What would you do if a natural disaster struck your area? What if the power was out for an extended time, or nothing came out when you turned on your faucet? Would you and your family be able to survive? Without TV, radio, or internet, how would you know what was going on around you?
Many people don’t think about preparedness beyond the flashlight or candle stashed in a drawer. While many country or rural folks tend to ‘prep’ as a regular part of life, many residents of urban areas often assume that the police and first responders will save them. Those who have experienced an earthquake, flood, tornado, or another disaster, however, know that preparing is a worthy pursuit that can save lives. One nationwide exercise happening August 11-13, 2017 can not only test your preparedness but help you get on track to be ready for anything.
T-REX, as it’s called, is a “nationwide scenario-based disaster preparedness exercise where we simulate that a catastrophic event has caused disruptions and/or failures in conventional services,” according to the website. Sponsored and put on by the American Redoubt Radio Operators Network (AmRRON) and The American Preparedness Radio Network (TAPRN), T-REX allows people from all over the country to find out how prepared they are, practice disaster plans, and experience what a disaster can do to disrupt their lives.
Each year, T-REX simulates a type of disaster and subsequent outages or societal fallout that might occur, such as power outage, lack of water, and basic services. Anyone in the country can participate and are encouraged to do so. It’s a fantastic opportunity to experience a national disaster in a controlled and safe environment before you’re caught unaware in a real one. If you think you’re ready for a disaster and want to test your skills – or if you know you’re not prepared and want to fix that – T-REX 2017 might be your answer.
This year, T-REX is simulating a major seismic event: two massive earthquakes, in different parts of the country, three hours apart. The website explains the scenario:
At Noon Pacific time (1900hrs Zulu) the first, 9.1 earthquake strikes off the Pacific coast, followed by a devastating tsunami. This is known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Scientists claim we are overdue for a major event on the CSZ and that it is only a matter of when, not if. Power, internet, and telecommunications are lost to the western United States.
At 1700hrs – 5pm – (2200hrs Zulu) the second, 9.2 earthquake strikes in the New Madrid Subduction Zone in eastern Missouri. Power, internet, and telecommunications are lost to the remainder of the United States and two thirds of Canada.
If the entire country were to lose power, the internet, and telecommunications, then you’d have no idea what’s going on in the world; how bad or widespread the disaster is, or when things will return to normal. Participating in T-REX involves simulating that part as well.
Depending on where you are located, turn your cell phone, internet, electricity, etc. off at the time the earthquake occurs (west of Mississippi River = Noon Pacific -or- east of the Mississippi = 5pm Central) aka. 1900Z and 2200z respectively. Most of us have freezers, etc. that we can’t turn off. That’s fine, just don’t use lights, internet, or traditional cooking appliances. Get that dutch oven out, the Coleman lantern, and those two-way radios.
If the idea of being un-tethered from your laptop and smartphone terrifies or angers you, then you need to be a part of T-REX. If you would argue that you simply CANNOT disconnect for an entire weekend, then you should consider how a real disaster would affect your life. It’s far better to prepare now than to fail later when it’s a life-or-death situation.
If everyone in the exercise has their phones and laptops off, however, how does the exercise go on? How do people communicate? The answer is amateur radio. All across the country, there’s a network of ham radio operators in homes and businesses who practice sending and receiving emergency information in case of a scenario just like this. Being able to listen to amateur radio operators means you’ll be able to stay informed about everything going on across the country – and T-REX is a major nationwide exercise to allow that network to test their abilities and allow new folks to see how the network handles the crisis, or start participating themselves.
If all of this sounds like fun, great. If it sounds like a really big inconvenience, then you’re the kind of person who needs to participate. If you’re still not convinced, check out the promotional video from last year’s T-REX event.