I was finally able to put my radio training to use during Matthew. (I worked the radios from home during Hermine and did the same here but was also called in on an official capacity!
Wednesday the CEMA (Chatham County Emergency Management Agency) was activated and my friends Steve, Dave and Susan were involved. In speaking to Steve on Wed, he asked if I had heard from Memorial Hospital yet. I replied no. (That is who would normally activate me). He indicated he may recruit me to provide backup/relief at at the EOC for CEMA and invited me down to get a orientation which I did. I went in for a couple hours and found it very interesting. In addition to what we do with the radio gear, I was able to see the complete EOC and Incident Command system in action!
The following morning (Thur the 6th) I was monitoring the home radio and was contacted by Dave at the EOC to see if I could do a shift that night to give Steve and Susan a break. They wanted me for 6 – midnight (or more). I went in about 5 to get adjusted before Steve left. It was not too busy and David came in about 10pm. I stayed with David until about 1am and headed on home. He covered until 6am when Steve and Susan would come back in.
I was up early Friday the 7th. We wrapped up the last of the yard items (Lyn did most the day before and did a great job in prep). On the radio I was contacted by Steve who asked if I was going in to the Hospital. I indicated that I had not yet been contacted and he replied “you have been now.” I finished feeding the family and headed on it. I talked to Steve and Lester on the way in and Lester was supposed to contact me for a schedule. At this point, the CEMA EOC would be on lockdown and Lester, David and I will handle Memorial Hospital. Two others from our club, Kevin and Ken were handling duties at Candler Hospital.
When I arrived, I set the equipment up. We had a small office next door to the conference room which served as the Incident Command Post. There was less traffic here than at CEMA but we also received CEMA reports which I then shared with the Incident staff at the hospital, and relayed hospital info back to CEMA. Also, we stayed in contact with Candler.
Lester stopped in and was going to relieve me at 8:00. David showed up in the afternoon and was staying so I departed about 3:30 for home. Wind and rain had really picked up and we spent the rest of the day and overnight riding out the Hurricane. My Radio Room at home (Ham Shack) had the local repeater, the ARES Emergency Repeater and also Dstar connecting all of GA. I called in the next morning and they did not need me so I returned early Sunday Morning. I had to pass through too checkpoints and had no issues with my hospital ID.
Around 1:00 pm, they returned the hospital to Normal Operation so I was released. After packing up all the radios, I departed for home and continued to monitor etc from home.