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                       Dedicated to Emergency Communications by RADIO
        EMCOMM  MONTHLY   
                           
“PREPAREDNESS is our most important PRODUCT”               
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VOL.  2 -- No. 6                 ONLINE: www.emcomm.org/em/                     November  2005
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Another edition full of "where the rubber meets the road" information for serious emcomm operators.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
The EM PHILOSOPHY
SHORT CIRCUITS
FEEDBACK,  MUSINGS... and SPURIOUS EMISSIONS
The EM ADVISOR
ICS PERSPECTIVES
NETWORK NEWS - "N.E.T.S."
RETRO REVIEW - The Counter Person
QSH - ARE YOU ANALOG or DIGITAL?

SHOW US YOUR SHACK
FEATURE ARTICLE - "The Psychology of Disaster" - Part II
EMCOMM SPECIALTY ITEMS
NEW SUBSCRIBERS and CONTRIBUTORS
SUPPORT OUR SUPPORTERS
REFERENCE and RESOURCE SECTION

The EM PHILOSOPHY
This month Americans set aside one day to give thanks (officially).  Although many in our land have been severely impacted by hurricanes, floods, and fires;  those who have suffered or who are still suffering have witnessed the generosity of others who have given of their time and money and other resources.  We all have much to be thankful for.

As a radio amateur and emcomm volunteer I am thankful that we still have a wide variety of bands within the frequency spectrum and a wide choice of modes.  I am thankful that an amateur license is still available at no cost.  All that is required is a basic knowledge of electronics and the rules and regulations.  I am thankful that my wife (KE6MZT) is tolerant of my drilling holes through walls, stringing up new antennas, and tinkering around with old radios while the incense of rosin core solder and ozone permeates the house or shop. I am thankful that I can still manage to walk through and step over all the old gear in the shack and that I have not yet been buried in an avalanche of old books, magazines, papers, maps, and service manuals.  I am thankful that I can usually find what I am looking for...often within a few days.  I am thankful that I have the freedom to erect a new tower or long wire without having to obtain permission from some local committee or bureaucrat.  I am thankful that I didn't fall off the roof this year.  I am thankful that "the bands" aren't worse than they are.  I am thankful for all my fellow on-the-air emcomm operators.  I am thankful that the International Morse Code has not been classified as a code or cipher and banned.  I am thankful that I have not gone completely senile yet.  I'm sure there is much more to be thankful for.  I will remember it later.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING de K6SOJ 
 
The RIGHT FORMULA (for effective and efficient field communications):
The RIGHT PEOPLE:
  Properly trained, exercised, proficient, and disciplined communicators.
The RIGHT PLACE: Prepared to operate.  Whether at home, at an ECC, mobile or portable.
The RIGHT TIME:  Prepared NOW for emergency communications later.  Anytime they are needed.
The RIGHT EQUIPMENT:  Simple, self-powered, dependable, durable, and portable.
The RIGHT PLAN:  Structured and well defined.  But not so rigid as to not allow leaders to make course corrections.
 
EM believes that every radio amateur has a moral and patriotic obligation to give something back to his or her community and country.  We would be happy if just 10% of all U.S. radio amateurs (60,000) obtained the training, skill and experience and be ready to perform this vital service to the public.   EM believes that every EmComm operator should strive to learn all the skills that he or she is capable of learning, to perfect our art, always practice good operating procedures, and by remaining active (on the air); thereby grow and excel in the abilities needed to provide a useful and reliable communications service to the public.
 
OUR GOAL: 60,000 Trained, Skilled, Experienced EMCOMM Operators and Stations Ready and Willing to Serve the Public!
--
SHORT CIRCUITS
A SPECIAL WELCOME to Mike McClanahan, W3RMM, Lewes, Delaware.  Our 1000th subscriber!
--
FEEDBACK,  MUSINGS... and SPURIOUS EMISSIONS

I am a faithful reader of EMCOMM MONTHLY and find the information to be highly valuable.  I want to thank you and your staff for a wonderful job.  I may not have all the right equipment yet, nor have I received all the training that is available.  I am currently taking the emcomm level one hybrid class and a team leader for the local CERT team.  Keep up the good work. - Steven F. Rawson, Jr., KD7JRI, Silver Springs, NV
COMMENT:  Thanks Steven.  It's always nice to know that someone is getting some good out of our efforts.  Stay tuned.  And as "the Gipper" once said: "You ain't see nothin' yet!" - Editor
--
Persons bringing messages to an EmComm station counter person do not need to know all the fine details of the message format.  They only need to supply the following things:
1.  Who they want the message to go to...(as complete as possible physical address.)
2.  What they want to say...(text,preferably in less than 25 words or groups)
3.  Who is sending it...(signature + contact info.)
The above items (that the "customer" needs to supply) are three of the four parts of a RADIOGRAM .

Adding the "preamble" (msg number, precedence, HX, station of origin, check, place of origin, time, date) is the responsibility of the "counter person(s)" that are acting in the interfacing capacity between the actual radio operator(s) and the public or "served agency" that desires to have their traffic moved. 

If there is a lot of traffic to be moved, someone acting as a go-between from the entity originating the traffic and those who actually transmit it on the circuit is ESSENTIAL.  Having someone check over the traffic to make sure the address is complete, the text is something that can be actually transmitted (no illegal content or "non-transmittable" symbols, etc.) and that the signature and reply contact information is complete (if a reply is requested) will ensure that the message moves across multiple networks efficiently.

If you can get this concept across to the folks in the "served" agencies prior to an exercise or incident, it will make our job it a lot easier.  The radio communication operation should be a separate organization unto its own and not be "micromanaged" by the "served agency".  Just give us the damn traffic, and let us move it!
-- Ed  "FB" Trump, AL7N, Fairbanks, Alaska

NOTE: For more on this topic see "FORMATTING A RADIOGRAM TEXT - THE COUNTER PERSON" in Retro Review below.

THE EM ADVISOR

Q: "If a precedence EMERGENCY message is received and if after copying the text the word count does not match the CHECK in the preamble, should the receiving station "iron out" the discrepancy before relaying or delivering the message?  Isn't time of the essence? -- (This subject came up in a recent training class.)
 
A: No message, no matter what the precedence, should be forwarded or delivered until it has been correctly copied!  If the word count is off just by one "word", that word may be of key importance!  Suppose the message is requesting emergency response to a specific location.  One missing "word" could make the difference between rescuers arriving quickly or being misdirected.  Perhaps the message is requesting some life saving item such as one or more units of a certain blood type.  One missing word (or extra word) could make the difference between life and death!   Example after example could be given.  As we said in the last issue:  ACCURACY TRUMPS SPEED!   (NEXT MONTH watch for "What is Your Location?" in RETRO REVIEW.)
 
Q:
  "The r
ecent hurricanes have kept many ham radio operators around the country busy.  I responded to a location in Mississippi and worked in an EOC for a week.  It was an interesting experience and lots of areas needed attention.  After action reports and discussion with the shakers and movers in the EmComm field would be valuable.  Local NTS and State NTS was naturally quite busy. One major problem encountered was hams showing up on the NTS Net with traffic and NO idea how to properly originate a message or handle traffic.  At first, an experienced operator would move them off the net frequency and assist them with the proper completion of  the traffic form.  However, this caused a problem by taking experienced traffic handlers off frequency and rendering them unavailable.  Finally, a Section Manager (in another section) said that this practice could not continue.   He response was, 'filling out a message form was as easy as filling out a QSL card' and these non-traffic types would just have to learn how to do it on their own or in a classroom setting later.   Thus many left in frustration and their traffic was not passed.  WHAT IS THE ANSWER?" -- Name withheld by request
 
A:  The short answer is: BE PREPARED!   It's too late to prepare for this year's disasters...but it's NOT too late for the future.  In the last issue of EM (see PSYCHOLOGY OF DISASTER) we reviewed "The Delusion of Personal Invulnerability".  Radio amateurs are no different than anyone else.  I wish I knew the answer of how to get more of them up off their keisters and prepare for public service.  I have come to the conclusion that many are just too lazy to spend a few hours to learn traffic handling and donate a few minutes each week to stay "in practice".  What we can't figure out is why many hams will spend hundreds (even thousands) of dollars, and many hours operating in often adverse conditions, in order to participate in a contest or a DXpedition (which can provide good operating experience) just to collect another QSL card.   But ask them to spend a few hours learning message traffic and they suddenly are too busy.

We have all heard some ham say:  "I'm not interested in any preparedness activity or meetings or training, but in an emergency I'll be there to help!"  Visualize for a moment w
hat would happen if the musicians within a community took this attitude:  "I'm not interested in attending any practice sessions or rehearsals.  But the next time the symphony has a concert I'll be there with my horn!   Since I own an instrument and play with it once a week doesn't that make me qualified?  And, why do you insist that we all play from the same page of music?"  
EM is in combat with apathy and ignorance.

Q:  "I am a member of our county's ARES® unit, I am trying to get the rest of the group to "see the light" about ICS and all it's particulars, do you have any good ideas to nudge them?  I am all in favor of implementing an ICS style structure, but the rest of the members don't appear to be interested, you know "this is the way we have always done it, why should we change now" dialog.  I have sent my EC several emails and links concerning ICS, he has never commented on any of it. See my dilemma?" -- Name withheld by request

A:
  The problem you are facing is common.  And it is not unique to EmComm.  Many public service agencies have been reluctant to implement the ICS/NIMS.  Others profess to use it...but that's about as far as it goes.  Some only comply as little as possible in order to obtain DHS/FEMA grants.  The ICS does have some drawbacks.  Some have applied it too rigidly.  (I have personally seen emergency personnel placed in harm's way due it being too rigidly applied.)  But overall, it is a good system if properly utilized.  Just as the universal RADIOGRAM and its associated handling procedures are a standardized method for handling message traffic, the ICS is an effective standardized method for managing incidents.

The old line: "this is the way we have always done it, why should we change now?" usually translates into: "we don't want to do anything except talk and drink coffee...but we do do a lot of that!"  Actually the ICS concept not new.  2000 years ago the Romans used a command system that is close to what is still in use today by military and naval forces.  In the civilian sector, the U.S. Forest Service and many other agencies have used similar management systems for decades.  The reason? It works!   A few years ago, after I had given a presentation about the ICS to a group of hams, a woman raised her hand and commented:  "All this structure stuff is a male thing.  What would work better is if we would all just form a circle and share our ideas."  Far fetched idea?  Not really.  This is exactly how many ARES® units have traditionally functioned!

I spent most of my life in hospital work.  When several major trauma victims arrive at the Emergency Department at the same time you had better have a plan, a system, a protocol, and a disciplined trauma team that know their "command" system and has worked together!   (The M.D. [minor deity] is the "incident commander"!)  What he or she says is law!    This is what works and saves lives and holds true for fire, law enforcement and all other emergency services!   During an emergency is not the time to form a committee!


For starters, you can insist that your team leaders and members all subscribe to EM.  They have a lot of catching up to do but the back issues are all available at
www.emcomm.org/em  They can also use our handy site search http://www.emcomm.org/search.htm to locate scads of information.

Finally, some public service agencies are refusing to accept amateur radio volunteers unless they have National Incident Management System (NIMS) Training.  All emcomm leaders would be wise to encourage their unit members to take the NIMS IS-700 Course which is available free on line.  NIMS compliance requirements will be phased in over time. FY 2005 will be a NIMS ramp-up year. Full NIMS compliance will not be required until the end of FY 2006."

Finally, if your leaders can't get their act together...they ought to be replaced.  We need leaders who can do the job.  And (for the rest of us) either: "lead, follow, or get out of the way!"
--
ICS PERSPECTIVES - by Jerry Boyd N7WR

This is a bit of a departure from my norm as it is not an ICS related column.  But it does concern EMCOMM and the annual SET that was scheduled for October 1, 2005.  Unfortunately the “sponsor” of the national Simulated Emergency Test didn’t provide much in the way of reminders so participation was not what it should have been.  In my county (Baker County Oregon) we had just completed the final phase of rebuilding our county-wide public safety radio system (24 repeaters, 300 plus mobile and hand-held radios, and a new “state of the art” 3 position dispatch center).  We needed to test the system over our nearly 4000 sq. mile rather mountainous county.  That is not easy to do given the fact that if we are lucky we have only 2 sheriff’s deputies on duty at any one time.  So the SET was to give each participating amateur a public safety radio to be used in receive mode only, and deploy them to various parts of the county to check and see how well the public safety repeaters covered the area.  Their “talk back” to the dispatch center was via a linked 2-meter repeater system. Two-meter and HF stations were set up in the 9-1-1 Center staffed by a ham.  What we didn’t say is that midway through the test the linked repeaters would be dumped.  Would any try and use a simplex frequency to contact the center….or 40-meter SSB on our “watch frequency”….or would they just give up and drive home?  Fortunately most did find an alternative way to contact net control.  It may have been a unique SET but it was a good test---which is exactly what a SET is supposed to be.

--

NATIONAL EMCOMM TRAFFIC SERVICE  (NETS)
The NATIONAL EMCOMM TRAFFIC SERVICE use designated watch and calling frequencies.   Public service amateur radio operators everywhere are invited to monitor these frequencies whenever possible.  But when disasters or other incidents occur, emcomm operators are asked to warm up their radios and "light up" the NATIONAL EMCOMM TRAFFIC SERVICE..."24/7".  Active operators know which bands are most likely to be "open" depending upon the time of day, season, etc.

During disasters and for other emergencies the frequencies are "open nets".  When traffic becomes heavy they will become "command and control" frequencies with a net control station "triaging traffic" and directing stations with traffic to another (traffic) frequency.  (At least 5 kHz away.)  Proper net procedures are essential.

NETS does not keep (nor is limited to) regular schedules and is not intended to handle routine "make work" messages.  It is not a substitute for the ARRL/NTS which handles routine traffic (birthday greetings, your license is about to expire, etc.), on regular schedules.  NETS is intended to supplement the ARRL/NTS by providing a method for radio amateurs to originate, relay and deliver public service traffic, at anytime...especially during disasters or other crises.

NATIONAL EMCOMM TRAFFIC SERVICE (NETS) WATCH • MONITOR • CALLING • TRAFFIC FREQUENCIES
SSB:
•  1982 kHz (May be activated during incidents.)
•  3987 kHz (And down because most "RACES" activity is above 3.990.)
•  5332 kHz "Up" to other 60M channels as necessary. 50W maximum ERP. (Activated during actual incidents.)
•  7232 kHz (up)
• 14280 kHz (up)
• ALASKA ONLY: 5167.5 kHz (USB emergency traffic only)

CW:
•  1916 kHz (May be active during incidents.)
•  3711 kHz
•  7111 kHz
• 10109 kHz
• ALASKA 3540/7042/14050 kHz

VHF/UHF FM
• ARES® 146.55 MHz
• ARES®/Red Cross 147.42 MHz
• NATIONAL CALLING (and Wilderness Protocol) 146.52 MHz 
• WILDERNESS PROTOCOL (ref. June 1996 QST, page 85).
Primary frequency: 146.52 MHz (FM simplex). Secondary frequencies: 446.0, 223.5, 52.525
and 1294.5 MHz.  All stations (both fixed, portable or mobile) monitor the primary (and
secondary if possible) frequency(s) every three hours starting at 7:00 am local time, for five
minutes (7:00-7:05 AM, 10:00-10:05 AM, etc.)  Additionally, stations that have sufficient
power resources monitor for five minutes starting at the top of every hour, or continuously."

NOTES:
1. "Up" or "down" should be in increments of 3-5 kHz SSB (except 60M); 1-2 kHz minimum CW.
2. If traffic is heavy, nearby frequencies should be designated by NCS at least 5 kHz away from NC.
3. 60 METER BAND (USB):
CH  NOMINAL  CARRIER
  A  5332kHz  5330.5kHz
  B  5348kHz  5346.5kHz
  C  5368kHz  5366.5kHz
  D  5373kHz  5371.5kHz
  E  5405kHz  5403.5kHz (common US/UK)

Some of the frequencies listed may be on our near other established net frequencies.
As a matter of operating courtesy always move up or down a few kHz to avoid QRM when a frequency is in use.
TRAFFIC TIPS
“For want of a letter, a word was lost.
             For want of a word, the message was lost.
                         For want of a message, a life was lost.”
THE “TRAFFIC HANDLER’S MANTRA”  (Recite often to help remember the eight parts in preamble):
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic • Delayed”
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic • Delayed”
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic • Delayed”
NUMBER 
PRECEDENCE HX STATION OF ORIGIN CHECK PLACE OF ORIGIN TIME DATE
SUGGESTION:  To help you to memorize the eight parts of the preamble,  RECITE the "Traffic Handlers Mantra" often:
“No • Prepared • Ham • Should • Copy • Priority • Traffic • Delayed”
ASSESS your current traffic handling skill, take the "TRAFFIC HANDLER’S CHALLENGE" at:
www.emcomm.org
  (main page)

TRAINING MESSAGE SENT OCT 19 FOLLOWING WINCOM NET ON 3985 kHz
(Sent by K6SOJ  Received by KG6FFK)

142 TEST P HXE K6SOJ 25 MACDOEL CA OCT 19

LOGISTICS DUTY OFFICER
AMERICAN RED CROSS
8928 VOLUNTEER LN
SACRAMENTO CA 95826

TEST MESSAGE X EXPEDITE SHELTER
KIT FOR 500 TO BARTON
MIDDLE SCHOOL ON RIDDLE ROAD
AT HYPER STREET ASAP X
ADVISE ETA VIA ARES NET

ROGER WILLISON RENO ARC LOGISTICS
--
RETRO REVIEW  - “EMCOMM viewed through the Retrospect-O-Scope”

FORMATTING A RADIOGRAM TEXT - THE COUNTER PERSON*
An EM basic studies training module - (updated from previous training modules)

The art of communicating via the written word has suffered immensely over the past several decades. Effective (and polite) letter writing has nearly become a lost skill in our high-speed culture of sound bytes, email blurbs, and ten-second TV commercials. The focus of our educational institutions is towards more technology, with less emphasis on the language arts.

95% of all EMCOMM traffic is third party. Yet most originating operators have trouble composing a message text, and the third party that is sending a message (whether they represent a “served agency” or are a member of the public), will certainly NOT be familiar with formatting a RADIOGRAM. They will provide an address and the essence of what it is they want to say. It is up to the counter person to compose the actual message text.

Composing a short, concise message, as in the TEXT of a RADIOGRAM
, is a style of writing that emphasizes BREVITY. Clear, concise communications. Sadly, this ability is a dying art and a skill that is rarely taught. It is not difficult to learn if the person is literate at a basic high school level. It only takes a few minutes to think about, and properly compose a message TEXT, before getting the message approved (signed/initialed by the sender) and handing the RADIOGRAM to the operator on duty.

"The Counter Person" is the person at an emcomm traffic station who greets the person who has a message they need sent and who formats the message. Ideally, the counter person should not be the radio operator on duty. (An exception would be a TYPE 4 ARCT -- one operator on duty at a mobile or portable location.) The counter person may be an off duty radio operator, but it is not necessary that he or she even be a licensed operator. (This will depend upon the volume of traffic being sent/received and the number of available skilled operators.)

1 - The text should be 25 words or less (including any “X” separators).  A method exists to allow longer messages, but that will not be discussed here.

2 - The message should convey EXACTLY what the sender wants to say.  No more -- no less.

3 - The message should be worded so that it CANNOT BE INTERPRETED IN ANY OTHER WAY.  (This is a MUST!)  If possible, have someone else review the message TEXT to ensure this.

4 - Leave out unnecessary words and phrases.  MODIFIERS (adjectives {e.g. - very} and adverbs {e.g.- please} are usually not necessary.

5 - DOUBLE CHECK the PREAMBLE, the ADDRESS, and telephone number (if any), plus the SIGNATURE, for accuracy and completeness.  If a reply is requested either within the text or in the handling instructions (HX), a return address and/or telephone number is added after the signature.

6 - It is a good practice to show the formatted message to the originator and have him/her initial it as being what they want sent. (NOTE: In RACES operations this will ensure that all messages are “specifically authorized by the civil defense organization for the area served” as required by FCC part §97.407(e).)

7 - The message is then transmitted EXACTLY as formatted. Relay and receiving stations must NEVER change anything. If there is a question or problem along the way, the message should be “serviced” back to the originating station.

8- PRACTICE...may not make PERFECT, but it sure helps a lot! These skills can be practiced at home and you don’t even need to be on the air.

=========================================================================

QSH --  (I HAVE HUMOR FOR YOUR STATION)
EM’s Quiz, Survey, and [attempt at] Humor Section...
 
QUIZ - ARE YOU ANALOG or DIGITAL?
Answer ALL Questions Truthfully.
 
On questions 5, 7 and 8 you may also answer C in addition to A or B (if C is also true).
 
NR 1
Does the watch you are wearing have hands?   A 
Does the watch you are wearing have numbers on a readout? B
Does your watch have hands and has a ZULU time readout? C
You never learned how to tell time.  D
 
 
NR 2
Does your primary transceiver have a dial?   A 
Does your primary transceiver have numbers on a readout?  B
Is your transmitter and receiver separate units? C
Is your transceiver is broken.  D
 
NR 3
Do you prefer Coke? A
Do you prefer Pepsi? B
Do you prefer cool, clear, water?C
Do you prefer Kool Aid? D
 
NR 4 
Does the speedometer in your car/truck have a dial? A
Does the speedometer in your car/truck have a readout? B
You don't own a car or truck. C
Your speedometer is broken. D
 
NR 5
Do you use a manually operated toothbrush? A
Do you use a computer programmed electronic toothbrush? B
Do you floss on a regular basis? C
You never brush your teeth. D
 
NR 6
Do you prefer regular coffee? A
Do you prefer latte or cappuccino?
B
Do you prefer decaffeinated coffee? C
Do you prefer hot chocolate? D

NR 7
Do you prefer a hand key? A
Do you prefer an Iambic key? B
Do you ever use a semi-automatic "bug"? C
You don't ever use Morse code? D
 
NR 8
Do you carry a pocketknife? A
Do you not carry a pocketknife?B
Do you also often carry a Leatherman-type Tool? C
Knives are dangerous and should be banned or registered. D
 
NR 9
Do you have at least one dog? A
Do you hate dogs? B
Do you have at least one horse? C
Do you have at least one cat? D

NR 10
Do you own a 4WD vehicle? A
You do not own a 4WD vehicle? B
Your 4WD is a SWB high clearance with a manual tranny. C
You don't know what 4WD, SWB or tranny means. D

SCORING:
For every "A" give yourself 10 points
For every "B" give yourself  5 points
For every "C" give yourself  3 bonus points
For every "D" deduct         5 points

INTERPRETING YOUR TOTAL SCORE:
90 or above: You are a hopeless analogue.
76-89: There is still hope for you.
51-75: You are a borderline digital devotee.
50 or below: You are a pathological digital.
--
EMCOMM STATION and OPERATOR NEWS
"SHOW US YOUR SHACK"
• Send a picture of you AND your shack (all in one frame and in JPG or JPEG format) to: k6soj@arrl.net
Our "SHOW US YOUR SHACK" page is at: http://www.emcomm.org/em/shacks/index.html
--
FEATURE ARTICLE
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF DISASTER  - APPLIED  Part II
An EM advanced studies training module -- by D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ, R.N. (retired)*

In Part I we reviewed that DISASTERS may be divided into four chronological phases:
1. The Pre-disaster Phase
2. The Imminent Threat Phase
3. The Disaster Phase
4. The Recovery Phase
 
And that PEOPLE also pass through several stages each at a different rate.  Therefore, in any incident there will be a percentage of persons in denial or disbelief, some still in a state of euphoria, while others have been rendered ineffective or immobilized by fear.  Hopefully there will be a sufficient percentage functioning rationally in a calm, yet productive, manner.   These emotional reactions and behavioral stages do not discriminate.  Victims, disaster workers of all disciplines, planners and even managers are all vulnerable.  The only known prophylaxis is being an experienced and "seasoned" responder.

Let's take a brief look at the last two phases and the associated psychological stages:

The Disaster Phase is often characterized by an unrealistic view of what has happened and how severe the long-range impact may be.  Cliché's such as:  "Everything will be fine dear...we have still have each other."   "We will rebuild and everything will be back to normal in a few months."  And "Help is on the way" are common.  The realization that every thing is not going to be fine and that their lives may never get back to "normal" may not become clear for months...even years.  Pre-existing medical and/or psychological problems may be exacerbated, and physical and psychological trauma leave permanent scars and deficits.

Convergence is a common problem.  Curious onlookers or opportunists who see an opportunity to commit a crime or immoral act often arrive at a disaster.  Others who may have good intentions but are ill-prepared will converge.  This can cause it own problems and impede an operation.  At the least it is non- or counter-productive.  All volunteers including, emcomm operators, must also resist the urge to respond in an uncoordinated manner.  There may be exceptions to this, and seasoned operators will know when it is appropriate to respond.  A frequent offense committed by hams is to break into an emergency or traffic net with no reason other than to say "hello" or to ask "what's going on?"

Suggestibility is another behavior you will commonly see.  (These people will do what they are told...even if it's wrong or worse yet dangerous.)  But this phenomenon can be turned into a positive resource.  Seasoned mass care shelter workers know that one of the best ways to keep evacuees from getting bored, depressed, or into trouble, is to involve them in some appropriate and productive activity.  Teenagers and older folks can be put to work child sitting, caring for animals, etc.  Able-bodied survivors can be involved in feeding or other shelter operations.  EmComm leaders could recruit suitable volunteers to serve as messengers, or help out at a message center.

An unusually high spirit of brotherhood or neighborliness is often evident.  Beware: this can, and often does, degrade into another behavior you may see (and fall victim to).  This is the: "This is my disaster" syndrome.  People may get such a rush (adrenaline high) from the incident that they appear to actually want it to continue.  Some of this is normal and natural.  They have been helpful and productive.  They have made some new (possibly life-long) friends.  Camaraderie and esprit d'corps is appropriate.  But sometimes people just don't want to work in shifts, take leave, or simply admit that they are no longer needed.  I have actually had to tell very capable, (but very tired) nurses and a few radio operators to go home (or to their quarters) and get some rest.  Then see them milling around the shelter or other facility an hour later!

Fatigue is reality that we all must deal with.  The old saying "fatigue and accidents go hand in hand" is very true.  Also fatigue and mistakes go together.  Radio operators (especially those handling a large volume of traffic) need frequent breaks.  One hour of heavy traffic handling will do most of us in.  Ideally, a "one-hour-on and one-hour-off" is good for those operating a key or mic.  The "one hour off" does not need to be sitting around...it may be duty at the service counter.  12 hour long duty shifts are about the maximum per 24 hours.   And three weeks on a volunteer field assignment is probably longer than any of us should do.  EmComm managers and team leaders must make the health and welfare of their team members their highest priority.

The Recovery Phase is slow to begin and will gradually build momentum and continue until some form of normalcy returns.  This is the phase when volunteerism wanes.  The excitement is over, and the news media has moved on.

"Scapegoating", anger, hostility, and even violence can rear their ugly heads any time during a disaster...and expect them continue indefinitely.  These reactions are mentioned because many emcomm operators responding to a major incident are often inexperienced and unseasoned in disaster work.  We all need to remember is that disaster relief workers, whether they are canteen helpers, family service, shelter workers,  medical personnel, or communicators, are often the targets of unfair verbal (or worse) attacks.  People under extreme stress may lash out and direct their rage towards whoever happens to be present.  If this happens, don't take it personally.  Allow them to "vent" a little if possible.  Try to be understanding and show empathy, but avoid being overly defensive and/or argumentative.  In most large operations mental health professionals or chaplains will be available to provide counseling.  Always know where these (and all other resources) may be found.

(A word to the wise:  Leave your valuables at home.  And always keep an eye on your gear.)

Guilt (inappropriate) and situational depression (which may become chronic depression) often result.  In 1972 Hurricane Agnes devastated the entire eastern U.S. from Florida to New York.  The Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania was extremely hard hit.  The University of Pennsylvania conducted a ten-year study on the psychological effects of the disaster.  They reported that ten years after the flood the suicide rate was still significantly high in the affected area.

Acceptance is the final stage.  Only after accepting the fact that things will probably never be the same again can a realistic plan for recovery be developed.  This applies to individuals as well as both government and non-government agencies.

* The author is not a psychologist.  He is a registered nurse who has served on countless disasters and crises in various capacities.

REMEMBER:  This fine tradition of the amateur radio service:  “IMPROVISE...ADAPT...OVERCOME!"
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EMCOMM SPECIALTY PRODUCTS
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REFERENCE and RESOURCE SECTION
 
• ICS-ARCT GUIDE: 
www.emcomm.org/ARCT/
• TRAFFIC HANDLER’S CHALLENGE:  www.emcomm.org (click bar on main page).
• TRAINING ARCHIVES:
www.emcomm.org/svares/training/index.html
• PHONETICS: www.emcomm.org/svares/training/itu_phonetics_10_30_2001.htm
• NVIS PROPAGATION MAPS - http://www.w0ipl.com/ECom/NVIS/NVISprop.htm
• GEAR AND EQUIPMENT LIST: www.emcomm.org  (Click on GEAR LIST)
• ARRL FSD-218.  The famous “pink card” that contains (almost) “everything you ever needed
to know about RADIOGRAMS”.  An electronic version of the FSD-218 is available at:
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/#fsd-218
• NATIONAL TRAFFIC SYSTEM (NTS) Methods and Practices Guidelines (MPG):
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/nts-mpg/
• NTS page by W7ARC: http://www.w7arc.com/nts/
• NATIONAL RADIO EMERGENCY NETWORK (NREN)
www.aa8vs.org/nren/  (or)  http://68.43.101.244:81/nren/
• PACIFIC AREA TRAFFIC NETS:  http://home.earthlink.net/~k7bfl/nwnets.html
• NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SKYWARN www.emcomm.org (click on NWS or links) or
Contact your EC or local SKYWARN coordinator for local net information.
• HOSPITAL DISASTER SUPPORT COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM (HDSCS): http://members.aol.com/emcom4hosp/ 
• AERONAUTICAL INFORMATION MANUAL Chapter 6 - GROUND-TO-AIR EMERGENCY CODE and GROUND-TO-AIR (close-in) VISUAL SIGNALS
http://www.faa.gov/ATpubs/AIM/Chap6/aim0602.html
• U. S. AIR FORCE Search and Rescue SURVIVAL MANUAL MIRROR SIGNALING (AFM 64-5 Aug. 1969)
http://www.emcomm.org/drawings/Mirror_Signaling_mid.jpg
 
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EMCOMM MONTHLY and EMCOMMWEST BULLETIN  archives
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EMCOMM MONTHLY and EMCOMM.ORG are private (non-government) volunteer organizations funded solely by donations from EMCOMM operators who are concerned about preserving the ability of amateur radio operators to be prepared to provide skilled, accurate and efficient emergency communications during times of disaster or other events where normal channels of communication may be interrupted or overloaded.  EMCOMM.ORG is advertisement and “pop up" free.  If you have benefited from our efforts, and would like to support this work in a tangible way; you may do so by sending a check or money order payable to: EMCOMM.
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The opinions expressed by individual contributors do not necessarily reflect the EM philosophy, the editorial position of EM or its staff.
 
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For permission to reproduce material in EMCOMM MONTHLY
contact: D. W. Thorne at: k6soj@arrl.net or write:
EMCOMM MONTHLY, P.O. Box 99, Macdoel, CA  96058  U.S.A.
 
STAFF:
D. W. Thorne, K6SOJ - Editor and Publisher
Bill Frazier, W7ARC - Associate Editor and Webmaster
Ed Trump, AL7N - Associate Editor and Alaska Correspondent
Jerry Boyd, N7WR - Associate Editor and ICS Advisor
Ed Ewell, K7DXV - Technical Advisor
Dave Nicholson, KB6PNT - SAR Advisor
 
COMING IN THE NOVEMBER ISSUE OF EMCOMM MONTHLY:
• A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT
• PLUS...NEWS... FEATURES... FEEDBACK.... QSH... and MORE!
COMING SOON:
• The "SERVICE MESSAGE"
• The "PLANS AND TRAINING OFFICER"
• The "FIELD OPERATION DISASTER PORTABLE STATION"

EMCOMM MONTHLY -- The Official Journal of the World Radio Relay League - WRRL®
Copyright (c) 2005 - All rights reserved.
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