Emergency Communications

Exercise Gamma Sur 4-7 April 2016

A major emergency exercise started on 4th April in Spain. Exercise Gamma Sur will simulate an earthquake striking north of the City of Seville followed by a further earthquake in the area of Ceuta.

The exercise scenario will simulate many failures of infrastructure such as buildings, dams and communications as it grows from a Regional to a National Emergency. Radio Amateurs will play a part in the exercise as it develops and EMCOM SPAIN and REMER are both taking part. They are expecting to utilise the Winlink system to send data files also frequencies in the areas of the IARU Emergency Centre of Activity frequencies to confirm the flow of messages on the data system. The scenario will call for the total failure of normal communications at some point.

More information will be posted as the exercise develops but please be aware that there may be increased activity around the CoA frequencies.

UPDATE - Amateur Radio involvement in the exercise starts today ( 6th ), expected that 40m Emergency CoA will be in use.

The exercise will close on 7th April.

Earthquake in Taiwan

An earthquake measuring 6.4 has hit Taiwan, and caused buildings to collapse.

HARTS has received a weak voice signal from the CTARL Taiwan that asks that the following frequencies be kept clear.

HF frequencies used in Taiwan are voice: Main is 7.060 MHz with backup 7.050MHz and 3.560 MHz. Short range frequencies are on VHF and UHF.

At least four buildings have collapsed in the south of the island. Dozens of residents are reported to be trapped in the city of Tainan, those houses nearly two million people.

Tremors were felt in the capital Taipei, on the other side of the island, and aftershocks were felt.

Taiwan lies in the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ and in 2013, four people were killed in a 6.3-magnitude quake.

-Jim Linton VK3PC, IARU Chairman Disaster Communications Committee.

Hurricane Alex 2016

Radio Amateurs in the Azores are preparing for the imminent arrival of Hurricane Alex on 15th January.

The Atlantic Hurricane is the first to form in January since 1938 and has developed from a sub-Tropical Storm to one forecast to bring maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour ( 140 kph ) to the Azores, an island chain 850 miles west of Portugal that's home to about 245,000 people.

Carlos Nora CT1END of the Portuguese National Society REP reports that local amateurs are standing by on 145.525MHz FM ready for the storm which threatens the islands with a maximum 7 inches ( 17 cm ) of rainfall possible and the chance of flooding or mudslides.

The storm is expected to weaken late on Friday after it has passed over the islands.

Info: CT1END, www.gdacs.org

GlobalSET 2015 - Report Published

The final report for the Global Simulated Emergency Test held on 18 December 2015 is now available from this website.

Although there was a lot learned from the exercise, it was generally a success in demonstrating the speed that amateur radio can respond to an incident and a dramatic increase in the number of Radio Amateurs who took part compared to earlier events. Of over 8000 amateurs contacted as part of the event, around 20-30% stated that they would be available to respond in < 1 Hour depending onthe IARU region concerned.

The report has already been distributed to Emergency Communications Co-Ordinators around the world but it is emphasised that this was not a contest about who could be quickest to respond. Instead it is hoped that it will cause more discussion about how to improve our resilience and be used to assist planning and talks with our Served Agencies.

To download the report in English click here , in Spanish click here , and in Romanian click here.

GlobalSET 2015 - Exercise complete

The Global Simulated Emergency Test ( GlobalSET ) started on 18th December with a 24-48 hour timelimit for Emergency Communications Groups around the world to carry out an availability exercise, contacting their members to find out how many would be available within 1-12 hours.

38 countries took part in the Test, 22 from Region 1 and while initial results have proved that amateur radio can respond quickly to an emergency call, even one on a working day, there has also been a great deal to learn about the reliability of the systems we use and the resilience of our structures.

All webforms used for collecting data for this exercise have now been closed and the results are being analysed with the target of the exercise report being published to Emergency Communications Groups by 25th December.

Thanks to everyone who took part in this valuable exercise.