Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Right now, I am considering myself very lucky. I’ve just lived through not only my first ever, but the most intense hurricane in New York’s history. Hurricane Sandy.

Within less than a few miles in 3 directions (North, South, West) homes are destroyed, roads are flooded, power is out. Right where I am (Park Slope) we have a lot of leaves on the ground, a few branches down and some minor damage on buildings. It’s pretty amazing how little impact we’ve directly had. It’s definitely not completely over, but we’ved fared a lot better than folks very nearby. Now we see how long it takes for NYC to get back on its feet and get things running again.

Subways are still all out of commission. 7 tunnels between Brooklyn and Manhattan are flooded. Buses will hopefully start coming online later today. What’s left of Lower Manhattan is a mess. It will be a long time before things are “back to normal” for everyone. Here’s how it looked from my perspective:


First Siren Net Checkin

In October 2010, as part of my NERT training, I attended a “HAM Cram” class here in SF and gained my FCC HAM license. I picked up a Yaesu VX-7R radio and then tinkered around a bit, but never really got into HAM too much more than it just being a fun idea. Since then I’ve listened on and off to the weekly Siren Net that happens in SF, but I’ve never actually called in and reported what I was hearing.

Today I had my first check-in (from home), and it was fun. It also felt good to know that I was helping the city keep track an emergency system that might save lives at some point. I checked in via the repeater at 443.100+ tone 114.8 and had a bit of interference, but it was clear enough for the net control to hear/understand me after a clarification. “KJ6LFV, back to net control” 🙂

Call Me N.E.R.T.

Prompted in equal parts by the book Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life, the fact that I now live in an earthquake-prone area (and knew nothing about earthquakes) and by a personal interest in “Survivalism“, I recently attended a training course to become a qualified NERT Volunteer. NERT, or Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, is a program offered by the San Francisco Fire Department which was started after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. As stated on the official NERT website;

Neighborhood Emergency Response Team Identification Card

The underlying premise is that a major disaster will overwhelm first responders leaving many citizens on their own for the first 72 hours or longer after the emergency. Our goal is to teach as many San Franciscans as possible that, with basic training, they can make a difference in the lives of their families and others when, not if, they are affected by a disaster large or small.

This is actually a pretty impressive program in my opinion, and is part of a bigger, national program called CERT. It contributes not only to individual, personal safety and education, but obviously helps build a more robust community that stands a better chance of surviving a disaster situation. The idea of distributing this sort of resilience also really appeals to me after reading books like John Robb’s Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization. So what did I learn?