Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hurricane Ike - Wednesday

Well, the news is out. Everyone should know that hurricane Ike is headed for Texas. As an Amateur Radio operater, I have volunteered my services to the San Antonio Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and my ARES group who supply operaters for the EOC. We will be on duty 24/7 until Ike blows itself out. I'm pulling the 6am to 2pm shift all week. I have Sunday off and expect to come back on Monday and the rest of the week or until a "Stand-Down" is called.

Presently, there is little to do except check that all our radios are on and functioning. Later today, as more folks come in from Corpus Christi, we may have radio action. We help pass info out of shelters to the various agencies here. We also pass info back to the shelters from the EOC.

There was a short break from the Gustav huricane and the EOC never went completely down. Ike was already churning along out in the Alantic and so a skeleton crew was staffed in anticipation. Over the last several days a slow build-up has been going on all across South Texas and especially here at the EOC. We were called to action as of today. We don't yet have any Hams at shelters because there are no shelters open yet. Probably later today some of the other Hams will go out.

Early this morning, 6:30ish, FEMA gave a report that there were just over 20,000 cots and blankets here and being unloaded. Other agencies were also giving statis reports, but the 20,000 cots caught my ear.

I'm working with Bob Rodriguez, K5AUW. He's a couple of years younger than me, but been a Ham since he was a kid. Knows radios inside and out. Good guy. Part of our duties is working the HF radios. Presently we have two of them set for the South Texas Emergency Net, and the West Gulf ARES Net. We expect they will get real busy later in the week as Ike comes in and blows down other forms of communications.

As we go along I'll give out additional blogs. Expect the next tomorrow, unless something exceptional comes along later today.

UPDATE: Wednesday evening.

Spent the day at the EOC and watched as people started coming in from the Corpus Christi area, and various facilities and agencies started taking action to deal with the inflow. There is continuing concern for San Antonio. If Ike comes in and hits SA, we will have a lot, A LOT, of our own folks to care for. Many may have to be evacuated to "elsewhere." Elsewhere has no yet been defined (that I've heard anyway). But, I wanted to update you on things. Like, I left the EOC just after 2p and ran around buying bags of ice and stuffing the freezer with them. Also bought lots of bottled water. Already have plenty of caned goods and dry stuff for eating. A ton-o-candles for light (if/when the power goes away). Got the Jeep gased up and ready if I need to get through standing water. Then, at 5p I sat down at my radio at home and presently am monitoring the Emergency frequency we at ARES use in the EOC. The reason? While the two guys at the EOC at sharp and have good ears, they might get busy with other communications and miss something. I monitor and if needed, I pick up the slack, write it all down, call on phone or email to the EOC and pass the info to the two guys on official watch. The monitor acts as fall-back for message traffic. I'm on until about 10p or so, then it's off to bed and back to the EOC tomorrow morning at 6a. Workwork... workworkwork. More to follow tomorrow.

C U later. .-.-.

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