Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fay...The Aftermath

Well, we staffed the shelters for the third day yesterday. I was busy as the Acting Emergency Coordinator so I didn't spend a lot of time trying to jot stuff down for the blog. Friday was definitely the worst for us as the storm headed west right on top of us. It dumped a lot of rain and we had some really crazy flooding. I don't know why people insist on driving through heavily flooded areas. There were several cars completely covered by water.

We did pretty good as an ARES group. The Red Cross kept us hopping as they would close shelters and not necessarily tell us. We started with 10 shelters and dropped to 7. Out of those we kept 5 staffed with radio operators almost for the duration. In all honesty, though, I'm disappointed that out of over 80 members it was the same handful of folks staffing for all three days. Nobody offered to provide relief. On Wed and Thur we had 40 and 38 net check-ins respectively. Out of that many people you would think somebody would be willing to step up and lend a hand so someone else could have a break.

We also lost some operators due to their own issues at home, work, etc. I'm very proud to say that we even had a non-ham friend of one of our operators take her place when she had to leave. He just monitored the radio she left behind and would get on the phone to make his reports to the EOC.

I had two great net controllers operating from the EOC. All of the radio operators did a fine and professional job. I was proud of everyone.

I'll post some pics from our neighborhood and our own backyard when I get them off the camera. I did have a large limb come down from the pine tree that hit the feedline to my dipole. I think it's still connected but I haven't checked it out yet. I also lost one small piece from my Hustler vertical.

This is the weather over and around Jacksonville at 10:34 Friday.


This is a few hours later at 2:44.


I guess we fared ok. I did learn some things for the next activation, though. I need to have a dedicated go bag/box to hold all of my ham gear. It takes too much time gathering everything up and packing it. I need duplicates of things that I would use for home and emergencies so I don't have to take things from home and try to get them back after the event is over. For example, I need FRS radios that are only used for activations instead of the ones I use around the house. The same for coax, test equipment, battery chargers, phone chargers, etc. I spent too much time grabbing things from the house, from the truck, from here, from there.

Hopefully I'll have time before the next activation comes. We'll see. There was already another storm brewing on the heels of Fay.

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