The Radio Amateurs' Emergency Network

Eastbourne and Wealden RAYNET

Current Operational Status
No Current Incidents

Next Scheduled Event
Thu 05 Apr 2018
DMR Inaugural Open Meeting -Hailsham Fire Station - Commencing at 19:30hrs
Operation Snow 1
The following is a summary of the Emergency Operation over the weekend of the 9th & 10th January 2010 supporting the Eastbourne District General Hospital.

The Eastbourne & Wealden RAYNET Group had received Emergency Call Out from the Eastbourne and Hastings Hospital Trust via South Sussex Controller Phill Hills G7JRV.

The call was received at 12:03 hours on Saturday 9 January 2010 and Phill informed me that Ian Taylor Emergency Planning Officer, East Sussex Hospitals was requesting RAYNET to provide a radio operator at the Eastbourne District General Hospital (EDGH) and as many 4 Wheel Drive Vehicles as possible to attend the EDGH at 15:00 hours to assist in collecting staff from home and taking staff going off duty home. A similar request was made of the Hastings and Rother Group for the Conquest Hospital.

A Group callout was initiated , 17 members responded and it was ascertained that the Group could provide a control station, sub control station at EDGH and four 4WD vehicles, and two additional operators.

Heavy snow falls had occurred overnight on Friday 8 January and it continued to snow all day Saturday. Many of the Groupís members were also snowed in and unable to leave home to assist but remained on standby and monitored the groupís working channel.

At 15:00 hours approximately Dick G4KAR, Alan G6SDP, Steve G8NFZ, Daryl M6DRL, James G8AJP, Phil 2E0RAJ and Jack M3YNF assembled at the EDGH. Bob G0BUX acted as the Control Station from his home QTH at Mayfield and Pat G8TNH as Secondary Control at her home QTH at Hailsham. The TTU located at Butts Brow was activated remotely, this is a very interesting point as it would have been completely impossible to reach Butts Brow at 500ft ASL in the WX conditions and the remote operation of the site was crucial to the effective running of this operation.

The control station was quickly established and was on air at 13:10 hours and kept members informed as the Hospitalís requirements became clearer. The sub control at the EDGH was established at 15:29 hours.

Staff requiring transport to or from work rang two dedicated lines in the Major Emergency area manned by volunteer nursing staff and managed by the Clinical Matron. During the period between 13:10 hours and 23:12 hours over 260 messages were passed, in excess of 75 people transported with the assistance of RAYNET, including a patient with broken ankle transported home to an exposed location on the coast which meant a detour of some miles get there and back. A patienceís wife was transported to Hurstwood Park Hospital some 40 miles away to be re-united with her husband who had been transferred earlier in the day, radio communications were maintained for most of the journey.

It was agreed that we commence operations at 06:00 hours on Sunday 10th January list of staff and their addresses were handed out to operators before we dispersed on Saturday night. Bob G0BUX Main Control was on air before 06:00 shadowed by Pat G8TNH at Secondary Control and sub control at EDGH was on air at 06:20. Over the next 17 hours RAYNET assisted a further 80 staff members in and home from work and passed a further 300 plus messages in support of operations. RAYNET memberís vehicles travelled in excess of 844 miles in treacherous weather and road conditions over the weekend without mishap.

Other organisations with four 4 WD vehicles assisting were HM Coastguards from Eastbourne and Bexhill, individual volunteer 4 WD owners and one SE Land Rover Group member, RAYNET provided radio operators for the 2 the volunteer SELR Member.

It is emphasised that the ability to activate the Talk Through Unit remotely enable the main control station to be sited 30 miles away backed up by a secondary control 10 miles from the main scene of operations. The TTU was pivotal to the success of the operation.

Operations ceased at 21:00 hours and the group stood down the final station returned home at 22:08 hours having left home initially at 05:30 hours.

319 Operator hours (plus stations standing by)
844 miles covered transporting staff
155 members of staff transported
1 X Patient's Wife transported
1 X Patient transported home.

Dick Jeffries G4KAR
Public Information