When it comes to emergency preparedness, the Echo/Lost Lake Community Group is working hard to strengthen our ability to withstand a disaster. Regardless what disaster might prevail, there are things the community as a whole can do to be more resilient. Because we believe that preparation is our most powerful tool, we began a program in early 2019 to train as many folks as possible with skills to handle disasters.
We also believe it is important that the community at large understand what the community Disaster Response Team will implement during a disaster.
Disaster Response Team
Training of our local Disaster Response Team has begun. During a disaster, this team will canvas the community to assess the damage and provide search and rescue. This is especially critical following a significant earthquake. Public services will not be available for a period of time.
Our teams will operate from an Emergency Operations Center established at the Echo Lake Church. All operations will be coordinated from this location in accord with the national Incident Command System, used nationwide. There will be teams working throughout the community to establish priorities, search & rescue and mitigation recovery efforts. Each team will be in radio contact with the Incident Commander. The Emergency Operations Center will also be in contact with the Snohomish County Emergency Coordination Center and other agencies as necessary.
Incident Command System
The Incident Command System (ICS) is a management system designed to enable effective and efficient domestic incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure. ICS is normally structured to facilitate activities in five major functional areas: command, operations, planning, logistics, Intelligence & Investigations, finance and administration. It is a fundamental form of management with the purpose of enabling incident managers to identify the key concerns associated with the incident (often under urgent conditions) without sacrificing attention to any component of the command system. To better understand the overall structure click HERE. Keep in mind the structure used here will be scaled to reflect the extent of the disaster in our community. That structure is dynamic as conditions change but always within the Incident Command System.
For more information you can take the FEMA introductory course.
Area of Operations
In order to efficiently serve the community, we have established ten zones based on geography and road configurations. See the map HERE. This allows us to efficiently asses the area for damage, establish house-to-house search and get maximum coverage in a minimal amount of time. Following an earthquake, timely searches are critical to save lives. So teams will be assigned to zones by the Incident Commander and records maintained about each zone for situational awareness.
Community Radio Communications
There are two systems established to be used during a disaster. There are licensed Amateur Radio Operators to handle the critical communications and there is a GMRS radio repeater operating for our community available for anyone to use.
Amateur Radio Operations
There are numerous licensed Amateur Radio Operators trained to handle critical communications throughout the community. As part of the Disaster Response Team, they will be out in the community primarily assessing, searching and rescuing people in need and reporting back to Incident Command via their handheld radios. They will also have the ability to communicate with Snohomish County Emergency Command Center. If you are a Ham and currently not involved with the Echo Lake Hams, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org .
This system is primarily intended for those that do not have an Amateur Radio License. The system operates on the national frequencies intended for communities. The repeater operates at 35 watts. You can transmit to the repeater on 467.5750 MHz and receive on 462.5750 MHz with a DPL of 172. This might sound confusing, but it is one of the standard GMRS repeater pairs, used across the nation.