Winter Newsletter - January 2003

General Meeting:

Date: Saturday Jan 18, 2003
Time: 9:00AM - 12:00PM
Place: Ottawa Fire Training
Centre: Industrial Ave.
(Near the intersection of Industrial Ave and St Laurent Blvd., behind the fire station)


Team Leaders Message

Year end is a good time to reflect on accomplishments and plan for the future. It has been a good year for EMRG, with some major accomplishments;

The past year saw long term relationship building pay off and consistent growth for us as a group. The future looks good, with lots of opportunities to get involved in some projects as radio equipment becomes available from Ottawa Fire Dept.

If we keep up the good work, get more amateurs involved, we will be ready for whatever happens.

Emergency Preparedness starts with YOU!

Peter -VE3BQP

DC Power Connectors

Ric, VE3IHI has been promoting and selling the PowerPole DC power connectors to just about anyone who wants to buy. While each EMRG members gets one free connector, additional connectors are available for $2.00 each. The power connectors provide a standard interface between radios and power sources. You can chew the insulation off the wires and twist them together in an emergency, but why do that if planning ahead provides a better, quicker solution.

EMRG Operations Centre Open

The new EMRG Operations Centre at Ottawa Fire Dispatch is now in service. The room is about 10' x 12' and is dedicated to EMRG radio communications. The initial installation provides radios on 144, 220 and 440 MHz. Once Ottawa Fire completes its migration to the EDACS system, then the EMRG operations centre will be fully functional, including antennas on the Fire Dept tower.

The Operations Centre will be the hub for any EMRG emergency response. Net control, deployment and planning will be managed from the Ops Centre. There is a separate area to store equipment such as radios, power supplies and antennas.

The Operations Centre is part of the ongoing support from the City of Ottawa to ensure that Amateur radio can be deployed effectively in an emergency.

Emergency Preparedness

An organization's ability to respond to disasters is directly related to how prepared that organization is on the whole.
Organization members go through different training courses. Groups take part in exercises to utilize the training they have received. All of this is with the intent to be prepared and effective, should a disaster strike.

When a crew comes on duty at the local fire station, they perform a whole series of checks. They inspect their bunker gear, helmet, and boots. The crews inspect the equipment in each of compartments on the truck. Drivers check that the truck is full of gas and that the pump has oil. This is all preparedness that allows them to depart to a disaster knowing exactly what the state of readiness their equipment is when they leave the station. The truck is ready to be deployed the moment they arrive on scene.

Imagine for a moment that this didn't exist, that the hoses were still in the hanger drying and no new hose had been put on the truck. What if the pump's oil reservoir hadn't been filled after the last fire? What if the truck ran out of gas on the way to the scene? What if firefighters gear was all piled up on the floor of the locker room? What if there wasn't any water in the tank of the fire truck? Imagine the time it would take for the truck to leave the station and arrive at the scene if the firefighters had to get water into the truck get the pump going and then deploy the hoses to put out the fire on your burning house.

Preparedness starts with the individual and escalates to the various levels of organization and government above you.
The question is, how prepared are you, as a person and as a member of the Emergency Measures Radio Group? The next exercise is intended to assist you in being prepared to deploy should a disaster occur.


Keep a battery powered radio at home and put fresh batteries in it each fall.
Fall is also a good time to replace the batteries in flashlights as well.

Exercise "Ready, Set, Go"

January 18, 2003

Purpose of the Exercise:

The purpose of this exercise is to evaluate your level of personal preparedness for deployment to a disaster.


Emergency Measures Radio Group has been told that a disaster has disabled all telecommunications (wire and cell phone) south and west of Ottawa. Search and rescue teams are being deployed as part of a recovery effort and food distribution and housing shelters are being established by the Salvation Army and Red Cross. EMRG has been called in to deploy a radio infrastructure to support those groups and to assist those in the Search and Rescue.

Operators will be deployed across three 8 hour shifts in varying capacities. You don't know where you will be deployed and/or if there will be electricity where you are going. You've also been told that you'll likely be deployed for a 3 day period. Food and heat will be provided, however, car access will not be possible to some areas.

Each EMRG member is to report to the Ottawa Fire Training Center at Industrial Road and St. Laurent Blvd. with your deployment kits where you will receive deployment instructions and identification.

What you need to do:

Bring everything you need with you to sustain yourself and operations for a 3 day period, assuming you are being deployed on Jan 18 from the meeting location.


There is no right or wrong here.

The purpose is to learn what is needed by each of us as individuals should a disaster strike. The exercise will help identify what each of us is capable of so that each of us can improve ourselves as individuals participating in a disaster.

The details provided to the Emergency Measures Radio Group are limited to the above, so make no assumptions about where you will be deployed or what you will be doing other than it has to do with Radio Communications.

John Senez - VA3JBS
EMRG Exercise Co-ordinator

146.880MHz VHF Back With EMRG

In the fall, EMRG applied to the Saint Lawrence Valley Repeater Council (SLVRC) to have the VHF repeater frequency 146.880- assigned to EMRG. The frequency was assigned to the Cumberland Emergency Radio Group (CERG), which is no longer active.

In 2003, the frequency will be activated in a series of Community VHF repeaters, located across the City. Each repeater will use a unique CTCSS tone pair so a single repeater can be used without bringing up all the repeaters. In the event of an emergency, the nearest Community Repeater can be used to provide radio coverage in the local area. The repeaters would also be available for use by amateurs providing communications for community events.

For now, there is an operational repeater on this frequency, located at Ottawa Fire Dispatch in Alta Vista.

Go Kit

Most people have already seen at least one "Go Kit" list that identifies the material that each Amateur should have ready in case of an emergency. Some lists go a bit overboard and include 16 radios, 2 vehicles and at least 10,000 litres of fuel.

There are lots of realistic things people can and should do to be prepared for an emergency. Most of the things are simple, so here are a few to think about;

Something, is better than nothing. Building a Go Kit is a journey, one step at a time.

Simulated Emergency Test - SET

The SET is an annual communications exercise, which takes place each fall, promoted by RAC through the ARES program. In Ontario, a specific date is set each year for the SET and Local ARES groups in Ontario are encouraged to have an exercise on that day and to use the National Traffic System to send messages to other ARES groups.

November 9 was the date for the ARES SET in 2002. This year the SET was to be a joint ARES - Red Cross exercise, but delays and confusion produced a Red Cross table top exercise in Ottawa with a few messages being sent out on the NTS.

The Ottawa Red Cross recognized that the exercise did not test the ARES - Red Cross partnership, so they are interested in a local joint exercise in the future.

E-mail Newsletter

In an effort to limit the cost of distributing the EMRG newsletter, we are looking at sending the newsletter via E-mail to as many people as possible. For those who don't have e-mail or wish to still receive a copy by mail, this option will still be available.

Using the e-mail addresses provided in the membership, we will prepare an e-mail distribution list. We will send a short text only notice first, so you have to option to opt out before we start sending the newsletter.
If you have a preferred e-mail address to use or you do not want the newsletter mailed or you want a mailed copy, please let the membership co-ordinator know.


The new membership system seems to have confused and annoyed some people, so I'll try to explain it one more time.

The new membership system requires each and every member to send a letter, e-mail, or make a phone call, to the membership co-ordinator once per year, in the fall (Sept/Oct). If the membership co-ordinator does not hear from you, your name is moved to the next level of membership. DO NOT ASSUME that because Tom and Liz know you they should automatically add you to the list. As team leader, I have to send in my notification too.

The changes were made, because in the past, I did NOT remove your name from the membership list if you didn't fill out an updated form. The membership list grew, but there were people on the list who had moved away or were no longer interested in EMRG.

The new system has three categories of membership;

Participates as much as possible in training, meetings and exercises.
Receives a copy of the newsletter.
Interested in EMRG, but unable to participate in training, meetings and exercises at this time.
Receives a copy of the newsletter.
No longer interested or able to participate.
Does not receive a copy of the newsletter.

You have the choice to be in any of the three categories. Send an e-mail or phone the membership co-ordinator to let them know which category you wish to be in.

If you were an Active member and the membership co-ordinator does not hear from you after the yearly updates are requested in September-October, your name will be moved to the Inactive list. If you were busy or forgot, a simple note or phone call at any time will move your name back to the active list.

If you are on the Inactive list and the membership co-ordinator does not hear from you after the yearly updates are requested in September-October, your name will be moved to the Archive list. If you were busy or forgot, a simple note or phone call at any time will move your name back to the active or inactive list.

Not sure which list you are on, send an e-mail to Tom and Liz. Remember, we are all volunteers. If your name is not correct or is in the wrong list, a simple note or phone call will do.

Membership Co-ordinator
Tom and Liz Johnston

Emergency Response

There is a lot of misunderstanding within the Amateur radio community about roles and responsibilities regarding emergency response in Canada. This often leads to anger and disappointment for Amateurs whose expectations were not met. This article provides a quick view of where the responsibility lies for Emergency Response.

The simple answer is, It Starts With YOU, then your local Municipality. If your local Town or City cannot cope with the emergency, they go to the province for help, usually specifying what it is that they need help with. The local Town or City remains in control.

If the Province needs assistance, they will go to the Federal Government. The local Town or City retains responsibility for and remains in control of their areas. Federal or Provincial resources work through the local Municipality.

There are situations where Provincial or Federal emergencies occur and these levels of Government can respond directly. The rules of engagement and who pays are well documented in the various emergency acts and plans.

If something happens to you, your family or your house, YOU, the person or persons involved, are the first responder(s) who are in command and must begin the emergency response.

If your resources are overwhelmed by the emergency, such as you need medical attention you cannot provide, your house is on fire or you are being robbed, the emergency is escalated and the City of Ottawa first responders; Police, Fire or Ambulance are called in.

The simple explanation so far, is that when in trouble you must do what you can to help yourself and if that is not enough, call 911.

When the emergency affects more than you or your family, such as a forest fire in your community, toxic smoke or a small flood, the City of Ottawa takes charge.

There can be a large scale emergency, without the need to declare a state of emergency. If the City can handle the emergency with the resources it has for Fire, Police etc, then they will not declare a state of emergency. Declaring a state of emergency activates special powers for the City that they don't normally have and they must notify the Provincial Government that there is a state of emergency declared.

If the City needs more help, either money or special resources, they can ask the Province for help. There is a process for this and there are rules about who is responsible for what.

The Federal Government cannot respond until they are asked to, by the Provincial Government. The only time the rules change is under specific circumstances where the Federal Government can declare a National state of emergency.

The Federal Government has a program to provide funding to help with emergencies and can call on other government resources if required. Some resources, such as the military may come with a bill for the Province or City that requested them.

Throughout an Emergency Response, there is official and unofficial assistance and co-ordination. The Province would be aware of a large scale emergency in Ottawa, even though a state of emergency had not been declared and they were not asked for assistance. Provincial and Federal agencies may be involved because of the type of emergency and such as an airplane crash or chemical leak.

Unlike the US, Emergency Response in Canada starts at the bottom and works up. There is no Federal Emergency agency that takes over in a City or Provincial emergency.