Congratulations to ARES for the part they played in this exercise!
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 24, No. 18
May 6, 2005
==>CALIFORNIA EMERGENCY OFFICIALS SEE ADVANTAGES OF SSTV IN DRILL
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers in California made
slow-scan TV part of the communication mix when they participated in a
voluntary wildfire evacuation drill April 30. The exercise involved
residents of nearly 400 homes in a high fire hazard area of Santa
County, and ARES' use of SSTV definitely caught the eye of emergency
"ARES provided us with the only continuous, real-time information on
flow and conditions in the incident area," said Jay McAmis of the
Office of Emergency Services. "It was great!"
Santa Barbara South County ARES Emergency Coordinator Lou Dartanner,
says communicators with SSTV gear deployed at three locations along a
narrow, winding road out of the canyon and in two locations along the
evacuation route to a reception center some five miles away. Three
additional ARES members provided voice reports on traffic flow, while
other team volunteers supported the field activity at the command post
Since the county's inaugural test of its new "reverse 911" system failed
reach everyone, many residents were alerted instead by sheriff's units
public address systems and by search-and-rescue team members going door
door. "As a result, instead of the traffic jam with fender-benders and
finger-wagging, an orderly trickle of vehicles moved out of the area,"
Dartanner reports. "An SSTV station was set up at the reception center,
a crowd of about three dozen jostled around the monitor all morning,
watching the near-continuous stream of pictures coming in from the
second, portable system was set up in back of a car at the Command Post,
the Incident Commander was able to see exactly what was--or was
not--occurring in the incident area."
More than 200 residents participated, as did personnel from 21 agencies
organizations. "Local fire officials are excited about using SSTV
in the future," Dartanner says, "and ARES will continue to play an
role in their activities."