Operation Deep Freeze
February 28, 2009
0800 until 1300
Operation Deep Freeze an overview
Amateur Radio Participates
Registration for Hams or Agencies
Virginia Baptist Disaster Relief Ministries
Agencies Participation with Communications
This page was last updated: April 12, 2011
Operation Deep Freeze, West of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Operation Deep Freeze, East of the Blue Ridge Mountains
A spread sheet with a statistical report can be viewed by clicking here. All operational areas have now reported. We have received information from 21 locations and have received multiple reports from some locations. We have reports on 1025 pieces of traffic handled at this point. There is a hot key to take you to the report form on the left of the page, above. The After Action Summary is now completed and can be viewed by clicking here.
Operation Deep Freeze was about one day late in arriving for our exercise. I just heard that a section of Interstate about 22 miles long located on the border of North and South Carolina was closed due to the storm of March 1st. Stranded motorist were forced to remain in their vehicles overnight.
Our exercise played out much the same scenario. Operation Deep Freeze simulated having about 28 miles of I-77 as being closed. A mass rescue effort was simulated as being underway to remove those stranded motorist to a triage area, then to hospitals or shelters as per the need. Amateur Radio was used to coordinate these efforts. Hams also passed traffic to enlist chainsaw units, feeding units, medical supplies, cots, blankets, snowmobiles, snow shoes, cross country skies, backup relief workers, those with search and rescue skills, inquiries of road conditions, and constant situation updates. Many other items were also requested by agencies in the impacted areas. A separate network was also setup (Skywarn) to secure "ground truth" reports from the field and to make up to date reports to those in the field of impending weather. This network consisted of 3 broad coverage repeaters, 146.745, 146.685, and 145.13. The 146.985 was also used for Skywarn and regular traffic. WXSpots and Winlink were also used in addition to voice to pass weather information to and from the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg VA. A number of other repeaters and simplex were used to handle both priority and simulated emergency traffic.
There was an HF net that operated on 3.947 (The Old Dominion Emergency Net) and the Amateur Radio Communications Auxiliary (ARCA) operating from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management provided net controls for this operation. Though the use of the 147.33 repeater we had two meter communications between the State EOC in Richmond and the impact area that was over 200 miles to the west. As the area west of the Blue Ridge struggled with heavy snowfall, whiteout conditions and blocked highways, those in the area east of the Blue Ridge struggled with their own set of winter related problems.
The eastern area's precipitation came in the form of heavy icing with simulated reports of between 1 and 2 inches of radial buildup of ice. This resulted in the simulation of highways being closed, people stranded, downed utility poles and the loss of power and other utilities. Franklin and Pittlsylvania Counties were activity involved in keeping radio communications going between shelters, the office of Public Safely, the American Red Cross both locally and throughout the region. They were also in contact with the Virginia State EOC via HF radio and Winlink. This group also supported the Skywarn effort by giving and receiving constant updates between their area and the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg VA.
There was also the assistance of the Virginia Defense Force and their Military Amateur Radio Service Winlink system. The Virginia Defense Force simulated providing communications from their armories that served as simulated staging areas located between Roanoke and Norfolk VA . This Winlink system performed seamlessly with the regular Amateur Radio Winlink system. With the Virginia Defense Force and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management both using the form ICS-213 as their standard message form and the hams in this exercise using the form ICS-213 for messaging, it allowed us to have a common form for all services. A number of years ago when MARS and ARES/RACES exchanged messages, the MARS operators used MARSGRAMS and the ARES/RACES used Radiograms. This created a situation where messages had to be rewritten to be passed. A common form has been a huge help in having us all on the same page.
Non-message type traffic such as situation reports and NWS watches and warnings were issued as a bulletin with no requirement to be placed in the ICS-213 format. This is as it should be. These were bulletin type traffic that required no reply but were written as informational documents.
Winlink allowed for well over 60% of the traffic being sent without the need of going through a net. If you were listening or participating in a voice net you might have gotten the feeling that things were not all that busy. This was due to so much traffic, especially those that were large, detailed and requiring accuracy being passed via Winlink. It was also due to shifting local traffic to simplex from broad coverage repeaters after initial contact on the net frequency.. Some local nets operated their nets totally on simplex.
We want to thank those that have submitted their After Action Review and these are being reviewed and information will be forth coming from these forms. If you don't wish to make evaluation comments on this form, please go in and enter the number of messages sent and received and other operators that were assisting at your site. More updates on the exercise results will be posted on this site. We have received 19 After Action Reviews to this point.
If you have photos taken during Operation Deep Freeze, click here to send them to me. Please label those that are in the photos with names and calls.
After Action Summary