Phone outage prompts Missouri ARES response (Jul 25, 2003) -- Amateur Radio Emergency Service members in several Missouri communities responded the evening of July 16 when a lightning strike took out telephone service in the City of Trenton. Grundy County ARES Emergency Coordinator Glen Briggs, KB0RPJ, says hams in Trenton, Chillicothe, Gallatin and Brookfield made themselves available in the wake of the outage. Lacking a formal a plan to deal with such an occurrence, Briggs said the ARES team fell back on plans developed prior to Y2K with St Lukes Health System in Kansas City, which manages Wright Memorial Hospital in Trenton. "This plan called for operators to go to the hospital and check in with the charge nurse and find out what types of communications were needed," Briggs explained. Although 911 and cellular service remained up for the most part, the hospital was unable to contact one physician. "ARES members stood by to make sure they were able to contact him and if needed operators were ready to drive to his house and get him," Briggs said, although the hospital--which also had a working radio system--did eventually succeed. Hams also checked on local nursing homes to see if they had any communication assistance. City of Trenton firefighter Brad Johnson, KB0YAS, reported in to provide a liaison with city agencies. Throughout the night, Briggs checked with the hospital and nursing homes as other hams remained at the ready. After a long nap the next day when telephones were back in service, Briggs followed up with city and hospital officials. "The city administrator was delighted in our response, and we talked for nearly a half an hour on how to handle such future events," he said, calling the session "perhaps our most productive to date." He said the hospital also thanked the hams for their prompt response, and the director of nursing said she would remind hospital staff to expect Amateur Radio operators to deploy to the hospital in future such occurrences. "I think the event proved to be more a 'working test' than something major," Briggs reflected. "It helped us isolate and fix any problems." In all, some 10 ARES members participated in the exercise.