Amateur Radio Volunteers Activate Following California Flooding

Amateur Radio volunteers with the Sonoma County, California, Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) rallied to assist the Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services Department in February after heavy rain led to flooding in the region. San Francisco Section Manager Bill Hillendahl, KH6GJV, told ARRL that while no actual communication emergencies occurred during the weather event, Sonoma County ACS volunteers provided "needed eyes" and were available in case further assistance was needed. Sonoma County ACS Radio Officer Dan Ethen, WA6CRB, said heavy rainfall on fire-scarred areas resulted in flooding along the Russian River.

Ethen reported, "On February 13 and 14, ACS volunteers staffed the Sonoma County Operational Area Emergency Operation Center. Mobile ACS Field Units were assigned to patrol the burn-scar areas that were a result of the Complex Fire Storm in October of 2017."

"All-Hazard Road Patrols observed and reported downed power lines and trees, mud[slides] and landslides impacting traffic flow, and debris issues that posed problems with water drainage and road flooding," Ethen said.

From February 26 - 28, ACS Volunteers staffed the Sonoma County Operational Area Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Graton Fire Incident Command Post (ICP). They provided back-up communication capability between the EOC and ICP to support the evacuation of residents in the Russian River flood area.

ACS volunteers continued All-Hazard Road Patrols while operating on the county-wide 2-meter repeater system. "Mobile patrol units were also tracked on APRS and visible to the EOC radio operators to ensure safety and accurate location reporting of any observed hazards," Ethen said.

"ACS volunteers remain ready to serve their communities," Ethen said. 


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