On Thursday, March 9, Darren Dixon completed IS-200: Basic Incident Command System For Initial Response.
On Thursday, March 7, John Horgas completed IS-800: National Response Framework, An Introduction.
On Friday, March 3, John Horgas completed IS-700: An Introduction to the National Incident Management System.
On Monday, February 27, John Horgas completed IS-200: Basic Incident Command System For Initial Response.
On Friday, February 23, John Horgas completed IS-100: Introduction to Incident Command System.
On Monday, February 13, Chris Deck completed IS-100: Introduction to Incident Command System.
On Saturday, February 11, 2023, the cleanup of the attic space directly above the PARA EmComm station was completed by Joe Petrulionis, Darren Dixon, and Bob Snyder. This space can now be used to house small, indoor antennas and feed lines that will connect to larger, roof-mounted base-station antennas. It can also be used to store bulky equipment such as spare antennas and rack-mount cabinets.
The ceiling damage shown in the photo resulted from an attic fire that occurred in the late 1980’s.
On Saturday, February 11, 2023, Chad McKissick donated a 75-foot length of Times Microwave LMR-400 Ultraflex cable for use in constructing the PARA EmComm station. We anticipate using the cable to connect one of our primary base-station antennas to a radio inside the EmComm station.
On Saturday, February 11, 2023, Frank Harchak (W3IWJ) of Altoona and his sister, Susan Harchak of Philipsburg, became new PARA members. You may already be acquainted with Frank or Susan, as they have many connections with Philipsburg and the Moshannon Valley community.
Carmine Prestia gave a presentation on emergency communications to an audience of fifteen attendees at the February 2023 PARA meeting. A complete audio recording of the meeting and Carmine’s presentation can be found in the Members Area of this website under the “Meeting Minutes” topic heading.
On Friday, February 10, 2023, C.J. and Becky Metsopulos cleaned the windows and then sanded and varnished the window frames in the PARA EmComm station. Meanwhile, John Horgas and Bob Snyder did some work in the attic space above the radio room.
On Thursday, February 9, 2023, John Szwarc of the Clearfield County Amateur Radio Club (CCARC) and PARA members Bob Snyder, Johna McCormick, and Ryan Williams participated in a simulated emergency test that was conducted at the Clearfield County 911 Center. Also participating were the Clearfield County commissioners and representatives of numerous agencies including PennDOT, DCNR, Forestry, and the Red Cross.
On Wednesday, February 2, 2023, Darren Dixon completed IS-100: Introduction to Incident Command System.
On Wednesday, February 2, Chris Deck put a fresh coat of paint on the walls of the radio room at the American Legion. Meanwhile, Bob Snyder cleaned additional areas of the attic space in order to facilitate the eventual installation of antennas and feed lines. Ryan Williams moved some heavy objects into a crawl space, freeing up more room in the main attic space.
Chris, Bob, and Ryan discussed plans for moving the video system and internet router to alternate locations in order to reduce the amount of cables and equipment in the radio room.
On Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023, the PARA EmComm coordinators (Bob Snyder, Darren Dixon, and Scott Rummings) met to discuss EmComm team recruitment and training.
The following decisions were reached:
- We need to proceed at a steady, deliberate pace as we build our station and our team. We don’t want anybody to get burned out, and we need to exhibit skill and confidence when we begin to interact with served agencies.
- In order to become a PARA EmComm station operator, a member must first complete FEMA courses IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, and IS-800 to ensure that they are familiar with FEMA’s Incident Command System (ICS). Details can be found on the PARA EmComm Team web page.
- Every PARA EmComm station operator must be licensed for both Amateur and GMRS bands.
- All members who wish to serve as PARA EmComm station operators will be required to also serve as net control operators for the PARA weekly VHF and GMRS nets, and they should conduct those nets from the PARA EmComm station whenever possible. This will allow the members to gain experience in managing communication with many people at once while also exercising the station’s equipment.
Joe Petrulionis recently completed FEMA course IS-66: Preparing the Nation for Space Weather Events.
This is the eleventh FEMA course that Joe has completed. Congratulations Joe!
On January 23, a group of PARA members met at the Philipsburg American Legion to clean the second-floor office and the attic space above it in preparation for the EmComm station build.
We inspected and boxed up hundreds of historical artifacts dating back to the 1920’s that had been stored in the attic. We also swept up many decades of accumulated dust and debris. In hindsight, it was apparent that we should have invited a film crew from This Old House, or perhaps Dirty Jobs!
At a future work session we will need to give the office a fresh coat of paint and clean up the remaining portion of the attic space to facilitate the installation of feed lines and antennas.
On Monday, January 16, Darren Dixon, John Horgas, and Bob Snyder replaced about a dozen damaged ceiling tiles and several batts of fiberglass insulation at the Rattlesnake repeater site.
Many of the original tiles and insulation along the north wall had been repeatedly saturated over a period of years due to a roof leak. In 2022, Centre County installed a new roof and this has completely eliminated the leaks.
The new tiles will help to give the building a new lease on life.
On January 14, 2023, PARA officers signed a lease agreement with American Legion Post #437 in Philipsburg. The lease provides PARA with free, exclusive use of a second-floor office to be used as an emergency communications (EmComm) radio station.
PARA had previously received $1000 of initial funding to purchase radio equipment for the station which is expected to become operational in the summer of 2023.
The members of PARA are very grateful to the American Legion for this generous offer, and we look forward to a mutually-beneficial relationship as both organizations endeavor to meet needs within the community.
On November 23, 2022, PARA was classified as a charitable organization under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3). This means that donors can deduct contributions made to PARA and that PARA is qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, transfers, or gifts.
501(c)(3) status can help PARA to achieve its community service objectives in several ways.
PARA can now apply for grant funding from organizations that require 501(c)(3) status. The $1000 grant awarded to PARA by Philipsburg Borough on November 2, 2022 was contingent upon our 501(c)(3) status.
PARA can now request valuable services from businesses who can deduct the fair market value of those services. For example, Microsoft Corporation offers free software and web hosting to 501(c)(3) organizations.
Local individuals and businesses who donate money or equipment to PARA can write off the value of those contributions.