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‘Operation X’ a success

‘Operation X’ a success


by Donald DeRiggs 11.APR.08

“A perfect example of inter agency cooperation” was the way the Coordinator of “Operation X 2008” described the recently concluded training exercise staged on three islands last weekend (April 05 – 06), organized and directed by the Rainbow Radio League (RRL), in collaboration with several agencies/sponsors.{{more}}

The 2-day activity saw six Emcoms (emergency communications) Responders from neigbouring islands visiting the main emergency shelters on St. Vincent, setting up and operating wireless HF radio from selected shelters, while maintaining contact with EOC’s and other mobile stations in St. Lucia and Grenada which were conducting a similar exercise on those islands.

In order to stage the event, several agencies and sponsors played significant roles, culminating with an event that left participants in a state of readiness to respond to the communications needs of another country if the situation warrants such a response.

SVG AIR and ICE Air transported the participants to/from Grenada and St. Lucia. Sol Petroleum again sponsored fuel for the aircraft, with Independence Agencies from Grenada and St. Lucia Distillers paying for the fuel for the ICE Air, which transported the participants to/from St. Lucia.

The three DM (disaster management) agencies on each island (NEMO (SLU), NaDMA (Grenada) and NEMO (SVG), arranged for airport departure tax exemption for the local and visiting participants. While here in St. Vincent, NEMO also provided a main meal for the participants and the use of one of their vehicles for the 2-day exercise.

The visiting team included 3 St. Lucians and 3 Grenadians who worked together to achieve their stated objectives, which was to set up and efficiently operate a wireless radio station from the field. On Saturday, April 05, the team visited the main shelters on the Eastern side of the island, setting up and operating wireless radio from the new hard court in Fancy, as well as another designated emergency shelter above the Dry River. On every occasion, stations were operational in less than 15 minutes.

On Sunday, April 06, the responders were on the road before 8:00 am visiting shelters on the leeward side of the island. Tests were conducted from emergency shelters at Petit Bordel, Chateaubelair and Richmond. The visitors were also treated to a ‘whistle’ stop at Dark View Falls to get a quick view of this wonderful nature spot, as well as the ‘wobbly’ experience crossing the bamboo suspension bridge that makes for easy access to the falls.

Each year, Operation X designs a commemorative T-shirt for the event, which was again sponsored by the Cooperative Bank of Grenada. The Rainbow Radio League wishes to extend a special thanks to Headteacher of the Fancy Govt School, Elna Michael, (also a shelter manager) for catering for the visitors and ground support team on the first day, Leslyn Tucker and family for meals on the second day, with Abena White providing meals for operators stationed at the EOC on both days and dinner for the participants.

The six member team traveling for Op X included Albert Browne (J88CT), Justin Da Silva (J88DA) and Leslie Edwards (CB) who journeyed to St. Lucia and Calvert Gibson (J88DX), Ronald Haynes (J88EA) and Keston Webb (NEMO) who received their training in Grenada. The activity was coordinated by Donald De Riggs (J88CD), who is a Director and a founding member of the Rainbow Radio League.