Fairfax County June 29 Storm Report

Tom Azlin N4ZPT tom at n4zpt.org
Mon Jul 16 11:21:30 CDT 2012

Hi Mike,

did not mean to chastise you. Just provide more info. And has taken us 
in ARES a while to learn all the details of how the county manages 
emergencies. I too want to read what happened to Verizon. Sounds like to 
me they need to distribute the intelligence that supports 9-1-1 services.

Fairfax has normal posture where the call center/dispatch in the 
building is the way they track what is going on. The Office of Emergency 
Management staff is plugged in to that intelligence flow even without 
the EOC activated. Then they shift up to watch officers in the EOC 24/7 
- these are OEM staffers and some have been police/fire/911 dispatch. 
Above that is partial activation and full activation. Plus the half 
dozen ops centers ( schools, public works, etc) have emergency role. In 
a localized incident the EOC is in watch while on scene handle it. They 
had a three day exercise earlier this year where all that was being 
stressed and tested.  ARES was tested with a surprise activation to see 
if we could make it into the EOC ( we did). From the incident command 
support goes out to the individual ops centers with coordination or 
status reporting to a partially activated EOC especially if cross 
department resources are needed. Individual ops centers can call in 
resources from their different departments like debris removal and so 
on. Only when more is needed, for example county has to go borrow big 
dump trucks or cranes or spend money does the EOC have to take more 
direct action. And they open charge numbers at the start so they can 
document the cost of the emergency esp when Virgina declares a disaster. 
We in ARES had to take county training on EOC operations ( actually any 
one in the EOC) and on some of the tools like WebEOC ( common servers 
across the NCR that were up and running during the whole event).  If 
bigger than department ops centers then the EOC is in full activation 
and working with adjacent counties and the state. So quite a range of 
ability to work this.

I also saw a reference by one of the elected supervisors to wanting to 
find ways to improve infrastructure independent neighborhood 
communications. There are CERT teams across the county that have hams. 
But there are a lot of hams in our county and the NCR who have never 
volunteered. I am thinking to suggest the county look up every single 
licensed ham radio operator and ask them if they would be willing to be 
a neighborhood contact point. At the minimum those hams can some up 
simplex or on repeaters and talk to the EOC ham radio operators.

Do not know how the other counties in the NCR handle this. Guess depends 
on the size and population of the county plus the type of incident.

73, tom n4zpt

On 7/16/2012 12:13 PM, Mike O'Dell wrote:
> Tom,
> please excuse my ignorance.
> i had no intention of impugning the responsiveness
> of either FFX County or any of the people involved.
> it appears the original audience for the presentation already
> possessed a lot of context. in particular, the two-level
> structure was not obvious from the presentation and
> my limited experience is with much lower density areas
> and a very different coverage problem.
> the departmental level OCs are clearly doing a great job if
> the top-level EOC wasn't required to run at 100% power for the
> entire incident, so hats off to all concerned.
> i'd still love to read the VZ post-mortem.
> 	-mo

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