As the county moves forward on emergency preparedness plans, North Rosslyn will use this web forum as a means of disseminating information to the community. Recently, North Rosslyn received the following message from a person identifying himself as the Virginia coordinator for DC Emergency Radio Network:
Dear Civic Association:
My name is David Jeffers, and I am a resident of Arlington. Recently, I
became aware of something called the "DC Emergency Radio Network",
through a column by Marc Fisher in the Washington Post. Fox News last
night also did a report on this new, citizen-based non-profit effort.
Now in in infancy, the DC Emergency Radio Network is available as an
alternate means of communication during an emergency. In the event of
a neighborhood or regional emergency when other means of communications
are unavailable, the DC Emergency Radio Network (DCERN) may be a way for
citizens to keep you in touch with your neighbors.
I writing you to seek your interest in getting this is information on
this idea to your neighborhood association's members, as well as to all
residents of your community.
The DCERN will use family radio service (FRS) radios on channel 1, no
privacy channel (subchannel 0; channels are different frequencies;
subchannels, also called CTCSS codes, are "privacy codes" that enable
you to limit who can be part of your talk-group. For emergency
communications CTCSS codes should be off: displayed as 0 on FRS radios).
Many people in Washington, DC already have FRS radios. (FRS radios are
those small handheld walkie-talkie radios that family and friends use to
keep in touch at parks, on ski slopes and in malls. They're sold at
Radio Shack, Staples and elsewhere. FRS radios are license-free. Across
open water, they can have a range of up to two miles. But buildings,
hills and trees interfere with the signal, and a much more realistic
range in an urban raea such as Arlington is a quarter mile or less).
If normal modes of communication go down --be it because of a terrorist
attack, power outage, storm or other problem-- the DC Emergency Radio
Network is a
pre-planned way of communicating neighborhood news and information.
If the power and other communications go out, your local residents would
turn on their FRS radios.
FRS radios capture the strongest signal, so they would hear only the
person who's talking at that moment and who has the most powerful signal
-- likely to be their nearest neighbor who is transmitting. The DC
Emergency Radio Network will work a little like a relay, with a message
being transmitted person by person down the
line. The DCERN may include local police and fire officials.
That's it: If the Internet fails, or if there's some other emergency,
residents of your neighborhood would tune your FRS radio to the DC
Emergency Radio Network on channel 1, no subchannel. The DCERN may be
their pipeline to emergency help and information.
The DC Emergency Radio Network is a work in progress. It started simply
as the Cleveland Park Emergency Radio Network just a few weeks ago, and
continues to expand.
Log on to www.dcradio.org for complete information and an extensive
Q&A. Also, you can also download all of DCERN's materials at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dcern, the network's email list.
The DC Emergency Radio Network has no formal organizational structure, I
have been asked by the originator of the network, Bill Adler, to serve
as a coordinator in Virginia. I will focus on Arlington only, for the
time being. If you have contacts in neighboring jurisdications of
Alexandria, Falls Church or Fairfax County, please feel free to forward
this email to them.
In addition to www.dcradio.org website, the email list --
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dcern -- is a place where we hope we'll be
able to talk about how to improve the network.
As more people hear about DCERN, though publicity and word of mouth,
more people will become involved.
I have included on this email distribution the names of civic
association contacts listed on Arlington County's website. There are
some neighborhood associations in Arlington not on this email -- such as
my own, Donaldson Run -- because I don't have their emails. Again, feel
free to forward this to anyone who you notice is not listed here.
Meanwhile, I will start working on getting the missing email addresses.
I am also in the process of informing the County, through its
e-preparedness group and Citizens Corps, of this grassroots effort.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, ideas or concerns.
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