Portsmouth, Rhode Island – July 31, 2013
The National Weather Service (NWS) in Taunton, Massachusetts will be sponsoring a severe weather spotter training session, part of its SKYWARN program, in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
The class is being hosted by the Newport County Radio Club and the Visiting Nurse Services of Newport and Bristol Counties. The class will be on Wednesday July 31, 2013 from 700 PM to approximately 1000 PM. It will be held at the Visiting Nurses Services Building, 1184 East Main Road in Portsmouth Rhode Island.
The session is open to the public at no charge. Amateur Radio Operators, Emergency managers, police, fire, and other first responders are encouraged to attend. Everyone age 16 and older who stays to complete the training will be able to become trained NWS weather spotters. The training session includes a two-hour thirty-minute computer-based presentation, which discusses the development of thunderstorms, the criteria for “severe” thunderstorms, as well as the cloud features associated with severe thunderstorms and tornados. Additional information will be presented about winter storms and proper snow measurement and reporting of coastal flooding, river, stream, and urban flooding and rainfall measurements. The session will also present the procedure for reporting weather information to the National Weather Service. Safety procedures for the various forms of summer severe weather (severe thunderstorms, tornado and lightning), winter storms, and flooding will also be covered in the training session. Anyone attending should bring a pen or pencil and bringing a notebook is optional.
Preregistration is required so a count on supplies can be made. Please contact Rob Macedo at email@example.com for further information and preregistration.
Congratulations to three NewportReady participants — Brian Russell, Chuck Kesson, and Dave Brown — for studying hard to master technical and licensing information and passing the FCC’s amateur radio licensing exam. Each earned the Technician Class license by answering at least 26 questions correctly out of 35 on the FCC exam. The test questions were taken from a pool of 396 questions, which the group had been vigorously studying since April. Each of the new licensees studied for a total of
20 hours to prepare for the exam.
Late May the FCC issued the following permanent call signs to the students of the licensing class that was sponsored by the Newport County Radio Club and supported by a grant from the IBM Foundation.
- KB1ZZT Russell, Brian (Newport) — a NewportReady member
- KB1ZZX Kesson II, Charles (Newport) — a NewportReady member
- KC1AAA Brown, David (Newport) — a NewportReady member
Also earning an FCC license:
- KB1ZZS Holloway, Tami (Middletown)
- KB1ZZU White, Robert (Middletown)
- KB1ZZW Macomber, Patrick (Middletown)
- KB1ZZV Cloud, Thomas (East Greenwich)
- KB1ZZY Gray, Dirmid (Narragansett)
- KB1ZZZ Brownell, Gary (North Kingstown)
This radio license allows the holder to transmit voice and data across a wide spectrum of VHF, UHF. and microwave frequencies at high power levels. These radio systems can readily operate independently from the electrical grid and the Internet which makes them a particularly resilient form of communication during major storms or other
disruptions. If interested in learning more about the next licensing class — likely starting mid-Sept — go to http://bit.ly/septhamradio
Winter Storm Nemo:
Lose Phone? Not sure what’s going on?
Do something about it. Stay Connected during the next storm.
Amateur (Ham) Radio FCC Licensing class
Starts April 1, 2013 – Middletown
You are invited to earn a FCC Amateur Radio “Technician Class” License by attending classes starting April 1, 2013, at 7PM. Classes will be held at the Red Cross, 1015 Aquidneck Ave, Middletown. Classes will run for five consecutive weeks with the last class on April 29th. Each class will run about two hours.
Register via this online GoogleDocs form:
Morse Code is no longer a requirement for an FCC Amateur Radio licenses, and once you pass the exam, your license is good for 10 years and can be renewed online with no additional testing. The license allows you to operate radios 500 times more powerful than your cell phone. Radios start as low as $75 and will allow you to easily talk around RI.
The FCC exam will be given May 6th. The exam consists of 35 multiple choice questions. The questions and answers are published ahead of time. The student will pay a $10 fee, which covers half the cost of the study materials. The remainder of the course fee is being underwritten by a technology grant from IBM. The fee for the exam, provided by volunteer examiners, is $15. Advanced registration is strongly recommended as the class is limited to 20 participants. If the class is full, walk-in’s will be turned away. This course is sponsored by the Newport County Radio Club, sharing the fun of ham radio since 1947.
NewportReady’s prepares for Nemo.
– We’ve supplied NPD/Newport emergency management agency with one of our VHF radios. This worked well during Sandy, exchanging situation reports.
– We’ll be listening to the general public on Family Radio Service (FRS) channel 1. Our callsign is “NewportReady.” With the use of our external antennas, we are able to hear/talk at much greater distances. For better talk range, get to a higher floor and find a window facing west.
– Some personal things that you should consider:
- Read the city’s handy checklist at http://cityofnewport.com/pdf_main/Emergency_Preparedness_Checklist.pdf
- Read the federal hurricane checklist at http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather
- Keep these city phone #s handy: Fire 846-2211 and Police 847-1212 . Yes, 911 service — located in Providence — can be get disrupted.
- If you have a neighbor or friend with special needs, help them signed up ASAP through the state system at https://health.ri.gov/emregistry. This info gets shared with Newport FD.
- Register your cellphone # with CodeRed so you get city CodeRed messages should your cable phone service die.
- Find a way to recharge your cell phone … perhaps it’s through a neighbor with a generator … or a 12 volt recharge cable that you can get at any cellphone store.
- Gas up the car(s).
NewportReady’s suggestions on preparing:
– Read the city’s new checklist at http://cityofnewport.com/pdf_main/Emergency_Preparedness_Checklist.pdf
– Read the federal hurricane checklist at http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
– Keep these city phone #s handy: Fire 846-2211 and Police 847-1212 . Yes, 911 service can be get disrupted.
– If you have a neighbor or friend with special needs, help them signed up through the state system at https://health.ri.gov/emregistry.
This info gets shared with Newport FD.
– Register your cellphone # with CodeRed so you get city CodeRed messages should your cable phone service die.
– Find a way to recharge your cell phone … perhaps it’s through a neighbor with a generator … or a 12 volt recharge cable that you can
get at any cellphone store.
– Gas up the car(s)and get the obligatory milk and bread.
– Ask your local neighborhood association what services they might be able to offer should you be on your own for 72 hours (per the statement made in the city checklist).
– Join NextDoor.com to stay better connected with your immediate neighborhood.
The initial response to NewportReady has been strong. This note should give you a glimpse of what’s been accomplished, what’s going on right now, what’s in the works, and pointers to places where you can get more information on becoming more ready. We know your time is valuable, so we aren’t going to be flooding you with email. If you have a suggestion, question, idea, or a request, please let us know: help@NewportReady.org
What’s been accomplished?
- Loaded your email address into our rapid email broadcast system. Your phone information has been loaded into our phone message broadcast system. Both systems are ready to go.
- Added a Facebook presence and make period updates. Please “like” us.
- Met with the police chief seeking agreement on use of a private radio frequency to pass important situational information into the city’s emergency operations center. (An open issue).
- Provided regular updates to the boards of Alliance for Livable Newport and the Point Association.
What’s going on right now?
- Finalizing a short survey to better understand your concerns, your level of readiness, and to what extent you are interested in specific training.
- Lobbying the city council to find a path forward that gives all of us an opportunity to be more interactive, more collaborative with Newport’s public safety personnel.
- Preparing for an online “tabletop” exercise called “Formidable Footprint” that will let us step through a hypothetical hurricane scenario and highlight problem areas. “Readiness” is a journey; we’ll be on the path for some time.
What’s in the works?
- Choosing system that can get short SMS text messages to you should the Internet and normal cellphone service get disrupted. SMS text messages are short and take little bandwidth to find their way to you.
- Deploying a low cost city-wide, radio-based communication system that can operate even when power and the Internet are out.
- Participating in the 2012 Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Salve University, Sunday September 23rd. Join us.
What can you do?
- Complete the NewportReady survey via https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2SBHL25
- Keep your contact information current via http://bit.ly/NptRdyAlert
- Become a walker in the Alzheimer’s fundraiser or sponsor one — http://act.alz.org/site/TR?fr_id=1372&pg=entry
- Spend 30 minutes at http://www.ready.gov/ and start making a plan or building a kit
NPD publishes a weekly summary of crime data. NewportReady is now posting these PDF files to a “library” directory on this web site. The files are labeled by date and should be easier to find. Go to the library at http://www.newportready.org/library/
Questions concerning the “Weekly Crime Trend” reports should be directed to:
Lieutenant William Fitzgerald
Newport Police Department
Community and Traffic Services Unit
120 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840
Office: (401) 845-5726
NewportReady is a local grassroots initiative to improve public safety today by improving communication between the city and her citizens. We are your neighbors who have been here through hurricanes and missing persons searches. We believe those incidents could have been handled more effectively by using 21st Century tools to partner with the community. Regrettably, Newport has so far been unable to employ communication tools such as CodeRed, Twitter, Facebook, email, and even venerable amateur radio which have been adopted and used effectively by other Rhode Island municipalities to rapidly connect with the general public.
In an emergency situation, the outcome can be dependent on how fast information is disseminated. We believe the City of Newport must communicate with her citizens and embrace Internet-based tools to reach citizens in a faster and less formalized manner. The death of Newport resident Mrs. Brenda Batts in February was a clarion call to find a way to more quickly alert and engage citizens in missing persons incidents. This case occurred a few months following the city’s last-second phone alert for Hurricane Irene and underscored the need for better external communications when reacting to weather-related incidents.
In the same way the city provides critical information to the citizens, citizens can also provide critical information to the city. The technologies mentioned above, when integrated with capabilities that are already in use in some Newport neighborhoods, would improve the city’s situational awareness when dealing with missing persons, weather-driven events, water contamination, and major visitor events. By using all the resources of its citizens, Newport can bring additional awareness to bear on difficult situations.
We envision a standing cohort of neighborhood coordinators equipped and prepared to receive and send incident information using a broad set of communication tools, including a blog at NewportReady.org, a broadcast email tool, Twitter, and Facebook.
We invite you to join your neighborhood association, join Alliance for a Livable Newport, and become a member of NewportReady.org. Further we hope you will sign-up for the broadcast email tool which means that NPD can alert you when events, weather or incidents occur that affect the general public. This is a collaboration between NewportReady.org and the Public Information Officer of the Newport Police Department and reflects his belief that we the public can be helpful “eyes and ears” of the NPD.
The principals behind the launch of NewportReady are:
The neighborhood groups supporting the launch of this capability include the Off Broadway Association and the Point Association. Within 10 days after the launch of NewportReady, 110 neighbors across Newport provided their email and phone data.
Our mission, as volunteers, is to provide a multi-neighborhood resource to assist the City of Newport, Rhode Island public safety establishment, and the community in general, when requested. The scope of the mission includes leveraging social media, flexible and robust radio communications to provide purpose-driven coordination with all parties by facilitating the prompt exchange of incident information. The organization is structured, at the volunteer level, without a hierarchy to enable the fastest and broadest citizen involvement.
We recognize that there is not a one-size-fits-all model and believe that Newport has the potential to create a high performing model by working towards:
- Having dedicated neighborhood liaisons,
- Having shared situational awareness across the public and private sectors,
- Having private sector representation within the emergency operation center,
- Establishing communication protocols with the neighborhoods,
- Identifying available response and recovery resources,
- Holding joint training and field exercises
You can start making a difference today by signing up for NewportReady’s alert broadcast list. The list will be used by city personnel and NewportReady during incidents and events requiring prompt notification and potential action.
Important note: This citizen-driven alerting capability does not replace official City of Newport alerting systems such as CodeRed but is meant to facilitate the flow of information earlier in an event to allow neighborhood partners to plan and react to an event.