Good AAR, worth reading. Excercise Viral Duo - Feb 2, 2019

Very good after action report, with Winlink use.

Exercise Viral Duo After-Action Report & Improvement Plan
North Florida Amateur Radio Club
Santa Fe Amateur Radio Society
Gainesville, Florida
February 2, 2019


Taken from: The ARES E-Letter for February 20, 2019

Good job Gordon and responders. Contact Kx4z for any info/questions.

Florida Emergency Communications Conference Features Major Exercise "Viral Duo"

A highly successful, well-attended 2019 Florida Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference was held February 2-3 on the campus of Santa Fe College, in Gainesville. Numerous seminars were presented by leading subject matter experts from across the state, many with recent experience in responses to major hurricanes such as Hurricane Michael. The conference was sponsored and conducted by the North Florida Amateur Radio Club, Santa Fe Amateur Radio Society and Alachua county ARES. The stated conference goal was "to improve citizen volunteer Amateur Radio emergency communications." A two-hour full scale exercise galvanized the conferees on Saturday morning.

Following conferee registration and introductions, Joe Bassett, W1WCN, presented on "Volunteer Ham Radio Team Building that Maximizes all Volunteers." Bassett downplays the term "volunteer" in favor of recognition of "call to service above self," something greater than merely volunteering. "21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership," and "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team," were discussed.

Next was a discussion of the use of ICS forms for record-keeping and management of deployments, and the introduction of the full scale exercise using the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) guiding principles and FEMA standards with personal advice from former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ.

Field Exercise Challenges Conferees

The group of 56 attendees was split into two strike teams with leaders picked. Teams were then physically deployed to two locations, simulating evacuation shelters, in the Gainesville area. Role playing shelter managers were designated, along with an Incident Commander, Florida Statewide Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC), and Florida Amateur Radio Point of Contact (FARPOC) for communications with the State EOC in Tallahassee.

The "Viral Duo" scenario was a public health emergency -- an epidemic caused by a virulent pathogenic virus -- and a computer virus that took down the Internet on an overwhelming scale. The exercise gave the participants opportunities to set-up antennas and use their radios in the field to report and pass traffic between the two shelter sites and the command net control station on the campus. Participants also had to fill out logs of activity, check-in operators, log events, and messages, all using appropriate ICS forms.

Northern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator Karl Martin, KG4HBN, was designated Logistics Chief and FARPOC, controlling the VHF/HF Command Net and could communicate via WinLink, serving the strike teams at the shelters. Communicators were presented with numerous exercise injects (simulated problems/issues) during the course of the exercise with the teams having to address them on the fly. One inject included repeaters going down requiring moves to other repeaters and/or simplex channels. With the Internet down, email messages with ICS forms attached were passed via HF and VHF packet and WinLink.

At the conclusion of the two-hour exercise, a full scale exercise hot wash was conducted. Discussion then continued on how to plan, create and execute full scale exercises.

Section Emergency Coordinator Martin's message to the conferees included this: "Hurricane Michael was a learning experience for everyone. The operators during Michael did a fantastic job. People from all across Florida came out to help. The Northern Florida Section was tasked to cover 30 shelters, county EOCs and the State EOC." An After Action Report was published and Martin said an action plan will be ready in time for the 2019 hurricane season.

A workshop was conducted on a simple Wi-Fi-based shelter bulletin system for use by shelter residents to keep informed, using a Raspberry Pi and inexpensive Wi-Fi home router that residents could connect to with smartphones, tablets, and laptops. An introduction to media and public relations was presented by ARRL Section Public Information Officer Scott Roberts, KK4ECR. Other training workshops included traffic handling in ARES nets, computer and Internet tips for emergency and disaster communications, solar power systems, Powerpole® connector installation, and wiring radios for Signalink and digital modes/devices.

Hands-on VHF/HF Go-Box construction and building rapidly deployable antennas workshops were conducted in the main conference room and outside. A hands-on WinLink training session was conducted by Gordon Gibby, KX4Z [see editorial note at the end of this issue on my new experience with WinLink - Ed.] A Solder Session was conducted with the project of building a digital interface system.

Alachua county EC Jeff Capehart, W4UFL, presented learning sessions on working well with the EOC, and the new ARESConnect management system currently being rolled out throughout the ARRL Field Organization.

The conference was rounded out with talks on the Neighborhood Ham Watch program and "Teaching Ham Radio Courses using ARRL Slides." The conference concluded on Sunday afternoon, with feedback forms filled out by conferees: All were in agreement that the conference had been highly worthwhile and effective in training and understanding of modern ARES support of partner agencies under the Incident Command System umbrella that is now almost all-encompassing in emergency management in this country.

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