Southern California Hams Support Major Terrorist Attacks Response Drill

Southern California Hams Support Major Terrorist Attacks Response Drill

Winlink in use...

- From ARES Newsletter Nov. 20 2019

On November 6, seventy southern California hams deployed to thirty local hospitals, clinics, and city EOCs to support Public Safety and EMS functions during a mock terrorist response drill, an exercise that tested law enforcement and medical treatment facilities in San Diego County, California.

The scenario was a coordinated attack at two locations 50 miles apart that resulted in mass casualties and inundated local Emergency Departments with 1,000 volunteer actors with simulated injuries and frantic families, also actors, trying to locate loved ones. One of the simulated attacks occurred at Legoland, California, which closed for a half day to support the exercise, and the other simulated attack occurred at a 20,000 seat amphitheater. During the five-hour exercise, hams relayed hundreds of formal ICS 213 messages by Winlink and voice nets from hospital to hospital and from hospitals to the County Medical Operations Center (MOC).

Participants included hams aboard the 1,000-bed US Navy Hospital Ship USNS Mercy and HF net check-ins from across the southwestern United States.

Hospitals used this full scale exercise to fulfill their annual accreditation training requirement. Recent changes in California hospital regulations require smaller medical clinics to conduct annual certification drills, and that expansion of clinic participation has led to a flood of requests for trained radio operators at hundreds of day surgery clinics and group homes not covered previously by ARES. Because demand far exceeds the availability of ARES operators for mid-week, daytime drills, ARRL San Diego Section Manager Dave Kaltenborn, N8KBC, encourages smaller clinics and medical networks to consider developing their own internal Amateur Radio capability. Several people involved at the smaller clinics have taken classes and training provided by ARES.

The exercise included cross-border participation by members of Club de Radio Experimentadores de Baja California (CREBC) at Tijuana General Hospital in Tijuana, BC, Mexico. CREBC hams maintain an extensive Winlink and repeater network used by amateurs on both sides of the border.

-- Dave Kaltenborn, N8KBC, Section Manager, ARRL San Diego Section, California

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