Emergency Communications Plan Penobscot County, Maine

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Emergency Communications Plan

Penobscot County, Maine

31 May 2015

Serving our community through Amateur Radio

Prepared by

Kevin Badger, N0UKM

Penobscot County ARES

Emergency Coordinator

Penobscot County
Penobscot County, Maine, is located at approximately 45° 23' 13" North, 68° 28' 13" West and covers nearly 3,556 square miles. It has 4 Plantations, 3 Cities, 15 Townships, 53 Towns, 23 Townships/Ranges, and 1 Gore within its jurisdiction. According to the 2010 Census, Penobscot County had a population base of 153,923, of that there are approximately 525 Amateur Radio operators in the county.
Penobscot County has 1 Commercial/Military Airport, 4 Sea Plane Bases, 6 Private Airports and 3 Landing Strips. In addition to all of the public buildings and recreational facilities located in Penobscot County, it is also home to the University of Maine flagship campus located in Orono, Husson University, Eastern Maine Community College, Beal College, University College of Bangor all located in Bangor.
Law Enforcement offices include the Maine State Police Troop E Barracks in Bangor, Penobscot County Sheriff Department in Bangor, and Charleston Correctional Facility along with the Mountain View Youth Development Center both located at the former Charleston Air Force Station on top of Bull Hill in Charleston. Numerous cities and towns have their own police force, while other areas of the county share the response between Maine State Police and Penobscot County Sheriff.
Fire response is done through a combination of full time and volunteer fire departments. There are currently 48 fire departments serving the county with the rest of the unorganized area of the county being taken care of by the Maine Forest Service operating out of Old Town at Dewitt Field, Enfield, East Millinocket and Lee. Majority of the dispatching for these agencies is done through Penobscot Regional Communications Center (PRCC) located in Bangor.
Emergency Medical Service is also provided through a combination of full time and volunteer response agencies: Bangor Fire Department, Brewer Fire Department, Capitol Ambulance, Carmel Fire Department, East Millinocket Fire Department, G & H Ambulance, Hampden Fire Department, Hermon Ambulance, Howland Ambulance, Lincoln Ambulance, Mattawamkeag Fire Department, Mayo Regional Hospital, Millinocket Fire Department, Old Town Fire Department, Orono Fire Department, Orrington Fire Department, Patten Fire Department, Sebasticook Valley Hospital, University Volunteer Ambulance Corp, and Veazie Fire Department. Also based in Penobscot County is Life Flight Air Ambulance at the helipad at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and the Maine Army National Guard Charlie Company 1st Battalion 126th Aviation Regiment providing military Medevac capabilities to the state.
The only other aviation assets are the Maine Forest Service at Dewitt Field in Old Town with both fixed wing and rotary wing, Maine Wing Civil Air Patrol with fixed wing aircraft at Bangor International Airport and Down East Emergency Medicine Institute with their fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft also based at Bangor International Airport.
Penobscot County is served by 6 hospitals. Eastern Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital located in Bangor, Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln and Millinocket Regional Hospital in Millinocket. Bangor is also home to two mental health facilities that have both outpatient and inpatient capabilities. Those two facilities are The Acadia Hospital and Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center.
Penobscot County also has a regional Hazardous Materials Response Team made up of members and equipment from Bangor, Brewer, Hampden, Orono and Old Town Fire Departments. The Maine Air National Guard Response Team based at Bangor international Airport is another Hazmat Team that can be called.
Emergency Service and Training
Government and Relief Agencies:

Local, State, and Federal Emergency Management Agencies

National Weather Service

American Red Cross

Salvation Army
Public Service Events

Message Centers


Sporting Events

Natural Disasters and Catastrophes


High Winds

Heavy Rain



Tropical Storms

High Winds

Heavy Rain



Severe Weather



High Winds

Heavy Rain



Winter Weather

Excessive Snowfall

Excessive Icing

Excessive Cold

Weather related incidents might result in

Power Outages

Building Damage

Displaced Populations

Infrastructure Damage

Commercial Aircraft Accidents

Rail Accidents

Mass Auto Accidents

Transportation related incidents might result in

Power Outages

Building Damage

Displaced Populations

Infrastructure Damage
Hazmat Incidents


Plants and Facilities

Hazmat related incidents might result in

Power Outages

Building Damage

Displaced Populations

Infrastructure Damage


Wildfire related incidents might result in

Power Outages

Building Damage

Displaced Populations

Infrastructure Damage

Missing Persons

Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue related incidents might result in

Lack of Communications Resources

Terrorism and Acts of War

Terrorism and Acts of War might result in

Power Outages

Building Damage

Displaced Populations

Infrastructure Damage

An ARES response would fall in the following areas:

Damage Assessment



Critical Dams

Sheltering and Mass Care

Search and Rescue
Emergency Condition Alerts
The Penobscot County ARES group will be notified of an emergency by our own activation methods and advised of the status with the following condition alerts:
Condition 1 (YELLOW): Standby (Mitigation) Maine ARES Level 1

A potential emergency exists and there is the possibility of a tornado, flooding, wildfire, or other natural or man-made emergency.

  • Receive notification by telephone tree plan, email and/or radio net.

  • Secure home and family

  • Monitor designated frequencies for information and liaison assignments.

  • Charge batteries

  • Assemble radio and personal equipment for deployment

  • Have a full tank of gas in vehicle.

  • Be ready to respond.

Condition 2 (GREEN): Primary Mobilization (Preparedness) Maine ARES Level 2

Threat is imminent - shelters opening, evacuation begins.

  • Designated agency members report to agency centers/headquarters.

  • ARES members and volunteers respond to NCS.

  • Designated ARES members and volunteers report to liaison locations—

local shelters, area hospitals, law enforcement stations, etc

  • Remainder of ARES volunteers standby for relief at primary locations or

assignment to secondary locations as they are opened.

Limited or local emergency - tornado, explosion, fire, plane crash, chemical spill, etc.

  • Designated ARES volunteers report to assignments as directed.

Condition 3 (RED): Full Emergency (Response) Maine ARES Level 3

Event or serious emergency is in progress.

  • All ARES volunteers assigned are on standby status, depending on the

severity and duration of the emergency.

  • Emergency traffic only; repeaters and simplex frequency are closed to all but necessary emergency traffic.

  • The simplex frequencies will be assigned for tactical traffic as needed.

Condition 4 (BLUE): Aftermath (Recovery) Maine ARES Level 4

  • Assist as necessary with cleanup.

  • Assist government agencies as necessary to supplement their communications and/or substitute for inoperative equipment.

  • Assist with damage assessment.

  • Deliver messages to and from outside areas.

Emergency Response Resources
In addition to the law enforcement, fire, emergency medical service, hazardous material, and health services resources which respond to Penobscot County Regional Communication Center, Penobscot County also benefits from the following government and volunteer emergency response resources:
Down East Emergency Medicine Institute (DEEMI) Search and Rescue trains and deploys ground search teams, waterborne craft, 4x4/ATV units, and fixed wing aircraft along with rotary wing aircraft. The team provides Penobscot County and surrounding areas with experience in ground search, first aid, map and compass work, amateur radio communications, crime scene preservation, and incident command training.

VK9 Scent Specific Search and Recovery Unit (VK9)

provides "specialized K9 support" to law enforcement agencies with the use of our K9’s in several different recovery venues including, but not limited to: abductions, missing person cases and homicides. Our K9's are also able to do aged (old) work in live scent trailing / tracking, air-scent, evidence / article recovery (all of which can be scent-specific) and cadaver work (both land and water). Our specialty is to be able to work older cases with the use of secondary scent, aged trails, and vehicle trails. We do extensive work in scent matching to identify if a matching scent is present at target locations. Additionally, our K9’s will provide a negative indication when scent is not present to the K9.  We have worked many cases successfully using our techniques.


AI+RRNET is the coordinating center for tactical aerial imagery used in missing person search, rescue and recovery work on both land and water. The high resolution imagery is obtained under guidance from AI+RRNET and relayed for analysis to VIASAR labs in Ohio where it is analyzed by professional analysts. AI+RRNET provides both the coordinated SAR team mission planning and the link to digital imagery and analysis.  AI+RRNET also deploys hasty teams in the area of the search. This simple idea / technique has led to victims being found on many occasions. 
American Red Cross of Northern and Eastern Maine Chapter

Chartered by Congress in 1905, the Red Cross provides relief to victims displaced by disaster, from the onset of disaster conditions to the recovery phase. Local ARES Emergency Coordinators work closely with their counterparts in the chapter offices, on missions with Red Cross personnel and providing communications for shelter managers.

Red Cross Disaster Services -- This Congressional-mandate service not only applies to major national tragedies but also to single-family incidents, generally fire, flood or tornadoes. Typically, Red Cross responds by purchasing food, new clothing and providing shelter for families to help meet immediate emergency needs.

Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency -- The congressional mandate of the Red Cross includes providing service to our armed forces, including emergency communication between soldiers and their families, emergency leave and referral services.

Amateur radio operators responding with the Red Cross may do so either as Red Cross volunteers or as ham communicators for agency personnel.

Citizen Corps -- The ARRL is an affiliate under the four charter Citizen Corps programs--Neighborhood Watch, Volunteers in Police Service, Community Emergency Response Teams and Medical Reserve Corps. Citizen Corps is an initiative within the Department of Homeland Security to enhance public preparedness and safety. The relationship calls on DHS and ARRL to raise public awareness of Amateur Radio as a safety resource, to cooperate in providing training and accreditation for Amateur Radio emergency communications and to work together to promote the formation of local Citizen Corps councils and assist them with education, training and volunteer service opportunities that support first responders, disaster relief organizations and community safety efforts.
Civil Air Patrol -- The Maine Wing of CAP is a civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force. CAP is made up of volunteers and among their missions is Emergency Services. These services include air and ground search and rescue operations, disaster relief operations due to tornadoes, floods, or earthquakes, environmental protection operations, State and Regional disaster airlift operations, organ and tissue transportation operations, aerial reconnaissance, transportation of emergency equipment and supplies, and transportation of State Officials and other non-CAP members. Penobscot County has a squadron based at Bangor International Airport.
Maine Army and Air National Guard -- Deployment of the Maine Army National Guard and Air National Guard for general state or local emergency is under the authority of the Governor of the State of Maine, usually at the request of local authorities under SEMA priorities. Should a large-scale emergency involve Penobscot County, it is possible, that units including the local ground and aviation assets could be assigned to this area. If the President of the United States declares an emergency and with the approval of Congress calls reserve units to active duty, a Guard unit could leave the community for up to a year.
Penobscot County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) -- operates in accordance with national Memorandum of Understanding between the Amateur Radio Relay League and a number of served agencies. ARES usually cooperates with non-governmental agencies like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Locally, ARES cooperates with the Penobscot County Director of Emergency Management. In addition, Penobscot County ARES is a member of the contiguous counties in an Amateur Radio Emergency Services Mutual Assistance Team [ARESMAT].
*Penobscot County ARES does retain its own identity and organization structure, personnel and physical infrastructure while providing communications support to the various served agencies in which we work with. Penobscot County ARES infrastructure includes privately owned radios, antennas, ARES dedicated and cooperating repeaters and other equipment which is not subject to any organizations inventory.
Penobscot County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) -- prepares for and coordinates all emergency functions other than functions for which military forces or other federal agencies are primarily responsible, to prevent, minimize and repair injury and damage resulting from, disasters. EMA promotes the mitigation of, preparation for, the response to, and the recovery from emergencies and disasters impacting the public, government, and business of the communities in Penobscot County.
Penobscot County Emergency Management will activate Penobscot County ARES. Self activation of members is highly discouraged.

Emergency Preparation and Training
Amateur Radio

  • ARES Field Resources Manual http://www.arrl.org/files/file/ARESFieldResourcesManual.pdf

  • Public Service Communications Manual http://www.karg.ca/pdfs/pscm.pdf

  • Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Training Course http://www.wb2lua.com/papers/Emergency_Com_Training_Course.pdf

  • Introduction to Emergency Communications http://www.maineares.org/Introduction%20to%20ECom.pdf

  • Maine Emergency Communications Course Level I http://www.maineares.org/mecc.pdf

  • Maine Emergency Communications Course Level II http://www.maineares.org/mecc%20II.pdf

  • Maine Emergency Communications Course Level III http://www.maineares.org/mecc%20III.pdf

  • Maine ARES Leadership Course http://www.maineares.org/mlc.pdf

  • Maine ARES Safety Course http://www.maineares.org/asc.pdf

ARRL Field Day: The fourth full weekend in June each year is designated by the ARRL as Field Day. Field Day is open to all amateurs, in Penobscot County.
The object is to work as many stations as possible on any amateur band (excluding 60, 30, 17 an 12 meters and any repeaters) and to learn to operate in “less than optimal conditions.” It is an opportunity to learn new operating modes and practice NTS message handling.
A premium is placed on developing skills to meet the challenges of emergency preparedness as well as to acquaint the general public with Amateur Radio. To that end, one of the stations may be a GOTA – Get On The Air – location for non-hams or amateurs trying new bands. Points are earned for publicity as well as hosting an elected or appointed government official.
Participation may be as a group of three or more operators, one- or two-persons on battery or portable, individuals operating mobile from cars, trucks, maritime or aeronautical, at home on emergency power or battery, or at an EOC.
Participants may make contacts using digital modes, CW, or phone. A premium is placed on operating with low power, off a generator, and/or using nontraditional methods of recharging or powering the radio gear. Additional credit is earned by making specific contacts.
Penobscot County ARES nets are held under auspices of the ARRL. ARES nets are widely used in Public Service events as Informal Directed nets for emergency practice and as Formal Directed nets in emergencies. The level of formality is set by the NCS.
Penobscot County ARES emergency net practice is held the 4th Wednesday at 1900 hours local time on the N1ME 2-meter repeater on 146.9400 MHz (-) with 100.0 PL tone.
In the event that the WA1RES or N1ME repeater is not able to come up on the air, members will utilize Penobscot County ARES TAC 1 frequency.
There are three tactical simplex frequencies that are assigned to Penobscot County under the MAINE ARES EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS PLAN along with two HF frequencies and one for the closest KQ1L Link repeater.
147.5650 Penobscot County ARES TAC-1

146.5500 Penobscot County ARES TAC-2

147.5550 Penobscot County ARES TAC-3
3.940 kHz (night) Maine Emergency Communications Net)

7.262 kHz (day) Maine Emergency Communications Net

146.8500 - 100.0 PL Tone, is the Bangor area closest KQ1L Link system repeater. The KQ1L Link system repeater network will be used to coordinate during statewide events
See ICS-217 form for current channel listing for the Icom IC V-8000 radios dated 13 May 2015.
Other liaison stations will be assigned to other nets, repeaters, and/or frequencies and modes as required.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – There are currently 106 different Independent Study Program courses to take from FEMA. These are offered free of charge. http://training.fema.gov/IS/crslist.asp

IS-1 Emergency Manager: An Orientation to the Position

IS-3 Radiological Emergency Management

IS-5a An Introduction to Hazardous Materials

IS-10a Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness

IS-11a Animals in Disasters: Community Planning

IS-22 Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness

IS-55 Household Hazardous Materials – A Guide for Citizens

IS-100 Introduction to Incident Command System

IS-200 ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents

IS-301 Radiological Emergency Response

IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction

IS-800.b National Response Framework, An Introduction

SET – Simulated Emergency Test: At any time between September 1 and November 30, ARES groups conduct a state and national simulated emergency response based upon a scenario which ideally involves Amateur Radio, public and private response agencies, and NTS. The state and national exercise is on a specified date.
Hazardous Material Incidents: Hazardous materials [HAZMAT] refers to any substances or materials which if released in an uncontrolled manner (spilled) can be harmful to people, animals, crops, water systems or other elements of the environment. The list is long and includes explosives, gases, flammable and combustible liquids, flammable solids or substances, poisonous and infectious substances, radioactive materials, and corrosives.
One of the major problems is to determine what chemicals are where and in what quantities. The US Department of Transportation [DOT] has established definitions of various classes of hazardous materials, established placarding and marking requirements for containers and packages, and adopted an international cargo commodity numbering system.
DOT requires that all freight containers, trucks and rail cars transporting these materials display placards identifying the hazard class or classes of the materials they are carrying. The placards are diamond shaped, 10-inches on a side, color-coded and show an icon or graphic symbol depicting the hazard class. They are displayed on the ends and sides of transport vehicles. A four-digit number may be displayed on the placard or on an adjacent rectangular orange panel. Two of the more common include 1993 (chemicals, including road tar, cosmetics, diesel fuel and home heating oil) and 1203 (gasoline).
In addition to the placards, warning labels must be displayed on most packages containing hazardous materials -- smaller versions of the placards (4-inches on a side). In some cases, more than one label must be displayed, placed next to each other. In addition to labels for each of the DOT hazard classes, other labels with specific warning messages may be required. Individual containers also have to be accompanied by shipping papers which contain the proper shipping name, the four-digit ID number and other information about the hazards of the materials.
HAZMAT Guidelines

  • Approach the scene cautiously – from uphill and downwind. If you heve binoculars, use them

  • Attempt to identify

    • the 4-digit number on the placard or orange panel

    • the 4-digit number (preceded by “UN/NA” on shipping paper or package

    • the “name” of the material on shipping paper, placard or package

  • Call for help immediately and let the experts handle the situation. Do not attempt to take any action beyond your level of training. Know what you are capable of doing.

The Ready Kit

The following are the minimum items required for operating during a disaster or exercise for ARES members. Any ready kit should be packed for a 72 hour period. Ready kits are a personal thing. One should add or delete items from any ready kit as they feel appropriate as long as additions or deletions do not detract from communications.

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