Item 23 - activate amateur radioItem 23 - activate amateur radio

I was invited to participate in a series of desktop training exercises at the Sacramento County EOC. This was coordinated by the Sacramento County Chief of Emergency Services, Mary Jo Flynn. The county contracted with Witt O’Brien’s who is an EOC training contractor.

Logistics playbook

Communications has a couple of spots on the EOC org chart – and they both belong to Logistics.

And Logistics is orange.

Item 23 - activate amateur radio

And we are official.

Item #23 on the Logistics Communications Unit checklist when the EOC is activated reads…

Mobilize and coordinate amateur radio resources to augment primary communications systems as required.

The scenario and our Logistics playbooks

We were given the org chart and the scenario. And, since Communications appears twice on the org chart, I had two notebooks to use.

We used paper ICS-213, ICS-213RR, and ICS-214 forms. The scenario included the unavailability of WebEOC so we purposefully did not use the computers.

County EOC staffed during the exercise

The fully staffed EOC. Logistics is orange and the several Operations teams are in red. Other teams were in different colors.

The exercise scenario included a large earthquake in the Bay Area. Sacramento County was asked to prepare for several thousand people to transit through the county with many stopping at official evacuation centers.

We had to prepare the EOC, our backup EOC (in Folsom), and the several storage and distribution centers for use. We also needed to designate drive-through locations where hundreds of vehicles could enter to collect essential survival items.

The scenario was then complicated by a deluge of rain that threatened to erode some of our levees that may have been damaged in the earthquake. Our ARES team was (virtually) activated to assist with “windshield surveys” to quickly assess the situation at several locations.

The exercise was intended to not only teach potential EOC staff, but to also test the County’s emergency plan. The full results of the exercise will probably not be available for a couple of months as the consultant prepares their report and the County receives it. But, based on the feedback from the exercise attendees, we all appreciated the realism of the event and the use of the EOC for the training.