The Amateur Radio Emergency Service, which has developed since 1935, is a part of the AmateurRadio Relay League (ARRL) Field Organization.
Part 97 of the FCC’s RULES and REGULATION, which covers the Amateur Radio Service ,states under “Basis and Purpose” in 97.1 (a) that: “Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary non-commercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.”
Amateurs have been involved with Public-service communications, emergency communications, since 1913. In the early days the involvement was unprepared and without any coordination. As stated in the PUBLIC SERVICE COMMUNICATIONS MANUAL, published by the ARRL, “As time progressed, the need for and value of organization became evident, resulting in the establishment of organized trunk lines and net systems; later the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the National Traffic System (NTS) were formed to complete the organization.”
Today, “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 the 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”.
Policy Regarding Mandatory NIMS/ICS Training
Our operations must comply with the National Incident Management System (NIMS). We operate under the Incident Command System (ICS) when activated.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now requires all volunteers, including Amateur Radio operators to be certificated in at least IS 100,IS 200, IS 700 and IS 800 course material. For non-governmental employees and others without access to classroom instruction, these courses are available as on-line independent-study courses that are free of charge.
THOSE AMATEUR OPERATORS WHO MAY BE DEPLOYED TO EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTERS (EOCs), COMMAND POSTS, PUBLIC SAFETY ANSWER POINTS (911 CENTERS) OR OTHER POINTS WHERE INTERFACE WITH EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AT ANY LEVEL IS EXPECTED, ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE IS 100, IS 200, IS 700, and IS 800.
Several Amateur Radio operators have voiced public complaints regarding having to take this training. This document serves to make clear the policy of NC Section ARES®/RACES. No one is compelled to take these courses. However, any previously registered ARES/RACES volunteers who have not completed the required training will be listed in our internal records as “non-certified” and will not be deployed to any site during any activation or drill. Any operators who “self-deploy” and are not on the registered lists as “certified” will not participate in activities where certification is required (all activities). ARES/RACES operators who complete the requirements at any time will be re-listed as “certified” in our internal records.
This is not intended to be an affront to any individuals or groups. It is, however, intended to bring our overall organization into compliance with DHS requirements.
- Two events have changed the training world: 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
- During recovery efforts for these two events, We learned that the various agencies and volunteer organizations did not work well together. This training was developed to remedy this situation.
- The agencies we service require this training.
- Required by North Carolina Governor’s Proclamation.
- It’s easy. It takes less than 1/2 a day.
- Federally mandated way for federal, state, and local groups, and also for volunteer groups to communicate with each other.
- It gives us credibility. First, we know how to talk to the government officials. Second, the fact that we have been trained and know the language gives us credibility when we enter a site.
- Emergency entities that receive federal money to pay for equipment must be ICS compliant.
As of July 1, 2010, everyone in North Carolina at the EC level and up must be ICS compliant.
- All North Carolina ARES Appointees and Officials at the EC level or above.
- Any ARES member participating in exercises or real emergencies with any of the served organizations.
North Carolina Emergency Management Training Courses
These courses are mandated by the State of North Carolina. They are developed by the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA).
- IS-100b Introduction to Incident Command System
- IS-200b Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
- IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS)
- IS-800.b National Response Plan
(If you have already had an 800 course, you do not have to take it again)
Some EOCs require additional courses. For example, Pitt and Orange counties require IS-300 and IS-400. All Emergency Coordinators must contact the local Emergency Management department and other agencies served to determine what additional training is needed for their respective county or counties.
For now if we are certified, it’s lifetime.
How to Get the Training
These courses are internet-based self-study. They are available free of charge from the FEMA web site.
Record Keeping and Registration
An invitation will be sent to each NC ARES/RACES appointee with the URL for the database and a unique password allowing access to the database. Registration is simple. It requires your contact information and your ARRL appointment. It features an easy upload mechanism to upload pdf files for each of your course certificates as received from FEMA.
For more information about Ashe County ARES contact: