HDSCS New Member Information

The following information and instructions are excerpted from one of the many handouts for new members of HDSCS.  The new-member data package includes a the HDSCS member manual plus information on repeaters and simplex frequencies, hospital antenna locations, equipment preparedness, the HEAR/ReddiNet systems that we back up, personal preparedness, maps, rosters, hospital expectations of hams, dealing with stress, and much more.  This material is kept updated and is available for download by members from a secure section of the HDSCS Web site.

1. HDSCS is a specialty group of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®). When you join HDSCS, you also automatically become a member of ARES.  Your identification card has logos for HDSCS and ARES.  Each member is expected to prepare to provide communications support for any of our hospitals if the need arises.

2. HDSCS has no dues and does not receive money from any agency.  Newsletter copying and mailing is provided by our supported hospitals.  Pagers for Coordinators have been provided by St. Jude Medical Center and Western Medical Center of Santa Ana.

3. HDSCS has one Coordinator (EC) and several Assistant Coordinators (AECs).  April Moell WA6OPS is the Emergency Coordinator.  Assistant Emergency Coordinators at this time are Paul Broden K6MHD, Tom Gaccione WB2LRH, Jim McLaughlin AB6UF, Joe Moell KØOV and Ken Simpson W6KOS.  There is also an Antenna Team that is responsible for the upkeep and testing of Amateur Radio antennas on our supported hospitals.

Termite contest winner 4. HDSCS meetings are held about six times a year.  Each February or March, an all-day seminar on HDSCS and its procedures is provided in a Saturday workshop. This meeting is especially important for people who have been in the group less than a year or have never attended this special orientation, but all members are encouraged to attend for review and updates.  Other meetings feature educational and informational programs to enhance our knowledge base for supporting hospitals in emergency situations. Meeting sites are rotated among hospitals to acquaint us with the facilities and their locations.  To allow for varying schedules of members and to accommodate room availability, meetings are scheduled on different days of the week.

5. Participants in HDSCS must fill out an application form and agree to a basic background check, which may be required for access to some facilities.  A credit check is not required.

6. Thers is a point system to monitor member activity in HDSCS.  To maintain active status, each individual must accumulate at least five points per year.  Members not demonstrating a minimum level of participation are not valuable to the group.  If they have not kept themselves informed, they will not know procedures that are currently being used and will not have the experience necessary to support our emergency activities.  Members will be notified if their status is in question and will be offered the opportunity to indicate their continued interest in the group.  Points are given for such activities as attendance at meetings, Net Control for the weekly HDSCS net, checking into the net, participating in drills, responding to actual activations, and assisting with special projects such as installing antennas at hospitals.

7. Hospital group members are expected to participate in the weekly net, which meets on the K6QEH repeater, 146.97(-) PL 136.5 and is usually linked to other HDSCS repeaters on the 223 and 445 MHz bands.  The net convenes each Tuesday at 1930 hours local. Occasionally the net moves to alternate HDSCS frequencies.  The net is for learning of procedures, equipment checks, updating rosters, and disseminating information on HDSCS activities.  Each member will be assigned to serve as Net Control Station (NCS) about once every 18 months.  Please review net procedures in your manual and read through the protocol sheet before your turn as NCS.

8. E-mail is an important HDSCS communications tool for distributing updates, planning drill participation, and so forth. HDSCS has a members-only electronic mailing list.  You may choose to receive HDSCS e-mail at home, or work, or both.  Please check your e-mail frequently for HDSCS information.  Updated member information is also provided in a secure section of this Web site.

9. HDSCS membership does not give us special privileges in hospitals or on our designated frequencies, except during drills or emergencies.  If you would like a tour of one of the hospitals, please contact an EC or AEC first.  If you want to use a HDSCS-supporting repeater for a non-HDSCS special event, please contact the repeater owner or control operator in advance.  If you need the name and phone number of the owner of one of the repeaters, call an EC or AEC.

10. If you are contacted directly by a hospital regarding upcoming drill activities or special events, tell them that you will contact the HDSCS Coordinator, and do so immediately.  All HDSCS support of hospitals must be done as part of an overall coordinated effort.

CPR class 11. Whenever you represent HDSCS at a hospital for any reason, please wear your HDSCS badge or another Amateur Radio callsign badge as well as your blue vest if apppropriate.  This will assist identification. Also have your HDSCS ID card with you.  Check to make sure that it has not expired.

12. HDSCS is not an "open" organization. Do not involve non-HDSCS hams in drills or activations without approval from a Coordinator.  If you wish to bring a guest to an HDSCS meeting, please advise WA6OPS first, to insure that seating is available.

13. If you are the first to become aware of an emergency and you are unable to quickly contact a Coordinator by radio or telephone, immediately page all of the Coordinators.  Pager numbers are listed on your HDSCS roster.  Dial the number, listen for the beeps, then punch in your telephone number or radio frequency on the pushbutton dial.  (Use * for decimal point.)  Then press the # button and hang up.  If there is no response in 15 to 20 minutes, try again.

14. HDSCS members that are Core Team responders should advise a Coordinator before responding to serve with another Amateur Radio emergency group when there is an area-wide disaster or multi-agency activation.  If you are not a Core Team responder and are freed from your primary emergency group following an activation, please alert a Coordinator or net control of your availability to HDSCS.

15. HDSCS needs new members.  You are urged to identify good prospects from the Orange County hams you meet and to recommend these people to WA6OPS or one of the Assistant Coordinators.  The hams you recommend should be operators you would feel comfortable working and communicating with in an emergency situation.  The Coordinators will then contact the prospective member.

In the Photos: HDSCS exists to provide emergency communications for medical facilities.  But we don't have an "all work and no play" philosophy.  Every year, we take part in ARRL Field Day.  In August, we keep the ham bands active with our Termite Contest operating activity, with prizes for the winners (top photo).  For personal preparedness, HDSCS conducts CPR and First Aid classes (bottom photo), taught by two members who are certified instructors.

Copyright © Joseph and April Moell.  All rights reserved.  Republication without permission is prohibited.

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This page updated 12 January 2015