The organization of Emergency Management Services in the United States has been mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5) in 1983. This directive brought about the Nationsl Incident Management System (NIMS).
Under NIMS, FEMA created the Individual and Community Preparedness Division to organize government funded Emergency Management organizations such as the Palm Beach County - Division of Emergency Management, under ten regional Management Coordinators.
Under NIMS, Volunteer non-profit [501(c)3] organizations are organized under the FEMA Citizen Corps - Partner and Affiliate Programs. These include such organizations as the Red Cross and CERTs. The Citizen Corps Program provides some guidance and direction, but no funding.
These two programs converge where the volunteer programs can interface to provide information and/or services to the governmental "common operating environment", or be directly tasked by the government Emergency Management organization to provide some form of suport on the grass-roots level to the civillian population.
Two Opportunities The two paths of emergency operation, govenrment affiliated Emergency Management organizations and Citizen Corps volunteer programs, have created two opportunities for ARES to participate in local Emergency Communication.
Palm Beach District ARES (PBDARES) had an MOU with Palm Beach Cuuty Public Safety Department - Division of Emergency Management. This MOU was not workable for a variety of reasons. Senior PBDARES officers are considering a new MOU.
But there has not been, to the best of my knowledge, an effort to harness and coordinate the Emergency Communicators in the local Citizen Corps - Partner and Affiliate volunteer Programs.
In June of 2003 a Statement of Affiliation was signed between the FEMA Citizen Corps and the American Radio Relay League. In this document FEMA and the ARRL "agree to work collaboratively to:
- Raise public awareness about the use of Amateur Radio as a public safety resource;
- Provide training and acccreditation for Amateur Radio Emergency Communications;
- Promote the formation of local Citizen Corps Councils and assist these Councils with provideng public education, training and volunteer service opportunities that support first responders, disaster relief organizations, and community safety efforts;
- Publicly acknowledge the affiliation of Citizen Corps and the ARRL, which may include website links, co-logos on publcations, and reference in printed materials, including articles and news releases;
- Coordinate their respective activities to further their shared mission; and
- Keep each other informed of activities conducted in support of Citizen Corps and to provide an annual report summarizing those activities.