On Thursday February 9th 2023 the Clearfield County Emergency Management Agency conducted a Coordinator Certification exercise with numerous state and local agencies participating. The exercise was overseen by Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) officials and organized by the Clearfield County EMA staff.
Amateur radio communications were provided as an alternate form of communications during the drill. Amateur operators John Szwarc N3SPW, Doug Evans K3DRE, Bob Snyder KC3KVS, Carmine Prestia K3CWP, Ryan Williams KC3SEB, Johna McCormick KC3SDS and Zack Barre W3ZTB participated. Carmine K3CWP prepared the ICS-201 “Incident Briefing” document which was distributed to all participants as well as EMA officals.
During the course of the exercise RF links to the amateur facilities within the National Weather Service field office in State College and the PEMA’s Commonwealth Watch and Warning Center were tested. This was made possible by the efforts of Carmine K3CWP and Doug K3DRE who were stationed at the NWS and PEMA facilities respectively. Communications to the NWS and PEMA facility made use of the 443.425+ W3HOT repeater on Rockton Mountain, Centre County. This repeater is linked full time to the 145.110- W3ND repeater in the Harrisburg area. Local coms were conducted on a simplex channel utilizing ICS message forms to relay necessary information.
Scott Mignot, Clearfield County Emergency Coordinator, gave closing remarks at the conclusion of the exercise to all present. During his remarks he singled out amateur radio as a communications tool that is always available and reliable. He went on to mention the amateur radio communications links that were established to the NWS and PEMA facilities during the exercise, specifically noting that this communications channel was not dependent on internet services or commercial power. The tower sites involved are equipped with back up power and all links are over the air. Scott was thankful for our efforts and impressed with the ability to provide communications channels to these agency facilities.
The Clearfield County ACS and RACES EmComm Team wishes to publicly recognize all amateur radio stations that participated and extend our most sincere thanks. Without your participation we would not have been able to successfully participate in exercises like this and be a resource to agencies like the Clerafield County EMA.