4/24/09 - Oh Know! We are in the Dark!

Tweetbutton tweet

kg7hq Fri, 04/24/2009 - 05:19

When you least expect it.....It happens.

A vehicle hitting a power pole at Vista View road and Hwy 20 knocked out commercial power in a 4 county area. Skagit, Island, Snohomish and San Juan Counties were in one form or another impacted. As individuals realize that this wasn't going to be a momentary outage, the local repeater lit up with activity.

First reports unconfirmed were excessive smoke and low explosions from our local oil refinery. This later was noted as an upset situation as they burn off the extra gases during a power outage to prevent major complications during a power outage.

Amateur Radio communicators from the surrounding counties started to check in to establish a baseline of information. Through this, an area of effect was established quickly and noted in case the local Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Skagit County called for ARES/RACES activation.

One hour into the outage has over two dozen local stations standing by. An interesting note that our local commercial stations didn't provide much information. Most details were received from out of the area on stations 60 miles plus away from the event area. This was true unless you were listening to the 145.190 (N7GDE/R). It didn't take long to realize that the amateur radio population in it's diversity of communication options, was doing quick assessments of area and providing those updates to a common spot.... The local repeater.

With more than 33 check-in's from around the region, we had a enhanced picture that exceeded the county's EOC's information. I personally don't care what others think about Amateur Radio.... I believe we "Rock"!

Five hours into the event and I received power back on. The total impact was to 93,000 customers in the Northwest Interior of Washington State. I give thanks to the leadership demonstrated by W7ABF, WB7WOW and KE7GQO. The rest of the recognition go to those who took the time and effort to do the right thing.... "Being part of a solution"