The following is an email from Bruce – WA6DNT to all of TARA and it seems it deserves as wide an audience as possible. Bruce has graciously allowed us to re-post it here.
To: TARA & Gila County ACS members:
From: Bruce – WA6DNT
We need to train and use valuable communications tools that will be invaluable during a disaster and when normal communications fail.
Wildfire season is upon us! Want to find out what happens during a REAL wildfire event?!! Follow this link: The Paradise (CAMP) fire spread at a speed of over 100 yards per second.!!
[Also, check out this link. Ed.] “Phones, Fire and Failures” and “Radio For The Rest of Us”
I worked the 2003 and 2007 wildfires that were so hot they melted aluminum engine blocks, and the massive 2010 Power failure – with the San Diego County ACS and Red Cross and witnessed a number of communications failures! I was used for communications for the San Diego County and for Red Cross and CERT Teams because I HAD SOLAR POWER with a large battery bank- and a working radio station! Even the County of San Diego lost a major repeater site on Lyons Peak because the fire burned thru the generator fuel line and no one could get up to the site. During the 2007 Wildfires that burned under the “Sunrise Power Link” from the desert and the “Path 15 Power Lines from the North, soot caused electric arc’s across the insulators and required BOTH lines to be SHUT DOWN! This “island” San Diego with insufficient generation capacity to keep the lights on. I was working in the County EOC with 911 Dispatch above us, with a fully staffed EOC with many people sitting with computers working the wildfire event – when suddenly the LIGHTS WENT OUT! Every thing not saved on the computer network was lost. The County EOC and 911 Dispatch center, were at the HIGHEST priority for power – yet here we were sitting in the DARK!! The same happened to Hospitals – Fire and Police departments!! This happened during the time that the city of Ramona was being evacuated – the ONLY road out of this back country community was HWY67 which is two lanes each way. The police turned all lanes to “outbound.” It was night and they were trying to get 50K of people out of harm’s way! There was a MASSIVE traffic jam that people were stuck in while they watched their homes burn in the rear view mirror! There were NO functional cell sites – they were either overloaded or burned to the ground! Some cell phone sites have NO defensible space around them and NO backup power. Others only have a 30 min supply of emergency power! Agencies and hospitals that had emergency generators, got back SOME operational capacity. The rest of the population sat in the dark! TV and Radio stations went off the air because the fire burned down the power lines going up to Mt San Miguel.
During the massive 2010 Southern California Power Black out when there was NO POWER avail bile from Los Angeles to the Mexican border AND from the Pacific Ocean to Yuma Arizona for over 27 hours – I HAD POWER and was VERY busy handling traffic for the County of San Diego ACS, Red Cross and CERT teams – See; https://www.youtube.com/watch?
These are REAL WORLD DISASTERS you NEED to PREPARE FOR – it is NOT IF but WHEN these disasters will come to your area!!
73 Bruce – WA6DNT