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Yakima County ARES/RACES
We work closely with the Yakima County Office of Emergency Management, participating in all drills and exercises of that office. Our abilities include all VHF/UHF bands (FM only)up through 440 Mhz, including Packet, to HF to Amateur Television, and have used all of these modes on many occasions. On a normal mission, the group is tasked with staffing either the RCC (Search and Rescue office) or EOC (Emergency Operation Center) or both as well as the MCP (Mobile Command Post) with Amateur Radio Operators.
Yakima County is Geographically not radio friendly, we have mountain ranges from 7,000 feet elevation to most of the towns and cities at around 1200 feet as well as a 12,300 foot Volcano to deal with, and provide communications around. We do fortunately have a very reliable repeater community, which includes the WA7SAR system, privately owned repeaters, and those owned by local clubs which will cover approximately 90 percent of the county.
A portion of Yakima County lies within the 50 mile ingestion zone of the Hanford Nuclear Facility, many of the drills and exercises of the Office of Emergency Management involve this site. These exercises are graded by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) including our ability to communicate. Other hazards include Dam failure (Yakima County has 9+ dams and portions of the county lie immediately downstream from both Priest Rapids and Wanupum Dams on the Columbia River) Hazardous materials spills, Forest fires, Floods (please see December 1996 QST, public service column) and other severe weather problems.
This is a brief description of our group and its role here in Yakima, for more information, or to register with our local organization, please contact Jo WhitneyKA7LJQ. Thank you for your interest in ARES/RACES.