PALM BEACH COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT STANDARD OPERATING GUIDE COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM

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1 Purpose To outline the amateur radio communication procedures that are to be followed by Palm Beach County CERT to communicate with the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and/or the Emergency Operating Areas (EOA). Policy Each CERT team shall have their own Communication Plan for internal communication with team members. Changes in communication procedures may be required if the team is dependent on commercial communication systems (i.e., cellular) at the time of deployment based on possible damage to local communication infrastructure. Information received from reporting CERTs will help the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) establish and maintain a common operating picture of the incident. CERT communication will supply up-to-date information to assist in formulating the response from the EOC, EOAs, law enforcement agencies, Fire Rescue, and other responding agencies. Palm Beach County employees will only serve in the capacity of an amateur radio operator at the EOC during an officially declared emergency in Palm Beach County. Volunteer CERT and/or volunteer Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licensed radio communicators will be at the County EOA s to serve as a communicator. Teams will provide the names of their communicators to the ARES Assistant Emergency Coordinator/CERT Liaison no later than April 1 st of each year. The ARES CERT Liaison will assemble the Communicator schedule by May 1 st of the same year and provide the same to the Director of Emergency Management and to the Palm Beach County ARES Emergency Coordinator. Responsibility CERT leaders are responsible for ensuring that their team amateur radio communicators have a valid license issued by the FCC, are familiar with these communication protocols and with the maintenance and proper operation of their radio equipment. Team communicators should participate in nets and drills to practice their skills and test their equipment. If the team does not have amateur radio capability, the team leader should arrange with a nearby community CERT to handle their messages during times of disaster or arrange for some other type of communications medium (e.g., satellite phone). During non-disaster times, teams without amateur radio communicators should work with teams that have existing amateur radio communicators to build capacity for their team. All CERT amateur radio communicators will maintain a valid FCC license. The ARES CERT Liaison will maintain a list of CERT amateur radio operators broken down by team and EOA. Page 1 of 4

2 Procedure Communications Flow Page 2 of 4

3 Disaster Communication Protocol 1. Prioritizing messages: The team incident commander must prioritize any traffic to be passed to the EOC/EOA. A. Emergency Traffic: If a station breaks through with an emergency message, all other traffic will cease until the emergency message has been handled. Such traffic may include any incident involving: i. Mass casualties, mass fatalities ii. Potential for loss of life or mass casualties iii. Many trapped victims iv. Hazardous materials which may require evacuation of people v. Large scale fires with potential to spread vi. Property damage to essential services (hospitals, sewer systems, etc) B. Priority Traffic: Incidents included in this ranking do not involve people but may involve: i. Confirmed or potential risk of long term environmental damage (flooding, sewer leaks, etc.) ii. Severe damage to shelter supplies, public safety buildings, etc. iii. Other incidents ranked as Priority by the team Incident Commander C. Routine Traffic: Non-critical messages such as request for resupply of non-urgent equipment or other supplies. 2. Communications are for informational purposes only. No idle chatter is allowed. 3. Keep message brief. 4. Listen before transmitting. Make sure there are no messages being passed before transmitting. Think about what information you are going to pass before starting to transmit. 5. At the end of the message you must identify utilizing your FCC Call Sign. Reporting Protocols General Communication CERT to/from EOC or EOA Check into the primary CERT frequency. If there is no traffic, try the frequency for your EOA. Your tactical call sign is the name of your CERT team. For example, Jamaica Bay CERT is the tactical call sign for the amateur radio operator reporting for Jamaica Bay. There may be a change in operators but the tactical call is always Jamaica Bay CERT. No personal names should be used. Do not use Q messages, such as QSO, QTH, etc. Use your FCC call sign at least Page 3 of 4

4 every ten (10) minutes and when you finish an exchange where you don t expect to talk again for a while. When making radio transmissions the following examples should be used: 1. CERT Calling EOC CERT: EOC (this is) Jamaica Bay CERT. EOC: Jamaica Bay CERT (this is) EOC. CERT will then proceed with their message. Both operators will clear using their FCC call-sign 2. CERT Calling EOA CERT: EOA 5 (this is) Jamaica Bay CERT EOA 5: Jamaica Bay CERT (this is) EOA 5 CERT will then proceed with their message. Both operators will clear using their FCC call-sign Record all transmissions on Communications Log (309 form). Attachments ICS Frequency assignment ICS 309, modified Approved Bill Johnson, RN, Director Division of Emergency Management Date Page 4 of 4

5 EMERGENCY OPERATING AREA COMMUNICATIONS LOG Form Incident Name 2. Date/Time Prepared 3. Operational Period Date/Time Time In/Out Method (radio, sat phone, etc) 4. Log Unit ID/Caller Name Message

6 ICS 205 CERT Frequencies

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