Sunday, March 6, 2016

2015 Overview

Sorry this is so long in coming.  But probably worthwhile to review 2015.

First, and most importantly, Michigan ARES members reported over 100,000 volunteer hours in 2015, with a volunteer value of almost $2MM.  Emergency Coordinators reported 202 planned incidents (walks, runs, etc.) and 119 unplanned.  Included in the unplanned were 41 SKYWARN activations, 28 Search and Rescue outings, 6 power outage and 5 fire responses.

Hours contributed in direct emergency response have fallen slowly over the past few years, but that has more than been made up for in drills, exercises and other preparedness work.

In terms of statewide exercises and preparedness, in 2015 we participated in the statewide tornado drill in April, the Northern Exposure exercise in June, an improvised nuclear device seminar also in June, a radiological awareness workshop in August, an exercise involving the alternate SEOC in September, the D.C. Cook nuclear plant series of exercises in September and October, and the annual Training and Exercise Planning Workshop (T&EPW) in November.

Last year our annual Simulated Emergency Test was built around a zombie apocalypse.  Participants made heavy use of NBEMS and some use of D-Star.  Counties sent their ICS-205 forms to the state reflecting the disruption to communications caused by a zombie outbreak, and were reminded of the importance of keeping their 217A up to date, and of the utility of the 201 and 202 when things go south.

In 2015 the SEC took the FEMA Auxcomm class, and co-authored an updated Amateur Radio Emergency Service manual.  The state's Interoperable Communications Board named the SEC and Marc Breckenridge, the EMC for Washtenaw County, as co-chairs of an Auxcomm working group.

One of the more fun bits as we headed toward the new year was wrapping up construction of a new state EOC.  The ARES/RACES station will feature a full size 160 meter loop for phone, G5RVs for CW and Pactor, and a 150 foot tower housing our VHF and UHF antennas.

All in all, a pretty good year last year.

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