Santa Clara County ARES®/RACES
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Hospital Net Program

Overview   |   Assignments   |   Operators   |   Activities   |   Support   |   For Hospitals   |   Coordinator

Overview

The hospital net is a Santa Clara County ARES/RACES net focused on providing communications for and between hospitals during times of need.  New operators are always welcome. Individuals interested in helping with communications at one or more hospitals should contact the hospital net coordinator (below).

 

Assignments

Hospitals

Each hospital operates its own Command Center, which manages the incident for that hospital using HICS (Hospital Incident Command System). The amateur radio operators assigned to a hospital provide communications support to the Hospital Command Center (HCC) and keep it connected to the other hospitals and to the county. The following operator assignments are available at each hospital, along with the credential type that is appropriate for the duties of that position:

Position Qty Preferred Credential*
Voice Operator 1 Field Operator Type III
Packet Operator 1 Packet Operator Type III

*Preferred Credential: Indicates the minimum resource type that is fully capable of independently completing all aspects of the assignment efficiently and effectively. When requesting resources, the hospital will request this type of credentialed operator. If that resource type is not available, the hospital will decide whether or not to accept a less capable operator.

 

Medical Health Joint Operations Center (MHJOC)

The Medical Health Joint Operations Center (MHJOC) functions as a Department Operations Center (DOC) for the hospitals and other medical facilities and functions within the county. Operators assigned to the MHJOC usually perform net control duty for the hospital voice net, send and receive the packet traffic to/from all hospitals, simultaneously operate on other county nets, and handle the highest traffic levels (several times the traffic that an individual hospital operator handles). The following operator assignments are available at the MHJOC, along with the credential type that is appropriate for the duties of that position:

Position Qty Preferred Credential*
Voice Net Control 1 Net Control Type II
Packet Operator 1 Packet Operator Type II
Shift Supervisor 1 Net Control Type II and Packet Operator Type II

*Preferred Credential: Indicates the minimum resource type that is fully capable of independently completing all aspects of the assignment efficiently and effectively. When requesting resources, the MHJOC will request this type of credentialed operator. If that resource type is not available, the MHJOC will decide whether or not to accept a less capable operator.

 

Operator Requirements

The management team at the hospitals and the MHJOC expect our hospital net operators to be qualified to perform their assignments. And the they know that our Credentialing Program provides the objective and standard measure of whether an operator is qualified or not. But they also understand that new operators need time to come up to speed. And those who are not already Mutual Aid Communicators will need time to transition to the new credentials.

New Operators

New operators interested in supporting hospital communications are always welcome. You don't need a medical background. You just need a desire to help with one of the most important communications assignments there is, and a commitment to become a credentialed operator. The expectation is as follows:

  • Within the first year, achieve at least Communicator Type IV credential
  • Within the next year, achieve at least Field Operator Type III credential
  • Then continue to work toward additional and higher credentials, depending on your preference, such as:
    • Packet Operator Type III (recommended) for packet operations at a hospital
    • Net Control Type II and/or Packet Operator Type II for operations at the MHJOC

Of course, many will be able to progress much faster than this. It all depends on how active the individual is. Until credentialed, new operators will typically be assigned to work with a credentialed operator.

To join the hospital net team, we recommend taking at least the following training courses:

Then:

  • Join the Hospital discussion group (see below)
  • Contact the Hospital Net Coordinator (see below). He/she will add you to the Hospitals "pseudo-city" in our activities database so you can access the packet installer that contains the hospital forms.

Transition Period for Existing Hospital Net Operators

Since 2016, SCCo ARES/RACES has maintained a set of minimum requirements for Hospital Net operators. Those who have followed those requirements will be about 95% of the way toward the above credentials and should be able to transition to a credentialed operator much more quickly and easily than a new operator. Those who have not maintained the minimum requirements for Hospital Net operators will have more work to do. The expectation for those who have adhered to the minimum requirements is:

  • Within approximately the first year, achieve at least Field Operator Type III and, ideally, Packet Operator Type III
    • This will identify you as qualified to operate at a hospital
  • Then continue to work toward additional and higher level credentials, such as:
    • Net Control Type II and/or Packet Operator Type II credentials for operating at the MHJOC

During the transition period, assignments based on credentials will gradually become the norm, while assignments based on historical attendance will gradually fade away. After the transition period, uncredentialed operators, if needed, will typically be assigned to assist credentialed operators.

Credentialing Program

See the Credentialing Program web page for complete information about the credentials mentioned above.

 

Activities

Monthly Hospital Net

A monthly net is held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 19:00 on the county Hospital Net frequency. Hospital net operators operate the net using the radio equipment at each hospital. Approximately once per quarter, we are able to have an operator at the MHJOC.

Annual Statewide Medical Health Exercise

A statewide medical health exercise is held annually, typically on the third Thursday of November. Typically, all hospitals and the MHJOC participate. Amateur radio is incorporated into the exercise, with the particular message types and content being dependent on the exercise scenario.

Consult the activities calendar for details about scheduled exercises.

Other Training and Exercises

Individual hospitals may conduct additional drills that may include amateur radio. Hospital net operators are also encouraged to attend other, non-hospital city and county drills and ARES/RACES training classes since the radio operating, message passing, and data network operating skills are directly transferable.

Consult the activities calendar for details about scheduled exercises.

 

Support

A discussion/e-mail group is available for SCCo ARES/RACES members interested in the hospital net.

To Join: Visit our Discussion Groups page to learn how to subscribe to our main Announce group. Once approved, you can subscribe to the Hospital group.

 

Information for Hospitals

The following information is provided for Hospital personnel in the Services section of the website.

 

Coordinator

See the county ARES/RACES staff page for the name and contact info of the current Hospital Net coordinator.

 


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This page was last updated on 05-Jan-2020