ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2017-10-01

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient

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    An ARRL ARES® Communicator's Comments
    Beginning of another month....
    - It just seems that I get one month under control and it goes away. Time is like that. I will just never get used to it.

    I have heard nothing from Rob Gould about the Bike Race around Harvey's Lake and I am not going to call him about it. I made the offer at the BTB and I'll leave it at that. I think that LCARES has done enough for 2017 and I am grateful for all your participation and help.

    Our friend, WB3FKP, is back in the hospital for a while so the NCS schedule has been changed. We really need another NCS to help out with the duties. It is not a tough job as those who have taken it on have found out and I think that K3DBG actually enjoys it. I still remember him working the 2 meter side of the SET back in 2014.

    Speaking of the Simulated Emergency Test; Unless someone objects I am going to use the SSES Drill for ours this year. I think it makes sense.

    The Winter Skywarn Training is coming up in November. That is only 1 month away. We had a lot of Skywarn trade this year and we did very well with it. I'd like to keep that track record going.

    EPA SEC Monthly Update...
    I sent the link to the EPA SEC Monthly Update to all the LCARES members. I'd like to point out that there is an article in there by our own N1ZZZ on Situational Awareness. It is a nice simple straight forward way to make sure you have all the needed information that can be visually acquired when approaching anything.

    There was something that I was taught to do prior to interviewing a subject. It was called the size-up. When the subject entered the interview room the interviewer should begin a top down assessment of the person. Forehead - Sweaty, dry, brow furrowed, relaxed. Ears - flushed, red. Eyes - focused on the interviewer, looking around, smooth movement, darting movement. Lips - tight, colorless, biting, straight, smile, relaxed. And so on. The size-up was a quick way to gauge the attitude of the subject. It went on down the body and had to be done quickly. Surprisingly it gave you a baseline on how the interview would go. It was situational awareness for that one 15 to 20 minute period.

    Situational Awareness, whether you are approaching a fire or shopping in Walmart, can result in very valuable information that might just let you react faster than a developing, potentially bad, situation.

    Here is the link to the September EPA SEC Monthly Update. Take time to read N1ZZZ's article.

    You've Been Chosen To Go...
    One of the Hurricane related incidents in September was the request for 50 Amateur Radio Operators to head to Puerto Rico in support of the American Red Cross. It was for a 3 week or longer stint. Radios and other equipment were to be provided when they arrived. So essentially it was bring your body and mind and be prepared to work.

    Lets give some thought to this scenario. It might seem pretty straight forward on what you might be bring with you. Remember you are going into an island that is part of the United States, has a fairly stable government, but it has been battered severely by the Hurricanes. It is a tropical climate. The chances of more bad weather are possible. The supplies and other items of daily life are pretty much non-existent right now. Even fresh water might be at a premium which means showers and daily hygiene might be troublesome. And even getting a drink of water might be problematic. You are, after all, going to be fed and housed by the ARC but that does not mean you will be living in the lap of luxury.

    So what do you think you might want to consider for your 3+ week stay in the Garden Spot created by Hurricane Maria?

    First of all and I know that this is not a really wonderful subject but how are you on your immunizations? You know that shots that you get before you travel places where you might be exposed to some rather noccuous stuff or may step on something pointy and rusty? If you are not a regular traveler outside the confines of the continental US you might not have thought of that. Even if you have had your immunizations it might be time for some boosters you know. These are the recommended immunization vaccines that you should have if you are traveling to Puerto Rico.

    OK, if you are like me then there are the daily medications. That is a given. 3 weeks is 21 days. How much of a supply of your meds do you have on hand RIGHT NOW! How can you get a supply to take you through the 3+ weeks? How are you going to pack it so it doesn't go bad in the very humid climate? Can you take your meds without a long drink of water? Do you have to eat something before or after you take your meds? These are all considerations when you are going to some place that isn't for a vacation. No Carnival Cruise Lines ship to retreat to when you need to take a drink along with a pill.

    This is going to be a stressful situation. You'll probably be sitting at the computer for hours on end. You'll need your rest. Can you fall asleep without a sleeping aid? Does your aching body need something like Ibuprofen to relax so you can sleep. Where will you be sleeping? If you are lucky you will be sleeping on a cot but it might be the floor. Might be a good idea to take one of those inflatable mattresses with you. How about the bugs. You know those things that annoy you when you are in the garden. Take it up a notch in Puerto Rico. Remember it is a tropical climate, it is wet, and that is the kind of stuff those bugs like. Hopefully the ARC will have provided for that but if not a good mosquito net might be a good idea. How about the noise. If you are used to sleeping in a nice quiet and darkened room you might be in for a surprise. Can you say communal living? Soft ear plugs (more than one pair) and a set of eye shades might be a good idea. Sounds nuts but a good night sleep at any cost is worth it.

    The CDC has a fairly complete list of items for Healthy Travel Packing. Notice that they recommend you bring your own suture kit.

    Speaking of stressful. How is your mental state? No I am not kidding. You will see some things that will rock you to your very core. Human misery that is beyond belief. Some of the places that the tourists never see are bad. In Puerto Rico after the Hurricane it will be worse. And you won't be able to escape it. No stepping outside for a break. It will be out there too. If you are unlucky enough to be separated from your group and not speak Spanish you will be mobbed because people will think you "from the States and are there to help." The worst is you want to help but you can't.

    When you do wake up, and you will more than once during your siesta, you will want to clean up a bit. Like I said water will be at a premium. Might be a good idea to pack some Gojo scrubbing wipes with you. At least your face, arms, and hands will benefit from it.

    Well, you say you will be in a shelter with others who have the same needs. OK, lets think about that. That shelter of which you speak might be in the mountains of Puerto Rico. The situation in Puerto Rico outside the tourist areas is bad even at times of no Hurricanes. As of right now the news stories of people in shelters who cannot get water, hospitals that cannot accept patients because they only have 6 hours of fuel for the generators. The same needs as others? It is really worse than can be expected. Oh, and these shelters that are being reported are right near San Juan which is one of the largest cities in Puerto Rico. You better take something with you if you plan on keeping clean. I used to keep something called DryBath in my luggage. It works even though I don't think I would want to use for more than 3 weeks.

    Have you ever worn your clothes for 30 days? I have and believe me it is not pleasant at all. Washing your clothes will be very problematic. Not going to use the hotel laundry in Puerto Rico. Nope. Not going to work. Take as many changes of underwear as you can. And as many pairs of pants, shirts, and don't worry about dressing for dinner.

    Guess you might think there will at least be drinking water. Probably. And it might come in a nice plastic bottle. Listen for the crunch when you twist the cap. Not there? Be very afraid. If I were going there a Katadyne water filter would be very high up on the list of things that I would want with me at all times. Hey, I carried one of these when I traveled for work even if I was still in the continental US. Montezuma's Revengeis not something I ever want again.

    Hand sanitizer? Nice idea but most of them are not worth the bottle they come in. Washing you hands with soap and water is still the best but when you are some place where water is at a premium washing your hands is more of a luxury than you think. Good water is better in you than on you. So a hand sanitizer might help. I have read that Purell Hand Sanitizer is about the best you can get. Going to Puerto Rico. I'd suggest taking some.

    Socks - wear them. This is not a place for flip flops and bare feet. Socks inside some good shoes will help you keep your feet dry, keep the little things that like to burrow into your skin away, and prevent sores from developing. If you get through the day without your feet getting wet then hang your socks out to air dry. You can wear them for 3 or 4 days before changing them as long as they stay dry. Ringworm, and it is not a worm, is a fungal infection. Athlete's foot is a form of it. Keeping your feet dry and in socks and shoes is a big help to prevent it.

    Shoes - same a socks but they are your feet's first line of defense. Try to keep them dry but if not dry them as soon as you can. And I am not talking about sneakers or tennis shoes here. They may not be fashionable but if you are walking outside then you want shoes that will survive. If they survive then your feet and probably you will survive. And if you take them off at night, and you should to let them air, be sure to turn them over and dump out anything that has taken up residence while you were sleeping. No I am not kidding. BTW, you don't have to wear jungle boots. Just good shoes. And if you have to walk around outside at night remember that many of the critters out there detect their prey by sensing heat. Your feet in sandals might just look like a good fat mouse to one of them.

    By the way, if your feet do get wet then dry them as soon as you have an opportunity. Do not let your feet stay wet. Can you say trenchfoot? It happens in warm climates too. It is not pretty and it is certainly not comfortable. Maybe you had better take an extra pair of shoes if you can fit them in your luggage.

    A hat! Don't forget one. More than likely you'll be working inside but a hat is important. Wear it. Sun protection and all that but there are some things that drop from trees too. Wearing a hat, almost any hat, will keep you cooler and protect that head from other things.

    Pants - if you are not going to be going through any kind of vegetation then short pants are fine. But if you are going to be walking through anything that is green and plant like then long pants are the order of the day. It is amazing the things that can end up on bare skin in the tropics especially when it is wet. Long pants may be warmer but if you have white skin then it might be better if you cover it. Same goes for shirts. Inside then short sleeves are fine. In the bush - long sleeves and even then check after you have been out in the woods. Oh, and ticks are the least of your worries.

    Well, I have not covered all of it. I could go on but I think you get the idea that the "Force of 50" will not be on a tourist jaunt to Puerto Rico. It is not going to be the fun of a DXpedition. I don't know where they will be working but if the pictures of the shelters are any indication I don't think I would want to go without some preparation. Working in a shelter in Florida or Texas is tough work. The work in Puerto Rico will be grueling.

    My hat is off to those volunteers who have responded to this. May God Bless Them!

    EPA-ARRL Web site...
    - If you have not done it yet then what are you waiting for? Get to the EPA-ARRL web site and either submit your email address or like it on Facebook. It is the place to get the information and news about the EPA Section.

    Ham Radio Links
    N3LLR's Ham Radio Forum
    ARRL Eastern PA Section Web Site
    Luzerne County ARES®
    Harris County Texas ARES® - A great training resource
    Lake County (OH) RACES Personal Go-Kit for Emergency Operations - KE7LHR
    MecklenBurg County ARES® and RACES
    K0BG - The Website for Mobile Amateur Radio Operators (Perhaps the best web site on mobile operations I have found!)
    Origins of Ham Speak - Fact, Legends, and Myths??? - Compiled by AC6V from the Internet and other unreliable sources
    The Petite Prepper
    The VOA Radiogram
    Thank you for copying our weekly digital information Bulletin to all Amateur Radio Operators.

    Send reception reports and comments to

    Have a good week everyone!


    ARRL EPA Section Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL EPA District 3 District Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL ARES® Emergency Coordinator
    Luzerne County ARES®
    ARES and "Amateur Radio Emergency Services" are registered service marks owned by the American Radio Relay League, The National Association of Amateur Radio. Use of these service marks is by permission only.
  2. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient

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