HDSCS Supports Childrens Hospital
When Trunk Lines Are Severed

During construction along Main Street in the city of Orange, workers accidentally severed several underground fiber optic cables on the afternoon of 17 August 2006. This caused failure of most of the trunk lines for Childrens Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), a half-mile away. The break also affected external tie lines that connected the hospital to nearby units and clinics.

Broken water main hinders repair of cut phone cablesApril Moell was notified of the outage and the "internal disaster" that had been declared by CHOC's Director of Safety and Security. April dispatched eleven HDSCS members to the hospital to cover critical areas such as the Command Post, switchboard (PBX), Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU) and medical/surgical units.

Early reports indicated that it would take the phone company about six hours to repair the fiber optics, but Murphy's Law was in effect. While working on the cables that evening, construction equipment broke into a water main, flooding the ditch and delaying fiber repairs for most of the night (photo at right). There were further delays when some telecom circuit cards failed during reinstallation the next morning.

In rotating shifts of four to ten hours each, our HDSCS support continued. We used three Amateur Radio repeaters and two UHF simplex frequencies to handle logistics as well as internal and external medical communications. Examples included alerting San Bernardino County hospitals of the need to use Amateur Radio to contact CHOC for patient transfers, relaying the nurse's report on a patient being transferred, and contacting a physician for patient medication instructions.

After 22-1/2 hours, all voice phones and most data/FAX lines had been restored and our operators were released.

These 20 hams responded to CHOC (in alphabetical order):

     Paul Broden K6MHD
     Bruce Chappell KE6TSM
     Louie DeArman K6SM
     Galel Fajardo KB6MOH
     Reid Green KF6LOK
     Jack Hafner KO6IC
     Tom Hall N6DGK
     Fred Lochner WA6FRA
     Jim McLaughlin AB6UF
     Joe Moell KØOV
     David Mofford W7KTS
     Heiko Peschel AD6OI
     Dale Petes KI6ANS
     Ray Rittenhouse KF6WZN
     Ken Simpson W6KOS
     Jon Schaffer W6UFS
     Clay Stearns KE6TZR
     Fred Wagner KQ6Q
     Dave West KI6EPI
     Woody Woodward KJ6LE

Providing base station and landline telephone support from their homes were:

     April Moell WA6OPS
     Joe Moell KØOV
     Jim McLaughlin AB6UF
     Susan Hafner KD6YMH

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This page updated 5 February 2009