From the Connecticut Section Emergency Coordinator / Exercise Director for the 2011 Simulated Emergency Test (SET):
On more occasions than we can count in the history of the Connecticut Section, our Simulated Emergency Tests have been negatively impacted by the ACTUAL weather! Seems that if you want to produce foul weather in Connecticut, all you have to do is schedule an SET! This weekend’s potential for an early-season coastal Nor’easter threatens to add one more “gotcha” to that list!
Because the SET is an important measure of our capability and readiness to support our Served Agencies in an emergency, we do not want to cancel it. BUT we do need to MODIFY it appropriately based on expected REAL weather conditions. Since many of us have already invested considerable time and energy preparing for this exercise, we will include our preparations and response to the expected ACTUAL storm as our 2011 SET.
So, here is our modified PLAN B for this weekend’s SET!
A) Fictitious Hurricane ZETA and a possible CT earthquake, the subjects of the three previous SET Bulletins, are no more! Aside: If only we had the power to control the real world that easily!
B) The guidelines for conducting an SET allow response to an actual event to be counted as the exercise. Up to a 48 hour period of activity can be included in the scoring. We will utilize the period from 0600 Saturday through midnight on Sunday as our SET scoring period. Those responsible for SET reporting should capture all ARES/SKYWARN/NTS activity during that time period on their SET reports.
C) Based on the current forecast, the National Weather Service is likely to activate SKYWARN on Saturday to provide REAL wind and precipitation data. So SKYWARN exercise activity originally planned for Friday evening as part of the SET is CANCELED. SKYWARN personnel should function as they normally would during an actual event.
D) In order to not interfere with any possible actual response efforts, we will focuse the ARES and NTS exercise activity to between 0900 and 1200 on Saturday. District Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers should direct the call up of their respective nets as soon after 0900 as repeater resources allow. DECs should have their leadership cadre conduct a roll call of available operators and determine answers to the following questions about their operating capabilities:
1) Can they operate fixed, mobile, and/or portable?
2) On what bands/modes can they operate?
3) Do they have an emergency power source available, and if so, for what duration?
4) Any other specific capability or limitation?
E) District Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers are authorized to conduct whatever training and exercise activity during the 0900-1200 time period that is appropriate for their area and existing weather conditions. Specific options include, but are not limited to, the following:
1) Conducting Regional nets to determine simplex coverage areas
2) Originating and sending message traffic in NTS format – make sure TEST messages are so marked
3) Operating on emergency power (i.e., battery, generator, solar, wind)
4) Testing communications to EOCs, hospitals, and shelters
5) Practicing with data/digital modes (e.g., Classic Packet and/or Winlink)
F) For purposes of both the SET and the ACTUAL storm, we will elevate the ARES Activation Level to “Level 1 Alert” effective at 1800 Friday evening. We will raise the ARES Activation Level to “Level 2 Standby” effective at 0830 Saturday morning. After further changes to the Activation Level and our ARES response posture will be made as needed to address ACTUAL conditions and needs as they develop. Any actual requests for assistance received from Served Agencies should be handled in the normal manner.
NOTE: No one should actually deploy as part of the SET unless conditions are absolutely SAFE to do so!! An increased level of personal risk is something we are forced to accept in a real emergency response, but not in a drill!
Your support of the upcoming Simulated Emergency Test is sincerely appreciated and contributes to our overall emergency preparedness! See you on the radio this weekend!
Thanx & 73, Wayne, N1CLV
SEC – CT ARES(r)
SET Exercise Director