Re: Training during the Pandemic
Hello Bruce and All,
I'm glad Bruce said something. He's right that our neighbors are practicing regularly (LAX ARES, SDG ARES). I follow what they are doing. I participate in their exercises periodically.
Here in Orange County, most RACES / ARES orgs continue to be shuttered. The members of these organizations are doing some exercises but overall nobody is doing anything.
We're only good as the tools we bring with us, and the experience we can offer. Without regular training and continuous improvement, I wonder how useful we can actually be in a disaster.
Here's the question, "If we had that major 8+ earthquake right now, what would we do?" I've heard, "we'll call you and let you know".
What if all power and phone service is down?
Where's the emergency action plan?
When I was an emergency coordinator for OCHEART, there was a plan. It needed refinement, but at least a plan existed. We all knew what to do.
I educated myself. I went way beyond the entry level courses required to be an operator for OCHEART and Anaheim RACES. I completed EC-016 training which is required to be an "emergency coordinator".
I ultimately left OCHEART because I felt they were going nowhere. They weren't training. A weekly net check in is not training.
I joined up with Anaheim RACES because it was my back yard at the time. I'm staying with them because they have a specific need: fire watch. I've done fire watch training. I've done a fire watch patrol. I know what to do when we get a red alert. My go-bag for fire watch is always ready. I am always ready for a fire watch.
I am new to the American Red Cross DST team, so I'm still trying to figure out where I "fit in". I am patient. I bring a lot of skills with me. I didn't join ARC to do weekly check ins. I joined to be ready to respond when needed. But at this point, I have no idea what to do if something happens locally. Fires, earthquakes, power outages, etc. - what do I do? I have no clue.
So yes, we definitely need exercises. And we need maintenance. We're way beyond needing to make sure the radio rooms in our chapters are operational and that everyone knows how to use them. Sooner or later a disaster will strike, and we'll be unprepared. We'll be scrambling to put together ad hoc team with ad hoc instructions of what to do. I just hope that we can be relevant and useful when that day comes because at least on an individual level, each member didn't wait for the management to exercise. They did it on their own.
I am available just about any weekend for exercises. I am eager to participate. I just need willing participants. That's why I posted a request for participants in the 9/11 P2P drill we're doing here in Orange County. Even if I needed to travel to San Diego, I would participate. Or I would post up somewhere in San Clemente for long-haul comms.
Feel free to reach out to me personally if you want to exercise.