab, Price and two offices in San Juan Counties. We also have two ham radio operators in our system to help."

Robbie Donaldson works for the Southeastern Utah Health Department and is over the Hospital Preparedness Program to help link communications between the hospitals. He reported Castleview Hospital has a ham radio and he hopes he will be able to pass the test when the radio class is held again and become a ham radio operator. Donaldson is also involved with the Medical Reserve Corp. The Medical Reserve Corp is an organization based on volunteers, both medical and non-medical volunteers for a community of a specific area like Southeastern Utah Region. As such our people can assist in a major accident or disaster scene. In the case of a major problem Southeastern Utah Region can deploy these volunteers to help out. The volunteers can be medical, teachers, psychiatrists, anyone that might help in a disaster. These are all credentialed local volunteers as such we would know where we can deploy them and use their skills.

Jason Llewelyn is the Emergency Director for Carbon County. He is the Carbon County Fire Chief and an EMT for Carbon County. He assisted Jim Anderson on site, during the exercise, when Anderson became faint due to low oxygen.

Lee Hill is the Regional Planning Director for Uintah Basin Association of Governments in Roosevelt. He reported that it is nice to be able to tie in different counties and see exactly what their communications capabilities are. "We will see what their training levels are and utilize some of the Home Land Security money that was set aside to do this type of exercise and to benefit from those programs that are available. After our review meeting today we will follow up and possibly set up a second exercise to see if we are able to rectify or adjust some of the things that did go wrong. It is nice to have Eastern Utah working together," Hill said.

Michelle Miller is a liaison for the region of Daggett, Uintah and Duchesne counties and works for the State of Utah as a communities support representative.

After this communications test was completed a meeting was held with all agencies to evaluate the objectives and suggest improvements. Necessary corrective actions will be implemented and additional tests of this nature may be held in the near future.

Amateur radio classes will begin in the fall. Contact Phil Fauver at 748-2442.

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