Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)

Colorado ARES Region 5 District 2  Pueblo & Huerfano Counties

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible for membership in the ARES. The only qualification, other than possession of an Amateur Radio license, is a sincere desire to serve. Because ARES is an amateur service, only amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.
-From the Public Service Communications Manual

Section Emergency Coordinator Regional Emergency Coordinator R5D2 Emergency Coordinator PWARC Liason
Robert Wareham N0ESQ Amanda Alden K1DDN Mike Conder WB0WKO Randy Linnen KE0GMS

Amateur radio is not just a hobby, it is a service. The licenses we hold are a privilege granted to us by the FCC. These licenses carry some responsibilities, including the responsibility we have for providing emergency communications in the event of a disaster. All of the training we do, from participating in a formal traffic net to setting up a Field Day or special event station, makes us better communicators. Field events, local Ragchews, and monthly meetings improve the camaraderie we enjoy as Hams.

Our expertise in communications, whatever the type of communication is needed, is our contribution to public service. In times of national or local emergencies, the communications effort and expertise of Amateur Radio has been challenged, and our efforts and expertise have allowed Amateur Radio to meet the challenge.

When Disaster Strikes...

In a significant emergency, local professional first responders establish an Incident Command Post at or near the scene of the emergency to manage the response. All of our local government agencies use the Incident Command System (ICS). The on-line FEMA ICS-100 and ICS-200 training courses describe the basics of ICS. Both courses are required training for ARES responders.

An ARES Emergency Coordinator may request deployment of ARES members to the Incident Command Post or to another site of the emergency to support the disaster response. This is done at the request of the Incident Commander or based on prior agreements. ARES members are NOT first responders and are strongly discouraged from self-deploying to an incident, as an influx of unneeded volunteers complicates the disaster response and hinders the professional responders who could otherwise be protecting life and property.

After learning of an emergency, monitor the ARES resource net repeater on 146.790 MHz. Emergency Coordinators will use the frequency to provide updates and direct an ARES response.

Should you be called upon to support an emergency response, you must follow the ICS procedures for volunteer responders.

First verify that you and your family are safe and secure. You cannot effectively respond if you are distracted.

Travel to the deployment site safely. Make sure that your vehicle is safe to drive and has sufficient endurance to reach the incident site and return from the site. It must have valid registration, inspection, and insurance documents.

Emergency sites often present unusual hazards such as road debris that can damage tires, high water areas, and downed power lines. Displaced people can also appear in unexpected places or may be disoriented or injured. Proceed slowly and cautiously, always protecting yourself and others.

Take your identification and follow any procedures specified by the Emergency Coordinator.

Volunteers must check-in at the Incident Command Post or designated area immediately upon arrival. The Incident Commander or his disignated representative may log check-ins, but it is more likely they will delegate the function to other staff. ARES communicators are assigned to the Logistics Section, under the Communications Unit Leader in the ICS structure.

Following check-in, you should expect to receive a safety briefing and an incident response briefing. Other instructions pertinent to your function will be given if your support was requested by the Incident Commander.

When deploying equipment, make sure to follow safe procedures for erecting antennas, grounding generators, managing electricity, storing fuel, and providing appropriate safety notices. Make sure that any person(s) or equipment in your area will be safe from harm.

You will be required to keep a Unit or Individual log of your activities while deployed. The ICS Form 214 (Activity Log) should be used and maintained continuously throughout the operational period.

You will also be required to keep a log and copies of all messages related to the incident. The ICS Form 309 is usually used for this purpose.

It is increasingly common that communication of ICS Form 213 will be required. You will need additional training and equipment to correctly handle them.

When your work shift is complete, checkout with the Incident Commander or the delegated staff. Make sure you leave the logs and documentation with the

incident command staff. Governments are intent on preserving all documentation. One of its many uses is to document the expenses incurred for reimbursement by State and Federal Governments. Local responding organizations may receive reimbursements for the time and expense associated with necessary volunteer activities.

When being relieved by another ARES Communicator, you will conduct a shift change briefing with your relief, to ensure that you cover everything that occurred during your shift, as well as any requirement for the next operational period.

Leave the area promptly. Incident Command staff are already stressed. They won't tolerate volunteers that are hanging around without a purpose.

Current emergency management doctrine places ARES communicators in the role of the backup to the backup to the primary communications means. In almost every deployment, the professional responders are accommodating ARES involvement because their primary communications means are adequate. But many realize that we have been badly needed in the past and that we will be needed again in the future. We need the knowledge, skills, and mindset to perform our volunteer functions on their terms. So that when they do need us, we will be there.

National Incident Management System

Emergency Management Institute (EMI Website) offers on-line courses that meet the requirements specified in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). EMI has developed these courses collaboratively with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), the United States Fire Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Below are the NIMS compliant courses that follow NIMS guidelines:

IS-100.a (ICS 100) Introduction to Incident Command System *

IS-200.a (ICS 200) ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents *

IS-201 - Forms Used for the Development of the Incident Action Plan

IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction *

IS-775 - EOC Management and Operations

IS-800.b National Response Framework, An Introduction *

IS-802 - Emergency Support Functions (ESF) #2 - Communications

* This course is REQUIRED for participation with Public Service Agencies during disaster responses.