Spring is Officially Here?

dreamstime_xl_86642419At least that is what the calendar says! The first official day of Spring was March 20th. Here in Northern California, where spring storms bring a return to winter-like conditions, that is definitely being called into question. It’s supposed to rain on us for the next several days and our California pals to the East are still shoveling ALOT of snow (see the pictures below). Once again, the unpredictable weather brings having a battery operated radio with the weather band and considering one with weather alert to the forefront.

Flooding and mudslides are wreaking havoc not only here in the states (California has been hit hard), but even internationally. Peru was recently hit with huge flooding and mudslides that have left thousands homeless. There a severe weather alerts issued across the Midwest and the South for tornadoes and harsh weather. We think mother nature missed the memo about Spring, but C. Crane has not missed Mother Nature’s memo on why we should be prepared.

We’ve heard from many customers about how their radio alerted them to potential weather threats so they could plan accordingly. If you don’t have a plan make one. If you don’t have a radio, now’s the time to get one – don’t miss the memo! Make sure you’re ready for whatever Spring throws at you.

Amateur radio gives you the best news in a true emergency

A true emergency is something like what happened recently in Oroville and Sacramento Valley area – where an emergency spillway that has never been used in the previous 48 years begins to fail. This failure threatened the lives and livelihood of over 150,000 people and resulted in forced evacuation. Everyone thinks, if they have a cell phone they’ll be fine, but what we’ve seen time and again is that cell phones are an unreliable service under these circumstances. The lines are often jammed with “all circuits busy” messages. In some cases, towers are down due to flooding or power failures or a combination there-of. HAM radio coordinators really come to the rescue in these situations.

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Oroville Spillway Damage Feb 2017 – Photo Courtesy N.Brooks, Placerville CA (c) 2017

This particular emergency hit closer to home than usual – one of our employee’s brother and his family had to evacuate. It took them over 4 hours to travel what normally would be a 45-minute drive. Many of our close friends and loved ones have experienced loss due to flooding. One of our other employee’s daughter, who lives close to Oroville, California has HAM Radio to thank for keeping her family and friends safe and informed. “So happy the mandatory evacuations are over, and glad we live high enough that we never had to evacuate. I’ve never been one to watch news much, but I think I’ve watched more news in the last 48 hours than I have in the last five years! I’ve also never quite understood my husband’s love of amateur radio, but after listening to the Yuba-Sutter Amateur Emergency Coordinator, Steve Sweetman, I have a whole new respect for amateur radio, and I felt like I got my best news from the radio! Thanks!”

Steve Swteetman is the Amateur radio emergency coordinator for Yuba and Sutter counties. They volunteer their time and use their own equipment. Below is a summary report from Steve on the communications that were handled during the evacuations.

“On February 12, Yuba/Sutter ARES EC Steve Sweetman, K6TAZ, opened and managed a net to provide information and gather reports of road closures or problems during the Oroville Dam Incident evacuation. The net received reports from radio amateurs who were evacuating. Traffic was reported to be very heavy, with a trip that would normally take 20 minutes extending into “3-hour stop-and-go ordeal.” The net also gathered information on where evacuees could get fuel for their vehicles, where evacuation centers were being set up and road closures. “This became a critical need, as the thousands of people evacuated their houses with 1-hour notice. K6taz was operating from his house on a high hill outside Yuba City, He is was safe from flooding and housed 17 evacuees staying on his property.” The net ran on and off from Sunday 4pm until Wednesday 8pm. Total operating time was 48 hours and 322 contacts were made. He had reports that the information he was relaying was more informative than the radio or television. Steve was also monitoring the press conferences and would give updated reports. He was in constant communication with the Governor’s office of emergency services in Sacramento.”

 73’s
Steve Sweetman
K6TAZ

 EC ( Emergency Coordinator)
Yuba/Sutter  ARES

ARES Website
SKYWARN Weather spotter YU-19
AF/MARS Member AFA9SS
ARRL Official Emergency Station

Bob Crane, founder of C. Crane has always been a huge proponent of HAM radio because it is so valuable in these situations. Several C. Crane employees have their license as well.

In a day and age where what people have said is impossible is now happening, it seems prudent to invest in something reliable. Whether you choose to go as far as getting a license and investing in amateur radio equipment so you can communicate both directions, or you purchase a reliable radio like our CCRadio-2E that allows you to listen to the 2-Meter HAM band, you will never regret being prepared and having access to the best and most up to date information when you need it.

Below are some additional resources on the Oroville spillway:
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article133932379.html
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Releasing-water-at-Oroville-Dam-a-lingering-10941922.php

If you would like to get your license, please visit ARRL (American Radio Relay League). Not sure exactly what Amateur (HAM) Radio is or what you might here? – visit one of our previous blog posts to learn about it.

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The Importance of Radio When the Weather Turns

fortunaflooding

Fortuna Blvd. Flooding February 6th 2015

As we were all sitting around at lunch chatting, listening to the scanners go off and occasionally tuning into the weather channel on a radio, we realized again how important radio is. Facebook is great for seeing the pictures, but the scanner told us ahead of time which roads to avoid today because they were closed due to flooding, accidents, downed power lines and more. The local radio has been great about keeping people updated as well. And when push comes to shove, it’s consistently local radio that is there to help organize relief efforts. There is no question that the internet can be a powerful vehicle for community support, action and fundraising but when everything is down the one thing that continues to work is radio. We’d love to sell you a radio, especially one with the weather band, but even if you don’t buy one from us, make sure you have a radio and batteries. If you have an emergency radio, especially one with rechargeable batteries, make sure you charge it up at least every 6 months to keep everything in proper working order. If you have one that only works with alkaline batteries, be sure to change those batteries at least once per year. Also necessary are LED flashlights. We’ve written quite a few blog posts about preparedness but with all the recent storms, snow, flooding and don’t forget fires and earthquakes – we’re continually reminded to make this a priority.

Here’s our lovely town today

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153617999356982

http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/feb/6/chaos-roadways-slippery-friday-morning-roundup/

Nearby in Ferndale where some of our employees live

ferndalflodded