On 10th August 2019, members of HAMNET Gauteng South, Ground Search and Rescue, and the Off Road Rescue Unit (ORRU) met at the training facility of SA Emergency Care in Modderfontein to hold a workshop on Disaster Management. Unfortunately representatives from local Disaster Management and the Aeronautical Search and Rescue Coordination Centre were unable to attend.
The workshop kicked off at 09h00 and Leon ZS6LMG, Deputy Director of HAMNET Gauteng South, discussed various topics relating to disaster management, and in particular sharing some of the activities and experiences that HAMNET have been involved with during disasters.
Topics that were covered were amongst others, the differences between an emergency, a crisis or incident and a disaster, and the role of agencies other than Fire and Rescue, and EMS.
The objectives of disaster management were also discussed as well as what an exit strategy is, that is, when and how one withdraws and stops providing services.
Contingency and disaster plans were also discussed, including the elements of a good plan and the layout. Plans also need to be dynamic and there is no one plan that fits all scenarios.
The various resources were discussed, namely Metro, public and private line functions as well as NGOs and local informal resources, the deployment of personnel, when and where, and support for the personnel deployed, such as food, water and accommodation. Personnel are often exposed to horrific scenes, so stress monitoring and counselling were also discussed.
Logistics were discussed, around equipment, the line functions and maintenance of the resources utilised, and making sure that there is no duplication of resources.
The flow of information and communications between the supporting agencies, the JOC or VOC as well as the media, were also discussed. The type of information that needs to be communicated and stored was also discussed. Here the role of HAMNET was highlighted, as well as some of the capabilities that exist within HAMNET.
The control structure was discussed and who is in charge, as well as mandates, agreements, memorandums of understanding, standard operating procedures and the activation processes.
Disaster relief is expensive and so finances were also discussed, covering items such as budgets for various scenarios, with costs that need to be approved ahead of time, as there is no time for negotiations during a disaster.
Lastly, some of the role functions in disaster management were discussed.
HAMNET had on display a working QO-100 satellite station and the role and capability of this system and what it means for disaster management was described. The HAMNET Incident Control System Software was also demonstrated to show the functionality of the system and how it can be used effectively to manage resources and incidents.
The very informative morning was closed off with a delicious prego roll supplied by the Fireman’s Tavern.
In a second report, Brian ZS6YZ says that, on Wednesday 20th August 2019, HAMNET Gauteng, represented by Glynn Chamberlain ZS6GLN, Leon Lessing ZS6LMG and Brian Jacobs ZS6YZ, attended the quarterly Gauteng Provincial Disaster Management NGO’s Forum meeting, held in Midrand at the offices of the GPDM.
The meeting was chaired by Dr Elias Sithole, the Head of the Provincial Disaster Management Centre.
The various NGOs that were represented were given an opportunity to do a presentation about their organisations, who they are and what they do, as well as examples of events and incidents in which they have been involved.
The presentation on HAMNET that Leon ZS6LMG presented was very well received, and role players who have experience as first responders reiterated the importance of communications, and noted that they have experienced existing communications infrastructure failing during a disaster situation.
The meeting was very productive and Dr Sithole from Gauteng Provincial Disaster Management requested all the role players to come forward with ideas and projects, to start working together to ensure that in the event of a disaster, everyone knows what needs to be done, and all systems are fully operational. Dr Sithole also made it clear that Incident Command System (ICS) training was compulsory for everyone to ensure that they understood how the disaster management structures operate. A provincial disaster management exercise is being planned for the middle of next year to check the state of readiness of all the role players in disaster management in the province.
Thanks to Brian Jacobs ZS6YZ for these informative reports.
Now, here’s a good news story about a Russian aircraft that had to make an emergency landing last week. eTurboNews reports that Airbus A321 departed from Zhukovsky Airport outside Moscow to Simferopol, Crimea early on Thursday the 15th of August. During take-off, the jet, with 233 people aboard, ran into a flock of gulls, causing engine malfunction.
The pilots had to perform an emergency landing, successfully putting the jetliner down on its belly in a cornfield near the airport. When the aircraft was back on the ground, the crew professionally executed their duties, organizing a swift and safe evacuation of the passengers. Nobody died on the plane as a result of the miraculous landing – 76 people were given medical attention, but only one required hospitalization.
The pilots who carried out the successful emergency landing in the cornfield, saving the lives of all the passengers, have been awarded with Russia’s highest state honour – the ‘Hero of Russia’ title. The rest of the crew received “Orders of Courage”.
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to decorate the pilots and flight attendants from Russia’s Ural Airlines on Friday. Putin praised the level of training in the company and expressed hope that such emergency situations will occur as rarely as possible in the future.
Those given the Hero of Russia titles are Captain Damir Yusupov, 41, and co-pilot Georgy Murzin, 23.
In passing, note that nowhere in this report does it say that the pilots jettisoned their fuel before performing the emergency landing, so the landing was probably all the more daring!
This is Dave Reece ZS1DFR reporting for HAMNET in South Africa.