SC4ARES Callout for tsunami

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    I received a call at 2am,Friday morning (3/11) from Joe Kral. Joe is the South Coast CERT coordinator and local Red Cross representative. He was told by Larry Whitney (chief of La Honda Fire Dept) to activate SC4ARES and CERT to set up a shelter and emergency communications at the Pescadero High School. I called Peter Chupity, our radio officer, and asked him to standby his radio. I then activated the SC4ARES on the 730 and received 5 responses. Peter, Jeneen and I all headed to Pescadero High while Jack remained at home to handle all of the local traffic. The Red Cross trailer was towed to Pescadero High by Joe, and we set up several radios/antennas in the teacher’s lounge of the high school. We kept our “hand helds” with us as we assisted Joe with setting up chairs etc. for the shelter in the gym. We worked quickly, and then stationed ourselves in the teacher’s lounge to monitor OES (865), the 440, and our local repeater (730). I held hourly checkins on the 730, Peter responded to OES checkins and Jeneen did double duty with the 440 and listening to FM radio on her 3 watt handheld for news reports from “the outside”. Jack handled traffic from mobile operators giving road condition updates. Joe Kral was assigned “shelter manager” and he was assisted by several of the Puente teenagers who had just passed their CERT training. Their help with spanish speaking evacuees was considerable. Chief Larry Whitney checked in with us about 11am and we were told the shelter would be officially closed at noon. Besides the 50+ evacuees in the shelter, 16 of whom were children, there was a steady flow of evacuees gathered outside the school, many of whom decided to get to higher ground. By the time Jeneen, Peter and I had packed up to go home, we had spent 10 hours on the call out including radio operations. This was the real deal; not only a local callout by our fire dept., but the Red Cross as well. I am extremely proud of our team who operated for hours on end, starting with a call out at 2am, and handled ALL traffic with the skill of seasoned disaster workers. This was ARES at its BEST!

    Linda J. Bennett, EC SC4ARES


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