FIELD OPERATIONS GUIDE

PSE Amateur Radio Emergency Services

Introduction

Why have a Field Operations Guide?

This document is designed to be carried in the jump kit if all members of the Puget Sound Energy Amateur Radio Emergency Services team (PSEARES). It acts as a quick reference for team members.

The purpose is to provide the necessary forms and operating guides to function as needed when the team is activated. Further details and procedures are found in the current PSEARES Operating Plan. It is anticipated that all members will be familiar with the Operating Plan and use this document as a reminder and resource for the necessary forms. This guide in no way is intended to replace or supersede the Operating Plan.



PSEARES Activation

Level Code Green

The PSEARES team has not been, or is no longer activated



Level Code Yellow

A PSEARES notification is justified anytime a Puget Sound Energy site suffers a failure of any one communications link, telephone or radio, or if the possibility exists of a major incident which could require additional communications capacity. In this instance, the PSEARES organization is at Operational Level Code Yellow.

The Incident Commander (IC) will activate the notification plan (Figure H) and raise the operational level of the PSEARES team to Code Yellow by:

  1. Designating a Logistics Chief who will supervise the notification plan, and establish a resource net on the W7PSE repeater or other frequency as assigned.
  2. PSEARES members will report to the Logistics Chief on the radio as available and continue to monitor for further instructions. A code yellow is notification only and does not designate activation.


Level Code Red

A PSEARES activation is justified anytime a Puget Sound Energy site suffers a failure of more than one normal communications link, or if a major incident has occurred that could require additional communications capacity and the PSE EOC is activated. In this instance, one or more PSEARES Site Teams are at Operational Level Code Red.

Upon notification of the need for the PSEARES Team, the PSEARES Incident Commander (IC) will activate PSEARES by (See Activation Worksheet, Appendix 1):

  1. Raising the Operational Level of the PSEARES Team to Code Red.
  2. Using the PSEARES Notification Plan (Figure H) to appoint a Logistics Chief for this incident.
  3. Reporting to the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) if possible.

Upon notification and appointment from the Incident Commander, the Logistics Chief will:

  1. Use the PSEARES Notification Plan to appoint a Command Station Radio Officer, and an Operations Chief.
  2. Continue the call-up of the PSEARES Team via telephone, cell, radio, or pagers.
  3. Maintain communications and coordination with the Incident Commander to report on availability of team members.
  4. Report if requested to the EOC if possible.

Upon notification and appointment from the Logistics Chief, the Command Station Radio Officer will:

  1. Report to EOC if directed.
  2. Establish a Command Net on the appropriate frequencies for W7PSE repeater operation coverage as follows:
  3. SITE W7PSE FREQUENCY MHz (+ 103.5)
    Bellingham 441.725
    Kittitas Future
    Kitsap 441.750
    North King 441.775
    Olympia 444.250
    Skagit 441.725
    South King 443.625

    a. In the event the W7PSE repeater network is unavailable, the radio net may be organized on the following backup repeater networks, or any other repeaters or simplex available.

    SITE W7PSE FREQUENCY MHz (tone)
    Radio Amateurs of Skagit County N7UQA 145.190 (+ 127.3)
    PSE Simplex Frequency 147.420
  4. Establish and maintain contact with other agencies and ARES© teams as required.
  5. Pass formal traffic to EOC and Incident Commander and staff as required.

Upon notification and appointment from the Logistics Chief, the Operations Chief will:

  1. Report on the Command Net to the Incident Commander.
  2. Review and modify Frequency Plan with the Command Station Radio Officer as required.
  3. Receive Radio Officer availability reports from Logistics Chief and make assignments as necessary.
  4. Maintain coordination with the Incident Commander and staff.
  5. Report to the EOC if requested and able.

Other ICS chiefs and officers may be appointed and used as required.

Whenever a PSEARES Team is activated, a radio net will be established on the W7PSE repeater network. This network is the primary operating network for the Puget Sound Energy PSEARES and will be used as necessary for tactical communications. Other local networks at each site may be instituted as necessary.



Self-Activation

  1. In the event of an obviously catastrophic incident, PSEARES members may, and should self-activate. However, members should avoid getting in the way until they know their presence and services are needed and are advised by the Puget Sound Energy EOC Manager. PSEARES Incident Commander (IC), or Designee.
    1. All PSEARES members should monitor W7PSE to see if a command net has been established.
    2. If the Command net has not been established, the team member should act as net control and establish this net first until relieved.
    3. If the Command net has been established, the team member should report into the Site Resource Net on 147.420 MHz, simplex.
    4. If the Site Resource Net has not been established, the team member should activate it on 147.420 MHz and report such to eh Command Net.
  2. Any PSEARES member not able to make contact with a PSEARES Radio Officer, a PSEARES Key Team member, or a member of a Puget Sound Energy Emergency Management Team, should report to his or her default location in an obvious emergency. In the event a PSEARES member does not have a pre-assigned default location, he or she should check in with a PSEARES Resource or Net Control Station, advise of location and availability, and wait for an assignment. PSEARES exists to support emergency managers: therefore it is vital that some link between the various sites and the EOC be established as soon as possible.


PSEARES ACTIVATION WORKSHEET

Incident Commander
Action Name/Completion Time Call Sign
Raise Operational Level to Code Red
Appoint Logistics Chief
Report to EOC
Logistics Chief
Action Name/Completion Time Call Sign
Appoint Command Station Radio Officer
Appoint Operations Chief
Report Availability of Team to Incident Commander
Report to EOC if requested

Command Station Radio Officer
Action Name/Completion Time Call Sign
Report to EOC if directed
Establish Command Net
Establish Communications to other Agencies
and ARES© Teams if requested
Operations Chief
Action Name/Completion Time Call Sign
Report your availability on Command Net
Review Frequency use and needs with
Command Station Radio Officer
Assign Site Radio Officers as needed
Report to EOC if requested
Resource Net Operation

Establishing the Resource Net

The first PSEARES member at each site and/or the EOC to become aware of the need for a PSEARES activation will establish a Resource Net. One or more Site Resource Nets may be in operation simultaneously.

The activating member(s) will establish the net(s) by making a net call.


  • Net call: "QST, QST, QST. This is W7PSE activating a Resource Net for the Puget Sound Energy Amateur Radio Emergency Service. All stations are requested to standby for a member call out."

  • Wait a few moments, then proceed with the second Net Call.

  • Second Net Call: "QST, QST, QST. This is W7PSE activating a Resource Net for the Puget Sound Energy Amateur Radio Emergency Service. All members please standby to copy the following information. PSEARES has been requested to: (provide details of activation, including the nature of the incident, which has triggered the activation). All PSEARES Team members please report availability now."

The Resource Net will be operated as a directed net. The Logistics Chief will begin gathering information from stations checking in as to their status and ability to respond, and forward that information to the Incident Commander (IC). In the event there are multiple site radio stations, the Command Station Radio Officer will be the liaison between Site Radio Officers and the Logistics Chief. If the first member is unable to continue to serve as Net Control, another member may relieve him or her.



PSEARES Frequency Assignments (and other agencies of interest)
Frequency MHz Mode/Offset/Tone Purpose Comments
441.725 FM/103.5 Bellingham Site W7PSE Command Repeater Network located on Mt. Erie
441.775 FM/103.5 EOC Control Command Station W7PSE Command Repeater Network located on Rattlesnake Mtn.
Future FM/103.5 Kittitas Site W7PSE Command Repeater Network
441.750 FM/103.5 Kitsap Site W7PSE Command Repeater Network located on Green Mtn.
441.775 FM/103.5 North King Site W7PSE Command Repeater Network located on Rattlesnake Mtn.
444.250 FM/103.5 Olympia W7PSE Command Repeater Network located at Electron
441.725 FM/103.5 Skagit Site W7PSE Command Repeater Network located on Mt. Erie
443.625 FM/103.5 South King Site W7PSE Command Repeater Network located at White River
145.190 FM/127.3 Backup Net N7UQA Radio Amateurs of Skagit County located on Lyman Hill
147.420 FM Simplex Site Command Net(s) Primary
145.110 FM/103.5 King County EOC Repeater
145.370 FM/123.0 Pierce County EOC Repeater
146.920 FM/123.0 Snohomish County DEM Repeater
147.340 FM/+/88.5 ESCA (So. Snohomish) Repeater
145.230 FM/103.5 Whatcom County ARES Repeater
145.470 FM/103.5 District 3 ARES Repeater
147.360 FM/131.8 Kittitas County ARES Repeater
145.190 FM/127.3 Skagit County ARES N7UQA Radio Amateurs of Skagit County located on Lyman Hill
145.430 FM/179.9 Kitsap County ARES Repeater
146.820 FM/103.5 King County ARES Repeater

Note: The frequencies for Non-PSE agencies are believed to be correct. If it is found that they are incorrect please inform PSEARES.


ITU PHONETIC ALPHABET USED FOR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
The following phonetic alphabet is used worldwide, and in the interest of uniformity, the same phonetic alphabet is used for emergency communications.
A - ALPHA H - HOTEL O - OSCAR V - VICTOR
B - BRAVO I - INDIA P - PAPA W - WHISKEY
C - CHARLIE J - JULIET Q - QUEBEC X - X-RAY
D - DELTA K - KILO R - ROMEO Y - YANKEE
E - ECHO L - LIMA S - SIERRA Z - ZULU
F - FOXTROT M - MIKE T - TANGO
G - GOLF N - NOVEMBER U - UNIFORM
0 - ZEE-ROW 1 - WUN 2 - TOO 3 - THU-REE
4 - FO-WER 5 - FI-YUV 6 - SIX 7 - SEV-VEN
8 - ATE 9 - NINER

Formal Message Traffic, Message Log and Station Logs

Formal Message Traffic

The purpose of the PSEARES Message form is to insure accuracy in the transmission and reception of official message traffic. All applicable portions of the form should be completed.

Sections of the form:

  • Standard ARL texts for welfare or emergency traffic are listed for your information. These should be familiar to every radio operator so they can be used when applicable to shorten the text.
  • Precedence's or Priorities are listed for your information:
    • Routine - This is non-emergency traffic, or an informational message of very low importance.
    • Welfare - Queries or responses concerning the health or welfare of individuals or groups.
    • Priority - More important than Routine, but still non-emergency traffic. This could be traffic that is of "time" importance. Even though it's not emergency traffic, it is "time" critical and needs to be delivered as soon as possible.
    • EMERGENCY - This the highest priority of our message traffic It should be reserved for critical or "life and death" issues.
  • Handling Instructions (optional) are listed for your information. In an emergency, it is unlikely that these will be used.
  • Number:
    • This is a consecutive number issued to a message. This number will also appear in the message log. This number along with the Date and Time make up the Date/Time group of the message. This date/time group is used to track, make reference to , and to reply to messages. The date/time group provides positive identification of a message.
    • Precedence is to be filled in on each message. For Routine, Welfare and Priority messages, the first letter (R,W, or P) is all that is required. Emergency message precedence is ALWAYS SPELLED OUT as "EMERGENCY".
    • Station of Origin is the call sign of the radio operator sending the original message. This may not be your call sign if you are relaying the message.
    • Check is the number of words in the text portion of the message. If you are using Standard ARL texts, the abbreviation "ARL" will precede the number of words in the check box.
    • Place of Origin is where the message originated. This is not necessarily the place where the Station of Origin is located, but the actual place the person who wrote the message was at.
    • Time is in the local 24-hour format that the message was written with the local time zone indicated without using a semicolon (for example: 1930 PSDT).
    • Date is in the format mm/dd/yy.
    • To is the name, and address, of who the message is intended for.
    • Telephone number is the phone number of who the message is intended for.
    • Station Handling this Message - this is where you place your call sign, name, and location. If you are the first operator handling the message, your call sign will also be in the Station of Origin.
  • Message Text
    • Legibly print, do NOT write one word per blank line. If you are using the ARL standard texts, precede each phrase with "ARL and spell each number as an individual work. (i.e. ARL TWENTY TWO)
    • REC'D - is where you place the call sign (if by radio) or name (if in person) of the person giving the message to you, and the date and time you received the message.
    • SENT - is where you place the call sign of the person you are sending the message to (not necessarily who the message is intended for), and the date and time you sent the message.
    • If your message is longer than the form allows, the last three words of the text should be, "MORE TO FOLLOW" and another message form filled out properly with the text beginning with the first four words: "CONTINUATION MESSAGE NUMBER ___".


PSEARES Message Log

The message log is used to log incoming and outgoing messages so that they can be tracked.

Blanks are provided on the form to fill in the message number, the 24 hour time (that the message was received or sent), the Subject, who the message was from, and who the message is to.

All official messages should be logged.



PSEARES MESSAGE LOG
Event/Incident Name: Station Location: Date:
Message No. Time (24 hr.) Subject Sent/Rec From/To Operator Call Sign
Page of

PSEARES Station Log

The EOC Station log is used to document all important events occurring at the station such as:

  • Operator reporting on and going off shift.
  • NET check-in and check-out times.
  • Critical events such as fires, earthquakes, and relocations etc.
  • Equipment or personnel problems or issues.
  • Any comments that would improve the re-construction of sequence of events in an emergency concerning your radio station location.

Spaces are provided for the time, event, your name, and call sign. All spaces should be filled out.

It is more important to put too much into the log rather than not enough. Your comments can be filtered after the event, but if an important piece of data is missing, it is highly unlikely it will be discovered.



PSEARES STATION LOG
Event/Incident Name: Station Location: Date:
Time (24 hr.) On/Off Duty, Net Check-in/out, Critical Events, Equipment/Personnel Problems, Comments Name Operator Call Sign
Page of



PSEARES Command Net