HEARS/ARES Members Conduct Simulated Emergency Test
Reports of economic turmoil, civil unrest, unreliable electric grid, waning cell phone service, skyrocketing food and fuel prices, The End Of The World As We Know It...
it's not an apocalyptic thriller; it's the annual Ohio ARES S.E.T.
The exercise began with a week's worth of hype to set the scene for the largest scale emergency ever simulated by Amateur Radio volunteers in Ohio, all culminating in a 6 hour exercise beginning at 8am on October 1st. At a state level, ARES had the involvement of the Ohio Military Reserve in their tabletop exercise.
Local nets were activated on the grounds that amidst all the chaos, the Ohio MARCS radio system was also down and out. Amateurs all over the state and in our own county promptly jumped in to action; traveling to nearby locations that would be key to the well-being of our community in this scenario. Shelters, Fire stations, the Hancock Co EOC, and Findlay PD were all covered by our HEARS/ARES members to simulate our service being the last line of communication when all else has failed. All volunteers participated with emergency power, and many also activated APRS in their vehicle to aid in locating these key points when traditional infrastructure isn't functional. In total, 11 amateurs in Hancock County participated in the drill as it was simultaneously conducted all over the state. The local net was active for over 2 hours as we tested traffic handling and simplex propagation to/from our shelters and points of contact.
This exercise was a ripe opportunity for us to reflect on the level of preparedness we have achieved. As the last line of communication; are we prepared for our role? Do we have the backup power, stored food and water so that we can provide for ourselves and loved ones when "the big one" hits? This was definitely "not your grandma's SET", as stated by Ohio SEC Stan Broadway; but it was a great test of our abilities, strengths, and weaknesses as communications volunteers.
To get involved with Hancock County ARES, please contact EC Evan Hartman at w8kjr[at]yahoo[dot]com.