Sunday, June 30, 2013

The work don't stop!

Wow, what a busy two weeks.  And it is not going to slow down much these final three weeks.  But there is that light at the end of the tunnel!!  So, to recap, two weeks ago we started with another leadership course.  This one was called the True Growth course.  They ended up repeating a lot of the same stuff we heard from the other leadership courses.  But after that was done, a subset of us had two days of technical training on the GATR - Ground to Air Transmit and Receiver.  The GATR is an inflatable satellite dish.  Unlike most rigid dishes that are 500 lbs plus units often requiring a truck, this one packs down into five Pelican cases with a total weight of about 300 lbs.

Luckily, the American Red Cross trained me very well in satellite communications so I was one of the more knowledgeable ones there doing the training.  Over the course of two days, we set the dishes up about 10 times each.  Our final exam was a race between our three teams (Blue, Red, and Region 9) to see who could go from the packed cases to completing a phone call to the instructor over the satellite system.  This involved setting up the ground location, inflating the dish, doing precision aiming (remember, satellites are in geosynchronous orbit 22,236 miles away from the earth - a slight movement on the ground can land you miles off in space!), acquire the signal, work with the satellite company to activate the service, setup the phone system, and complete the call.  And in 42 minutes, the Blue team lead by me won!  The other teams took 56 minutes and 82 minutes to finish theirs.

Last weekend was spent setting up our new computers, iPhones, and iPads.  I taught the same course six times.  It went well, but it took up my entire weekend.  Hence, no post last weekend.

This past week we have been in our IM II class for our Level II Certification.  I was afraid it would be more program stuff like in IM III but this was a 5 day long simulation.  We worked a major disaster from all angles - earthquakes, bombings, fires, landmines, missing kids, kidnapping, and bioterrorists attacks.  Oh, and if that was not enough, let's add a hurricane on top of it all!  They were 5 long, exhausting days but it was fun to get to do lots of work on a big event.

Today we get more satellite training and prep for tomorrow which is the final IM II Certification test.  We got a small brief this morning.  Our Level II qualification test is Hurricane Ivan from 2004.  Why make something up when they can use the real thing!  Our team has a ringer though.  Our team leader not only worked the real Ivan, but also has done it twice more in other qualification exercises.  So this is Ivan #4 for him.  Should help us out!

And with that, we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  A short week this week with the 4th of July, then a week of IM I classes, and then our final week is the IM I Certification test.  July 19 at 3 we are done!!

One final note - we have been officially renamed to be the IMAT East instead of IMAT Blue - the current team's name.

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