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What's News!


Preparing for an EMP

Starfish Prime - Honolulu night sky

Posted by Jim  KN6PE, 2 Nov 2017

This was the topic for this month's CARES meeting. Over the years, we have spent time talking about the different risks that the City faces, and EMP -- Electromagnetic Pulse -- and Solar EMPs were only lightly touched on during our Communications Outage discussions of last year.

This is not an easy topic and is further complicated by the broad spectrum of information, ranging from fact to fiction, on the web. So, the intent of this month's session was slowly ease into the topic, describe what an EMP is, what causes them, and what, if anything, we should do to prepare for them in the event one does occur. Even here, the topic was limited to equipment preparedness.

There were plenty of good questions and discussion, with more information and references coming up over the course of the meeting. For many of us, I suspect we are only just scratching the surface, and it will take time to search out the facts and let them sink in. See the start of an EMP Resource page and the presentation here for a copy of the slides.   


Too many questions, not enough frequencies

ICS 205

Posted by Jim  KN6PE, 6 Oct 2017

How do we handle the expected interference on TAC1 during a bay-area wide event? What should we do with the desense issue between the resource and message nets? And, how do cover multiple field teams deployed to different ICPs?

These were just some of the questions that were discussed during the CARES October General Meeting. With the replacement of the Citys' Public Safety Comms Vehicle only a few months away, this seemed like a good time to address these questions. This topic, and some of the recommendations presented, prompted plenty of discussion and ideas on how to proceed. And with these ideas in hand, this may form the basis for our field test later on this year.

See the October 2017 presentation for details. And stay tuned for more information on how we will proceed.   


County Comm Ops and MAC Program Update

Posted by Jim  KN6PE, 11 Sep 2017

The September 2017 CARES meeting kicked off the CARES 2017/2018 year, and the leading presentation was on the state of the County Comm work to get access for receiving alternate 9-1-1 messages from the field.

As a recap, Cupertino, Saratoga, and Los Altos Hills contract with Santa Clara County for all Sheriff, Fire, EMS, and dispatch services, but we cannot easily pass 9-1-1 traffic to County Comm because (i) our PSAP is located in San Jose, and (ii) DSW restrictions prohibit us from traveling outside our city. We are in the middle of attempting to fix that. See the County Comm Operations update for details.

Because of the DSW restrictions, we need CARES members signed up as County MACs to respond to County Comm. County RACES has a terrific program for Mutual Aid Communicators that fills that need. And this is where you come in.

See the MAC program presentation and what it takes to get signed up.   


2017 ISA Exercise checks out several new processes

Alternate Response Plan Equipment

Posted by Jim  KN6PE, 18 May 2017

We typically perform the Infrastructure Safety Assessment (ISA) about every other year. CARES uses these exercises as a chance to test new procedures and tools, and this year was no different.

There were a few important changes for this mission that we wanted to check out, the first being a different ISA assignment process. Unlike past exercises where assignments were centrally made, we recognize the fact that our members are distributed throughout the city, and reducing the travel time to receive an assignment is important for our Served Agencies. Our new ISA Field Assignment process worked well.

The second big change was a test of our Alternate Response Plan equipment. In the event that our Public Safety Comm Vehicle is our of service, do we have the communications equipment in place to cover the response? With the city's help, a solution was defined, purchased, and deployed during the drill. The result was we were on the air from a non-standard location with solid communications with all field units. This new equipment capability can also support an ICP within the city whenever communications with the EOC or other field units is required.

The After Action Report is still in progress; watch for that to be posted for more details.   


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Upcoming Activities


4 Dec 2017, Passing Written Messages
Come learn/review/practice written message passing. For all CARES members. 6:30 pm in City Hall Conf. Rm A. Call on 147.570 if the door is locked.   

7 Dec 2017, General Meeting
Topic: Cross-band Repeaters. Quinlan Center, Social Room. 7:30pm to 9:00pm   

4 Jan 2018, General Meeting
Topic: TBD, Quinlan Center, Social Room. 7:30pm to 9:00pm   

27 Jan 2018, PSA Drill
This annual "at home" drill is an important part of our preparedness. 8:00am-9:00am at your own home.   More Details...

1 Feb 2018, General Meeting
Topic: TBD. Quinlan Center, Social Room. 7:30pm to 9:00pm   

10 Feb 2018, Introduction to Emergency Comm
Presented by SC County ARES/RACES. Cupertino Senior Center 9:00am-12:00pm   

1 Mar 2018, General Meeting
Topic: TBD. Quinlan Center, Social Room. 7:30pm to 9:00pm   

17 Mar 2018, Fundamentals of Emergency Comm
Presented by SC County ARES/RACES. An essential class for new MACs. Cupertino Senior Center 9:00am-12:00pm   

5 Apr 2018, General Meeting
Topic: TBD. Quinlan Center, Social Room. 7:30pm to 9:00pm   

3 May 2018, General Meeting
Topic: TBD. Quinlan Center, Social Room. 7:30pm to 9:00pm   

7 Jun 2018, General Meeting
Topic: TBD. Quinlan Center, Social Room. 7:30pm to 9:00pm