"Phones, Fire and Failures" and "Radio For The Rest of Us"

Dec 09, 2019 Update

The Mountain Democrat recently published a story about
efforts by the El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club
to implement Radio For The Rest of Us programs
for some of the El Dorado County Fire Safe Councils:

mtdemocrat.com/news/when-cell-service-goes-down-radio-to-the-rescue

I was part of a four-person, disaster-recovery team dispatched to Butte County on November 17 to help restore cell phone service destroyed by the 2018 Camp Fire, which decimated the communities of Paradise, Magalia and Concow. Working there turned me into an "Accidental Advocate" for community and fire safety.

I realized that disasters like the Camp Fire could happen in my own home town of Placerville. They've happened in California and throughout the US. I now travel throughout Northern California and Western Nevada meeting with Fire Safe Councils, Ham Radio Clubs, Civic Groups, and Homeowners' Associations to alert others to the dangers we face from an over-dependence on vulnerable communications services in the event of disasters.

2020 Presentation Schedule (updated 02/15/2019):
January
Sierra Foothills Amateur Radio Club
Radio For The Rest of Us
Friday, January 10, 7:00 — 9:00pm
1225 Lincoln Way, Auburn

Logtown Fire Safe Council
Phones, Fire and Failures
Saturday, January 11, 9:00 — 11:00am
Diamond Springs Fire Station Community Hall
501 Main St, Diamond Springs, CA 95619

Coloma/Lotus Fire Safe Council
Radio For The Rest of Us
Wednesday, January 29, 6:30 — 8:30pm
Gold Trail Grange #452
319 CA-49, Coloma, CA 95613

February
Thursday, February 6, 6:30 — 9:00pm
Amador County Amateur Radio Club

Radio For The Rest of Us
20000 CA-88, Pine Grove, CA 95665

Monday, February 10, 6:30 — 8:30pm
Sierra Springs Regional Fire Safe Council

Phones, Fire, and Failures
5340 Edelweiss Way, Pollock Pines, CA

Sunday, February 23, 1:00 — 3:00pm
Aukum Fairplay Fire Safe Council

Radio For The Rest of Us
6740 Fairplay Rd, Somerset

March
Monday, March 09, 6:30 — 8:30pm
Sierra Springs Area Fire Safe Council

Radio For The Rest of Us
Sierra Springs Owners Association
5340 Edelweiss Way, Pollock Pines, CA

Tuesday, March 10, 5:30 — 7:00pm
Oak Hills Fire Safe Council

Phones, Fires and Failures
Firefighters Memorial Hall
3734 China Garden Rd, Diamond Springs

Thursday, March 12, 7:00 — 10:00pm
Stockton Delta Amateur Radio Club

Radio For The Rest of Us

Saturday, March 14, 9:00am — 12:00pm
Logtown Fire Safe Council

Radio For The Rest of Us
El Dorado Fire Protection District
6109 Quartz Dr, El Dorado, CA 95623

April
Tuesday, April 14, 5:30 — 7:00pm
Oak Hills Fire Safe Council

Radio For The Rest of Us
Firefighters Memorial Hall
3734 China Garden Rd, Diamond Springs

Wednesday, April 15th, 1:00 — 2:30pm
El Dorado County Fire Safe Council Stakeholders Meeting

Phones, Fires and Failures
Forestry Service Building
100 Forni Rd, Placerville, CA 95667

June
Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 7:00 — 9:00pmm
Lakehills Fire Safe Council

Phones, Fires and Failures
El Dorado Hills Fire House
1050 Wilson Blvd, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762


"Phones, Fire and Failures"

Summary:
This is an audio/video presentation about emergency communications planning and execution that failed during the Camp Fire and similar events, and suggests ways to help our communities stay safer in the event of similar disasters here.

One thing is clear: We must find more resilient solutions to help ensure our communities get timely, life-saving information about fast-moving disasters, especially in light of our present-day over-reliance on cell phones and the Internet for everything - technologies which, in turn, depend on a trillion dollars of vulnerable infrastructure not to fail. The Presentation also offers suggestions on how we all can help to make our communities safer in the event of local disasters or emergencies.


Outline:

"Radio For The Rest of Us"

"Radio For The Rest of Us" picks up where Phones, Fire and Failures leaves off. It details how to set up "Neighborhood Radio Watch Programs" in local communities to help keep us safer during disasters:

Summary:
Most of us nowadays depend entirely upon cell-phone and Internet services to stay in touch with our friends and families. These services, in turn, depend upon billions of dollars of technology not to fail. The last few years have seen a dramatic rise in the frequency and intensity of storms, fires, power shutdowns, and other natural and man-made disasters — events which often disrupt these vital communications services, sometimes for days or weeks. With the ever-increasing impacts of climate change and political tensions, these disasters may only become more frequent and more intense — putting us all at greater risk.

For years, Amateur Radio Operators - AKA "Hams" - have stood ready to use radios during these kinds of emergencies to quickly restore communications when normal communications fail. This has worked well to aid First Responders. However, it has become increasingly critical for the average citizen to also have alternative communications when cell phone and Internet services fail. Getting a Ham Radio license requires passing a technical exam beyond the interests or capability of most average citizens. But there are viable radio alternatives that average citizens can use without passing a test or getting a Ham Radio license.

Radio For The Rest of Us highlights these cell phone and Internet service vulnerabilities, and how our unconscious over-reliance on cell phones for virtually everything puts us at serious risk. The presentation suggests ways how Ham Radio Clubs might help "the rest of us;" our families, our friends, and our community, stay safer in the face of cell-phone and Internet service failures.

Outline:
2019 Past Presentations:
January 11, Sierra Foothills Amateur Radio Club

February 11, Nevada County Amateur Radio Club
February 13, Sacramento Amateur Radio Club
February 19, North Hills Radio Club

March 5, River City Amateur Radio Club
March 7, Amador County Amateur Radio Club
March 14, Calaveras Amateur Radio Society
March 16, Loomis HamFest
March 19,Western Placer Amateur Radio Club
March 23, Friends of Spanish Hill
March 28, El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club

April 09, Yuba — Sutter Amateur Radio Club
April 11, Rotary Club of Placerville
April 12, Oroville Amateur Radio Society
April 18,Placerville Fire Safe Council
April 19, San Francisco Radio Club
April 23, Gold Country Retirement Community
April 27, Silicon Valley Emergency Communications System

May 7, Mother Lode Lions Club

June 07, Palo Alto Amateur Radio Association
June 27, Lake Oaks Mobile Home Community

July 12, Oroville Amateur Radio Society
July 20, NVCON Radio Convention
July 25, El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club
July 27, Silicon Valley Emergency Communications System

August 2, Marin Amateur Radio Society
August 5, The Paradise Amateur Radio Society
August 21, Aukum Fairplay Fire Safe Council
August 25, Dobbins/Oregon House Fire District
August 27, Oak Hills Fire Safe Council
September 4, Sonoma County Radio Amateurs
September 6, Palo Alto Amateur Radio Association
September 11, Fiddletown Fire Safe Council
September 12, Stockton Delta Amateur Radio Club
September 14, Elk Grove Florin Amateur Radio Club
September 21, Livermore Amateur Radio Klub (LARK)

October 18, PacifiCon Keynote Speaker, Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club
October 19, PacifiCon Amateur Radio Convention
October 25, City of Woodland / Yolo County ARES Group

November 6, Coloma/Lotus Fire Safe Council
November 14, Pleasant Valley Fire Safe Council
November 20, Valley of The Moon Amateur Radio Club

December 17, Gold Ridge Fire Safe Council

Presentation Comments:

"I thought you presentation was one of the best that I have ever seen in any venue. And I have seen a lot of presentations. That said, we want to invite you back next year. I think your message is clear and needs to be heard more often." - Ed Morales, Environmental Risk Specialist, Vice President, Mount Diablo Amateur Radio Club, MDARC.org

"Your expertise allowed us all to gain a much better understanding of the fragile nature of communications infrastructure. In addition, we appreciate you customizing the presentation to align with our direct experience during the Camp Fire Incident and your ability to craft the presentation in a way that fit the limited time we had available." - Doug Poppelreiter, KD6LOK, President, Paradise Amateur Radio Society w6par.org

"An absolutely fantastic talk. Award winning! Well done and very scary." - Robert Hess, W1RH, El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club edcarc.net, Chief Engineer (Ret.), Channel 13, Sacramento sacramento.cbslocal.com

"I found [your Presentation] well organized, and well presented. It was easy to grab the devastation and the scope of the fire. Well done! It is a wonderful service you are doing raising the awareness to communities that Cell Phones are not the cure all." - Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, Sacramento Valley ARES Section Emergency Coordinator

"An outstanding presentation last night! Received many thanks for attendees. Thank you so much." - John Hess, Chair, Aukum Fairplay Fire Safe Council affsc.org

"Thank you one more time for the excellent presentation you provided to the Paradise Amateur Radio Society ( w6par.org) on Phones, Fire and Failure during the Camp Fire incident." - Grant Hunsicker, KB6EC, Director, General Services, County of Butte buttecounty.net/generalservices

"Another superb presentation. Hopefully it motivated the attendees to seek out neighborhood groups and youth organizations and stress to them the critical importance of radio communications in disaster plans." - Lou Steirer, WA6QYS, Chairman, Silicon Valley Emergency Communications System svecs.net

"That was a great presentation you gave in Santa Clara this morning, and a tremendous amount of information." - Scott Bordelon, K6SLB, Training Officer, San Jose Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service sjraces.org

"Thank you so much for your presentation last night... you held the group spell bound!" - Susan Keale, Concierge, Gold Country Retirement Community goldcountryretirement.org

"As a retired teacher, I appreciate other good teachers, and you are one! Thanks again, riveting talk!" - Art Craigmill, K6ALC, Yuba Fire Safe Council yubafiresafe.org, U C Davis (Ret.)

"Thanks for all that you are doing to raise awareness about being prepared for post disaster communication." - Rich Martin, Member, Eskaton Homeowners' Association eskaton.org/village-placerville.html

"Thank you for providing such an informative presentation on the importance of community radio and emergency communications." - Daniel Leon, KZ6VT, President, Oroville Amateur Radio Society w6af.com

"An excellent presentation at Eskaton. We definitely would like a presentation out our way." - John Hess, Chair, Aukum Fairplay Fire Safe Council affsc.org

"You did a presentation of the Camp Fire for the River City ARCS that was marvelous." - Phil Sittner, KD6RM, Treasurer, River City Amateur Radio Club n6na.org

"Thank you again for your talk last evening. I think it brought home to most of us just how un-prepared we are here in Placerville." - Mary Fatooh, Director, Gold Country Retirement Community goldcountryretirement.org

"Thank you so much for presenting to our members. The feedback has been wonderful." - Dr. Antonis Papatsaras, AA6PP, President, San Francisco Radio Club sfarc.org, CTO, CLM & SVP Engineering, DocuSign

"We thank you very much for traveling to Oroville, and presenting such valuable and relevant material, in view of the recent fire emergencies and spillway failures. We will definitely apply the topics covered to be better prepared, helping our families, friends, and community in times of emergency. We look forward to your next presentation, and the opportunity to network with you." - Daniel Leon, KZ6VT, President, Oroville Amateur Radio Society w6af.com

"I really enjoyed the presentation you did on July 19 in Reno at the [NVCON] radio convention on the Paradise Fires. It's such good information that those in the security field would really benefit from hearing it." - Brian Foote, Marketing, ASIS International asisonline.org

"I want to express my thanks for the wonderful presentation last night. It was extremely informative, and well-received by all who attended. Thank you again." - Paul Keeton, President, Amador County Amateur Radio Club k6arc.org

"Just wanted to thank you again for your presentation to the Nevada County group on Monday. I found it to be very well presented, with some great points to think about." - Jan Woldseth, KB6FMZ, Nevada County Amateur Radio Club ncarc.org

"Thank you again for such a great presentation. The group was very engaged. I recommended your presentation to the Marin Amateur Radio Society." - Robert Klahn, AD6I, San Francisco Radio Club sfarc.org

"Great presentation!" - Michael Picco, K6MLE, El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club edcarc.net

"Your presentation was excellent!! I appreciated all the material that you had put together. You were very thorough and great at presenting your collected information." - Anne Soule, Amador Fire Safe Council amadorfiresafe.org

"I really enjoyed your Camp Fire talk, presented to the Western Placer Amateur Radio Club on Tuesday evening. The pictures, stories, video snippets, details, and stressing the need for fire safety on a scale that we are not prepared for today. It was thought provoking! Simply Awesome!" - Jey Yelland, KQ6DK, Western Placer Amateur Radio Club wparc.us

I don't charge a fee for these talks. This is my free, voluntary effort to help keep my family, friends, neighbors and community safer. El Dorado County Groups and attendees at local presentations have made donations to the El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club (EDCARC.net) to help support our volunteer efforts to implement Community Radio Safety programs in El Dorado County.

More distant Clubs and Groups have offered to help offset some of my out-of-pocket travel costs (gasoline), and to help with lodging for presentations at more distant locations (90 minutes or more drive time from Placerville). This is strictly voluntary and not expected.

If you would like more information about how to arrange a presentation for your Club or Group, please send an Email to .

About Alan Thompson:

Alan Thompson is a licensed Amateur Radio Operator, W6WN, who grew up and still lives in Placerville California. He's the Owner and Field Engineer for El Dorado Networks, and provides satellite Internet systems installations for businesses and governmental organizations including Facebook, Intelsat, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, the Department of Defense, Cal Fire, the U.S. Forestry Service, the Department of Health Services, and the Federal Aviation Administration. He is also a former member of Toastmasters International, and has led hundreds of presentations and workshops during his 35-year career in the satellite communications industry.

In 2018, Alan was part of a Disaster Recovery Team that installed several satellite Internet backup systems to help restore cell-phone service ten days after the 2018 Camp Fire rubbed out electronic communications in and around Paradise and Magalia. What Alan witnessed there, turned him into an "Accidental Advocate" for community fire and communications safety. Since January, 2019, Alan has been traveling throughout Northern California and Western Nevada meeting with Amateur Radio Clubs, Civic Groups, Homeowners' Associations and Fire Safe Councils in an effort to alert others to the dangers we now face from an over reliance on vulnerable cell-phone and Internet communications services in the event of disasters.
Welcome | VSAT Satellite Internet Systems | HughesNet Satellite Internet Systems |
Satellite Communications | About Alan Thompson | Contact Me
Alan Thompson, consultant and installer fixed and mobile VSAT satellite internet systems installation technician, HughesNet, Starband, DirecPC, iDirect, Infinity 3000 Series, Evolution, Shaw Direct, Video Teleconferencing, VoIP telephone communications, remote uplink, downlink Receive-only, TVRO, Mining and Minerals Exploration, Oil and Gas Exploration, Drilling Platforms, Emergency Response, Disaster Recovery, Forestry, Fire-fighting Camps, Dam, Road Construction, motosat mobile satellite, Satellite Radio, Voice Over IP, VOIP Telephone, Baja Satellite Internet Communications, Placerville, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County,Western United States (Northern and Southern California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Washington), Baja California Sur, Northern and Central Mexico and Baja California Sur (Monterrey, San Luis Potosi, Santa Rosalia, Guerrero Negro, Huatulco, Oaxaca, Cancun, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Merida, Chihuahua, Tijuana, Tecate, Sonora, Rosarito Beach, Tecate, Vizcaino, Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas,, Somerset), Central America (Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica) the Bajamas, Haiti, Guatamala, Ecuador, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Managua, Nicaragua, Santo Domingo, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Yucatan, Mexico City, Zacatecas, Matamoros, Xalapa, Aguascalientes, Saltillo, Guadalajara, Colima, Acapulco, Los Mochis, Mazatlan, Tepic, Hermosillo, Sonora Cuidad Obregon, Durango, Tampico, Veracruz, Campeche, Chetumal, Playa Del Carmen, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area.