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on 12/03/2018


RAYNET activated during heavy snow.

RAYNET groups in South Wales, Scotland, Kent, Devon and Cornwall were all active during last week’s spell of heavy snowfall. Cardiff and District RAYNET were put on standby to assist in the expected inclement weather and were tasked with various duties. The group assisted alongside Cardiff and Vale Rescue Association. On the Saturday, there was a request from Gavin Macho CEPO to contact the Co-ordinator of Social Services regarding assistance for a carer to be transported to various addresses for her duties; they were then tasked to take the Co-ordinator on call to her home address. Additionally, two vehicles trapped in snow had their occupants taken to safety. In all, the group covered 276 miles during the three days. RAYNET in Tayside was active from 09:00 on Tuesday 27th February to 18:30 on Friday 2nd March. They were asked to monitor, from home, to provide a fall-back communication system for Tayside 4X4 Response who were providing transport for both councils & NHS in Tayside. Two members from each of the Tayside and Perth & Kinross groups were involved - though I am sure others were listening in. Lothian RAYNET were very active supporting Lothian 4x4 Response (who had about 30 volunteer vehicles moving NHS and care staff through the snow) with 70 hours almost continuous radio safety cover between Wednesday and Saturday evenings. Most of the time three controllers working 3 hours on, 6 hours off around the clock, but gradually introduced a few others to ease the rota. A number of stations, including Fife RAYNET, provided invaluable assistance. Some 700 or so safety messages were passed. Meanwhile, Glasgow and Clyde RAYNET Group were put on standby from Wed 28th Feb to Friday 2nd March. The group were monitoring the local VHF frequency and also the Broadnet Emergency talk-group which was operational. They assisted locally with Scotserve, a Voluntary Medical Response group, who were transferring staff to and from the children’s hospital in Glasgow by updating road conditions, again through the UK talk group.The controller was involved in local civil contingency conference calls throughout the period, as part of the communication between the agencies which was great.

On Thursday afternoon the West Devon Group was put on standby alert by the local authority. A network was set up on the usual frequency with 12 ops responding and available within 40 minutes. Virtually all the rest of the group came on-line within a further 30 minutes. Cornwall Group joined to link up with them within this time to give a good continuous cover either side of the River Tamar in Devon and Cornwall plus 3 ops ready covering North Devon.
Little traffic requirement on the Thursday as all roads in the area disappeared under snow in the sub-zero blizzard and were shut down. West Devon did link up with Devon 4x4 to assist them with cover in some strange places where their own radios did not work. (The 4x4 drivers were amateurs and held a licence.)
Overnight conditions became so bad all traffic had cleared and group went to a minimal stand by, resuming at 08:00 hrs on the Friday. During Friday there was a significant rise in temperature and drop in wind resulting in most main roads being opened to all traffic by mid-day with the only exception being Dartmoor and parts of North Devon. However, these were opened to all traffic with care by mid-afternoon. West Devon and Cornwall groups were then stood down just after 15:00hrs.
 
Kent County RAYNET (KCR) members with 4x4s turned their hand to transport as the County Emergency Centre (CEC) sought help for stranded health and care workers. Group controllers in Medway, South Kent and West Kent had already audited their all-weather resources, and County Secretary David Walsh M1AGJ provided the CEC’s single point of contact. He coordinated RAYNET deployments over Thursday March 1 to Saturday March 3, and initiated the necessary lone worker check procedures.
Altogether, KCR members drove a total of 350 miles ferrying district nurses and care home staff around Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and the Isle of Sheppey. KRT team leader Lisa Guthrie praised all the volunteer groups involved, saying “We could not, by any stretch of the imagination, have kept the county moving and services running without you.”
 
Well done to everyone involved in the efforts to help.

How a Bristol amateur radio enthusiast saved a girl's life in remote Exmoor - Bristol Post

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/how-bristol-amateur-radio-enthusiast-364577

The Bristol Post article and video by Tristan Cork describes the moment when Radio Amateur Mike Everett who lives in Bristol heard a distress call from another Radio Ham on Exmoor.

Mike Everett became an emergency call handler after hearing a request for help from a man camping on Exmoor. A 12-year-old girl in the camping party was suffering from a severe epileptic fit and needed immediate medical help. Where they were camping was so remote it had no mobile phone signal. But one of their party did have amateur radio equipment so sent out a distress call that was picked up by a relay transmitter on the Mendips, and then reached Mike’s house in Bristol.

He was the first to answer and, as other radio hams across the country listened in, called 999 and summoned an ambulance to Wimbleball Lake, Exmoor, just before 11pm on Friday night.

Initially, the emergency call handler was unaware Mike was actually calling on behalf of someone else 70 miles away, and it took a couple of minutes of toing and froing to twig that Mike was the go-between in a matter of life and death as he relayed the medical instructions to the operator at the campsite.

The call lasted more than ten minutes, with Mike passing on information about the 12-year-old girl, called May, from the other operator, Jon, to the ambulance control room. She suffers from a form of epilepsy known as ‘cluster seizures’, and needed medical help as soon as possible. Within three minutes, the emergency services were on their way to May - first a fire brigade's emergency responder arrived, and then an ambulance which had been some distance away on the M5.

“The ambulance got to the young girl, and she was taken to hospital. For a while I didn’t know how it all worked out, but I was able to track Jon down and find out that May was treated in hospital and recovered and is back enjoying her holiday again, which is great,” he added.

Jon and May's family said they wanted to thank the fire first responder Gary and the ambulance crew. "They were wonderful with May and the family, a credit to the profession," they said.

"I'm not sure how long Mike has been licensed as a radio ham, but I have to say how incredibly impressed I was with his professionalism," said Jon.

Well done Mike and Jon! 

"When all else fails, amateur radio will still be there to help."