We just signed an MOU with Minnesota VOAD. They are part of a national structure of non profit and sometimes faith based volunteer groups that respond to disasters. We now have one with MN ARES also.
I talked to our friend Steve Hartman, who is a regional lead with the Red Cross. He says there is a lot of interest in post disaster work. So an outfit like Login: Crisis Cleanup that coordinates post storm remediation is important.
I think everybody wants to be like the Cajun Navy Relief, who in one role brings bass boats and rescues people off rooftops. About Us – Cajun Navy Relief and Rescue (In another role they are hauling relief supplies and blue roof tarps and supporting field kitchens). Rescues are pretty dramatic, but up in Minnesota, we get a fast moving tornado and boom, a town is leveled. It is not like two weeks of steady rain. (Note the Red River flooding i.e. Moorhead, MN is an exception).
So the realistic mission is mostly to support cleanup. So the equipment you see has shovels and hoses and trash barrels. So our role is to help with communications and coordination over a longer period of time. And, yes, that includes duties as assigned. Minnesota Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (MNVOAD) – News (wildapricot.org)
So the idea is to (sometimes) get an alert. Then a call to say we are setting up in a school parking lot someplace. Things needed for that might be power, lights, field kitchens and freezers. Cell service might be out due to 180mph winds. So the role is more support.
Gas stations will be impacted. So the idea is to arrive self contained. My friends in the CNR say to plan to sleep in your truck for 72 hours. And be self contained.
We can support other groups- such as ARMER (800 MHz) antennas, Business Band and US Coast Guard Auxiliary antennas. They have their own radios. Open rack spaces can be provided for repeaters.
We are kicking around various types of assets for this role:
- Power trailers. We have five. Along with towers these have diesels or LP generators. We tanker in 10-30 hours of our own fuel. And we have floodlights. And spare AC power to others. Field kitchens may need power, hospital tents need blood machines to be powered etc. Gas stations are closed. What then? The 20# BBQ gas cylinders seem good as they are sold, swapped and or refilled everywhere. This fuel source (and diesel) store pretty well. These are noisy though. In fancier urban settings the Honda type suitcase generators might be more civilized. For that you can have 115V shore power inlets and marine shore power chargers. Ours are rated at 12-20A.
- Repeater trailers. We have one going on three here. If we need communications we can bring radio antennas and volunteers. A GMRS or UHF Ham repeater on a trailer at 30-35 feet can cover five miles or more. And we can provide Wi-Fi as available such as via satellite or long range LTE if any cellular is nearby.
- Solar/Mesh/antenna trailers. We have four or so. The idea is to cover a wide area you need to bring/build a mesh. And or run some antennas for other operations. Also solar power (good for a one amp base load of radio/mesh gear).
- EOC/office type trailers. We own one of these. It has a 65′ tower also but needs AC power.
- Campers. We have one of these- 15′. The days of piling five people in one for sleeping are over. The idea of 7×24 radio operations and sleeping in the same vehicle is a no. Several of the power trailers have 30A RV (2x115V) outlets to support the campers.
- Tents. These are portable but need heat in the winter
- Motorhomes. These are popular and abundant. We have not seen a use case for these in the real world. We had several at Field Day.
- Radios, WinLink and such. The idea is these are available from hams locally. They would want their own email.