Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jun 19 Tornado

Had a tornado and some microbursts hit the area on Jun 19th. Including my neighborhood! I'm used to responding to someone elses neighborhood with the Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief Team or with ARES but this was a unique situation where the disaster was on my own street! But as usual, amateur radio operators responded in great form. As the storms began to intensify, we started to get reports from vairous operators in the area including Kurt-N4CVF and Mac-KF4LMT. I raced home from work and as I got closer to my neighborhood, the storm destruction became very evident. Downed trees, powerlines, etc. I managed to make it into the neighborhood but couldn't get to the house. After walking the rest of the way, I was able to determine that my family and my house were all in one piece. Thank God. Then it was time to help the neighbors. We began to check to be sure that everyone was safe and accounted for. We had maybe seven houses damaged with most having trees through the roofs. I counted maybe 15 tall pines down on our street. After this we began to clear the road of a number of down pine trees in the event that we needed rapid ingress or egress. The storm happened at about 1530 so we had plenty of daylight to do relief and recovery. This daylight proved extremely valuable since we were of course without power. As I continued to provide information via the 146.970 repeater, the help began to pour in. Steve-K4SDJ and Susie-W4SWJ mobilized in support of the Red Cross and began to do assessments in the affected areas. The Red Cross began to deploy their ERVs and had one of thier operators using the new callsign, K3SRC. Bill-K4WP arrived in the neighborhood with chainsaw in hand and began to help clear downed trees. Shortly thereafter, Ra-N4RVM and his XYL arrived with food and water for me, my family and my neighbors. What a blessing. Mac-KF4LMT wasn't too far behind and arrived to offer assistance. I was blown away how quickly our local HAM community jumped into action to assist in a variety of ways. Net discipline was awesome and the flow of information was unimpeaded. We have once again proven just how valuable and how much of an asset that we can be to our communities. There is nothing quite like the instant movement of information via radio. 73, Guy-K4GTM, EC Chatham County ARES

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