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  • Brian Willey

KERN: Chronicle Entry Feb 2024

We see KERN operating in two ways:

1: During a significant emergency with:

  • Killabakh Base Station staffed 24/7 (or as near to that as possible); and

  • Killabakh Base coordinating the sharing of information

2: During minor emergencies

  • Killabakh Base Station may or may not be activated, and

  • Personal Stations communicating with each other to share information

Staffing of Killabakh Base Station

As you can imagine, when an  emergency is happening, people may be involved elsewhere and not be available to help when we need them.

We have yet to identify a cohort of community volunteers who will be prepared to help staff the Killabakh Base Station when needed. We hope this problem will be resolved as people become accustomed to how

KERN works and the development of KERN matures.

Several things need to happen in parallel from here on in. These are my personal views:

Getting everyone equipped:

We have over forty people who have said they wish to be part of KERN. Many already have radios, but some only have two-watt instead of five-watt models. We have already discovered that at least one property with 2-watt models cannot contact KERN BASE, so they need to upgrade and have indicated that they intend to do so. Other people are in the process of purchasing radios. As soon as we know everyone has a radio, we can focus more on training and practice.

Developing a KERN TREE

We have not started to work on a tree yet, but we need to. That will take a bit more work because it will mean all KERN PERSONAL STATIONS committing time and practice to see who they can contact other than the KERN BASE. I believe we will need to document this to know how many other stations each of our Personal Stations can contact.

Planning and discussions

I believe we should have a KERN meeting soon to discuss some of these issues. We will need all participants to be committed to helping make the idea of KERN a reality rather than just an idea.

Training and practice

  • Of the 40-plus registered people, only about one-third have taken the opportunity to call in on one of the Friday skeds to check their radio, practice their technique and prove that they can contact the KERN BASE.

  • We need to know how many of them can make direct contact with the KERN BASE and, if they cannot, who else in the KERN they can contact.

  • Please see my comments below regarding developing a KERN TREE.

  • Our priority (my view) for now will be to get all the other stations to start calling in, and this may mean that we offer a different day/time slot for these practice/training skeds to accommodate those who cannot be available between 17:30 to 18:30 (5.30 PM to 6.30 Pm) on a Friday afternoon.

  • This means we as a community (not just the brigade) will have to find people who want to be KERN BASE operators and can make themselves available to help staff KERN BASE when needed.

Recruitment and training of KERN BASE Operators

As mentioned above, we will need volunteers to step up and be KERN BASE operators. Just imagine if we have a two, three or four-day event. If we were to do eight-hour shifts during that period, that would mean three people to cover each day, and the longer the incident continues, the more operators we would need so that others could take a break and deal with their properties.

We cannot depend entirely (or at all?) on the RFS/Brigade volunteers because most of them will be involved in operating our two trucks and responding to callouts. As you can imagine, when an incident is protracted over several days (or weeks, as in 2019), everyone gets exhausted and needs a break.

One or two of the Brigade Members (such as me) are getting a bit too old and stiff to go out on the trucks, so we may become the core of those needed to be KERN BASE Operators.

Brian Willey

More information on the KERN page here >

To get involved contact Brian Willey

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