Who are ARES Members

The information presented in this site is extracted from FEMA and other authoritative websites and presented in condensed form with references to their sources.

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.

ARES Membership Requirements
Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization is eligible to apply for membership in ARES. Training may be required or desired to participate fully in ARES. Please inquire at the local level for specific information. Because ARES is an Amateur Radio program, only licensed radio amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.

How to Get Involved in ARES
Fill out the ARES Registration form and submit it to your local Emergency Coordinator.

ARES Documentation
ARES Documentation includes the ARES Manual [PDF] and the ARES Field Resources Manual [PDF]

Assignments and Deployment
ARES Training Requirements
Amateur Radio License
Amateur Radio Club It should be noted that, under CFR 47 Part 97, a licensed amateur radio operator may only send an emergency message ("immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property") as part of an emergency situation. Emergency Communicator (EmComm) Certification
Training courses, IS-100 and IS-200 are available as part of the FEMA Independent Study Program at training. fema.gov/EMIweb/IS/

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) has been developed to help emergency managers and responders from different jurisdictions work together more effectively during emergencies and disasters. The NIMS provides a set of standardized organizational structures, such as the Incident Command System, and standardized processes and procedures. More information about NIMS is available from the FEMA Web site. See “IS-700—National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction” found at training.fema.gov/ emiweb/IS/crslist.asp.

EC-001 ARES Field Resources Manual, 2008 page 21
The Incident Command System (ICS) is a management tool that has been adopted by professional emergency responders throughout the country. ICS provides a coordinated system of command, communications, organization and accountability in managing emergency events. Amateur Radio operators should be familiar with the system, as well as how they will interface with agencies employing ICS.

Integral to the ICS is the concept of Unified Command. There is only one boss, the Incident Commander, who is responsible for the overall operation. For any incident, a number of functions must be performed, ranging from planning and logistics to handling the press. The functional requirements of planning, logistics, operations and finance are always present despite the size of the incident. They may be handled by a single individual for a small incident or a “Command Staff” in a large incident. Another characteristic of ICS is “span of control.” In simple terms, any manager should only directly manage a small number of people. ICS uses the number of five for organizational purposes. The number five isn’t hard and fast, but it provides a useful organizational guideline.

How does the Amateur Radio volunteer fit into the Incident Command System? We are expected to be communicators, and within the ICS, this would place us in the Logistics Section in the Service Branch as part of the Communications Unit. The Communications Unit provides all communications services for the operation.

The Background of National Incident Management
After years of trial and evolution, the President of the United States mandated the organization of Emergency Management in the United States.

In 2003, Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5 (HSPD-5), President Bush called on the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a National Incident Management System (NIMS) to provide a consistent nationwide approach for federal, state, tribal and local governments to work together to prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size or complexity.

In establishing NIMS, FEMA created two parallel paths for participation in the U.S. National Incident Management System:

Federal, State and County government organizations, such as the Palm Beach County's - Division of Emergency Management, operate under the FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division under one of the ten FEMA NIMS Regional Management Coordinators. The Regional Coordinators fund and evaluate the performance of State and Local governmental Emergency Management organizations. Non-compliance of a governmental Emergency Management organizations means loss of funding.

Volunteer non-profit [501(c)3] organizations and Citizen Corps Partner Programs and Affiliate Programs, such as Red Cross . . . and CERTs operate under the FEMA Citizen Corps Program. Citizen Corps provides some guidance and direction, but no funding.

The two paths converge at the CERT.
In our case, the Government Agency Liaison is the Palm Beach County Division of Emergency Management.
The CERT Incident Commander is the leader of a CERT Citizen Corps
volunteer organization. [FEMA CERT Basic Training Participant Manual, Unit 1, Page1-34]

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: Implementing The Incident Command System
One of the most important 'best practices' that has been incorporated into the NIMS is the Incident Command System (ICS), a standard, on-scene, all-hazards incident management system already in use by firefighters, hazardous materials teams, rescuers and emergency medical teams. The evolution of ICS to its current state has been established by the NIMS as the standardized incident organizational structure for the management of all incidents. (FEMA NIMS ICS Position paper, 2006)

Ameteur Radio participation in the Palm Beach County - Division of Emergency Management ICS is spelled out in the Community Emergency Management Plan - 2011 (CEMP) as functional entities under Logistics Section, Support Branch, Communications Unit, Supporting Agencies (page 59); All-Hazards Exercise Plan (page 86). Ameteur Radio participation is also called out as part of its functional ties to the CERT Teams in the EOA Branch (page 53); as a Support Agency (page 54); Rapid Impact Assessment (page 112); and in the Public Information Unit, CERT Teams (PAGE 142).

Ameteur Radio participation in Citizen Corps CERT the ICS is called out in the FEMA Starting & Maintaining a CERT Program, How to organize CERT Teams, pages 17 through 19 and CERT Basic Training Participant Manual, Unit 6:CERT Organization, page 6-2 through 6-8.

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