TO: ALL WOOD COUNTY ARES MEMBERS (OFFICIAL)
ALL ARES AND NON-ARES AMATEURS ANYWHERE (INFORMATION)
FROM: KEN HARRIS WA8LLM ARRL DISTRICT 3 EMERGENCY COORDINATOR
WOOD COUNTY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS INC.
WOOD COUNTY ARES BULLETIN NR 17.38 DATE: September 17, 2017
SUBJECT: COULD IT HAPPEN HERE?
Yes it could. But, you haven't ask, "If what could happen here"? The question is "Could telephone line communications be disabled to any area of the county"? After working for the telephone company for over thirty years, I can tell you that telephone communications can be disabled very easily.
Most telephone lines going from the Central Office (that's the building which houses all of the telephone switching equipment) to your house, or to another Central Office are in the air, attached to poles, and exposed to about every kind of hazard you can think of. This includes motor vehicles, weather, and fire. Any one of these can, and does cause telephone service to be disrupted, and I've seen them all.
I've even seen a train de-railment of a tanker car carrying a very Hazardous Acid in Henderson, WV, just South of Point Pleasant. The accident broke a Fiber Optic telephone cable that served over three hundred homes and several large businesses, some of which were chemical plants. The road, Route 2, was closed for several hours while the wreckage and spill was cleaned up.
You might ask "What does this have to do with telephone communications"? Ask yourself, "What would happen if there was an accident at someone's home and they needed an ambulance, or if their house was on fire, how would they be able to call for help"? Good question. What about Cellular Telephone service, you might be able to use it. Even though your Cell Phone is wireless, most of the lines between Cell Towers also use lines and cables that are exposed to the same hazards and may be out of service too.
What could you do as an Emergency Communications worker? The answer is to have a plan and try it out. The plan can be tested without even leaving the room. Pick a location, a city, or a part of the county, and pretend that telephone service has been disrupted. Ask yourself, "What can I do to provide back-up communications until the service is restored"? "Can I get to the location where communications is needed"? "How can I let the people in the area know there is Emergency Communications available"? "Where can I set up Emergency Communications"? These are just a few items that can be thought of when you ask yourself "Could it happen here?".
Ken Harris WA8LLM
Wood County WV