Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM
Present: Deborah Barmack, Carole Beswick, Bill Blankenship, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Kevin Dyerly, Dr. Sam Gibbs, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Lowell King, Steve Lambert, Mike Layne, Bill Lemann, Michael Lewin, Darcy McNaboe, Miguel Mendoza, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Robert Nava, Brian Nestande, Cat Pritchett, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, LaShe Rodriguez, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Eric Ustation, Pete Van Helden, and Michael Wells.
Guests: Kevin Gillespie.
Announcements: 1) Inland Action has received membership resignation from HeathNet, One Legacy, and University Realty. 2)The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District will host a community workshop about the Sunrise Ranch Master Plan on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the San Bernardino Valley Administration Office, 380 E. Vanderbilt Way, San Bernardino.
Kevin Dyerly, Chair presiding.
Motion by L. King/Second/Passed: Minutes from September 26, 2023
Paul Shimoff introduced Chief Jim Bueermann (Ret.) who has served in the public safety/policing arena for more than 45 years. In January 2019 he founded the Future Policing Institute, a California- based think tank focused on advancing policing in the future. He also serves as a consultant to the US Department of Justice. He has done extensive lecturing on a wide breadth of policing issues across the U.S. and internationally. Jim joined us in person to discuss the public’s use of General Mobile Radio System (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS) in emergency situations.
In emergency situations, people utilize traditional media, social media, cell phones and website notifications to inform themselves with critical information. We are a smartphone-centric society and rely heavily on our phones to provide us with communications and information via text, email and the Internet. In significant events like fires, earthquakes or even large public events, cellular systems can be overloaded, leaving users unable to make phone calls or text. A community-based radio system like GMRS or FRS that is inexpensive and easy-to-use is a practical alternative.
GMRS is an FCC-governed, FM UHF radio system intended for use by citizens in emergencies and various types of activities (e.g., communicating while hiking, working community events, etc.). It uses a fixed, channel-based framework (as opposed to a frequency-based system used by amateur/HAM radio). Unlike most citizen band (CB) radios, GMRS radios use FM UHF frequencies for clearer transmissions and have much greater range. GMRS radios are also “repeater-capable” which means their range can be extended to 30-100 miles or more through the use of radio repeaters (stationary radios that receive a radio signal and retransmit it to dramatically increase the range of transmissions). The Family Radio Service (FRS) is a private, two-way, short-distance voice and data communications service for facilitating family and group activities. The most common use for FRS channels is short-distance, two-way voice communications using small hand-held radios that are similar to walkie-talkies. The general public can use these devices without having to obtain a license and channel sharing is achieved through a listen-before-talk etiquette.
In an emergency situation, sheltering in place or evacuation may be necessary and without functioning cell phones and possible loss of internet service many will be isolated. The GMRS and FRS radios are a way for people to be more aware, and self-sufficient, during emergencies. Both work as two-way radios, are inexpensive, and easy to use.
San Bernardino County is surrounded by large and numerous earthquake faults and the likelihood of a 6.7 or greater magnitude quake is extremely high. Additionally, the County has experienced many devastating wildfires. The ability to effectively communicate during a disaster, and understand of its rapidly evolving dynamics, is critical to surviving a catastrophic event. The ability to communicate among ourselves or with emergency responders may be the difference between surviving the disaster or not.
The City of Redlands has an emergency broadcast system where city officials can conduct large scale communications through VoIP (voice over internet protocol), cell phones, and e-mail. Additionally, the Redlands Emergency Alert System (EAS) uses both AM and FM radio stations to provide information to the public. The city now has a tentative GMRS Emergency Plan that will augment the existing system using FRS/GMRS channel 19/Redlands repeater.
In an effort to cover all of residents of our large and diverse County, GMRS radio “repeaters” could be installed at current mountaintop governmental radio sites to increase the range of the radios throughout the region. This would provide people with an enhanced level of self-sufficiency during potentially life-threatening disasters. To that end, Jim has spoken to County Supervisor Rowe who expressed interest and support.
Using the GMRS or FRS two-way radio system residents can contact their families and potentially assist other residents. Community resilience, self-help and recovery are crucial and will advance public safety and emergency preparedness easily at minimal cost.
Q & A period followed
Meeting adjourned 8:30 a.m.