The Simulated Emergency Test was held today. Throughout the country, municipalities and local governments ran drills in conjunction with RACES and ARES volunteers to test their state of preparedness in the event of an actual emergency.
In Middlesex County, in the State of New Jersey, we ran the following exercise, which was titled, "Son of Floyd". In essence we ran under the assumption that we were experiencing a hurricane of the same or greater magnitude as Hurricane Floyd, which occurred exactly ten years ago.
In South Plainfield, we had nine RACES operators and one Office of Emergency Management official participate in the drill. RACES operators were dispatched to various locations throughout the boro, the Police Department, the Fire Department (my post), the Department of Public Works, various shelters, etc. We ran scenarios where there were evacuations due to flooding, power outages, emergency medical evacs, and impassable routes and thoroughfares.
To the credit of the RACES team, communications discipline was EXCELLENT, and the whole test went off without a hitch. In an "after event" critique, we did find a few areas where we thought we could improve; and we also discovered a few items that we need to acquire to make operations run a bit smoother in the future.
The success of the event on the part of South Plainfield was due in no small part to the excellent planning and preparation by Marv Bronstein K2VHW. Marv is a dedicated communications volunteer and is by no means an "Amateur" radio operator in that sense of the word. Any recognition that our town might receive as a result of our performance is directly due to his efforts.
The fact that we had nine RACES operators turn out for this event is also an indication of the dedicated cadre of Ham Radio ops that we have in this town. There are 25 municipalities in Middlesex County; and unfortunately, only 5 participated - South Plainfield, South River, East Brunswick, North Brunswick, Carteret and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary also participated. It was disappointing that the largest municipalities, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Edison and Piscataway did not get involved.
Communications were completed using VHF, UHF and HF frequencies - the whole shebang. Communications within the boro were on 2 Meters. Communications between municipalities and with the County were completed on 220 and 440 MHz repeaters. Communications with the State Police RACES office were conducted on 40 Meters.
While the event ran for only a couple of hours, it was a great experience which showed us the areas where we need to improve our methodologies and is some instances, our equipment - both town owned as well as our personal gear (I really need to acquire that tri-band Kenwood HT that has 5 Watts out on 220 MHz) .
73 de Larry W2LJ