Meriden ARC Web Site | Castle Craig Chapter 10-10

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Join The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)
What is 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. However, some level of basic training is required for many ARES events. Please see below for more specific information. Because ARES is an Amateur Radio program, only licensed radio amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is also desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.

How Much Time Do I Need To Commit?
The Good News is that we live in a very temperate climate where not much happens, and when it does it is merely an inconvenience. However, it is an error to be lulled into BLUE SKY complacency. We need to keep our knowledge, skills and equipment in "Ready To Go" condition.

After completing the initial training, you can figure on an average of 1 - 3 hours per month, depending on activities.

As an ARES TEAM member, "participation" is the name of the game.

Here is a list of activities where we expect to see you:
-The weekly Region 2 "Ready Net".
-3 (of the 4) monthly Region 2 ARES Training Sessions.(typically: Jan - April)
-The occasional short Region 2 "surprise/fun" Drill.
-3 (or more) Public Service Events supporting charity events (e.g. Runs, Rides, Walks) with your ARES TEAM each year.
-The annual CT ARES "Simulated Emergency Test" [SET] each Fall.
-The annual statewide CT DEMHS EPPI Drill with CT ARES.
-CT ARES activations for Real World Events

How do I Join?
Fill out a Connecticut ARES application by visiting
Click on NEW APPLICATION and fill out the application to the best of your knowledge.
If you have problems, just ask for help.

Now that you've joined, you need to be trained. In order to provide radio support in the event of an emergency—or even in a non-emergency situation—you need to have the proper training so you'll know how to communicate and coordinate efforts with others.

Following the attack on this country on 9/11 and the damage done by Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) realized that all responders have to be "on the same page" when it comes to working side by side. We have to understand the language and terminology of what is taking place if we're to have credibility when we're called upon to assist. With that in mind, they developed courses that teach any potential disaster responders (both volunteer and professional) the basics of emergency response. The courses they recommend have become known as the "CORE 4" training courses. Within ARES, to become compliant with Connecticut's Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS), any Amateur Radio Operator who may be deployed to a location to assist personnel in an Emergency Operations Center (EOC), a Public Service Answer Point (PSAP) where 911 calls are handled, or any other position where the amateur might interface with government or emergency personnel, is encouraged to take these courses. The courses are available on-line free of charge from The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and take from two to three hours each to complete. Following each course, the student takes an on-line, open-book test, and upon successful completion of the course, receives an email containing his or her certificate. All Connecticut ARES Team members are encouraged to become "CORE 4" certified. Unfortunately, those who aren't certified simply can't be called upon to assist (and isn't that the reason you joined ARES to begin with)?

FEMA suggests that the courses be taken in the following order:
IS-100.b - Introduction to Incident Command System, ICS-100 IS-100.b
IS-700.A - National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction IS-700.A
IS-200.B - ICS for Single Resourcesand Initial Action Incidents IS-200.B
IS-800.B - National Response Framework, An Introduction IS-800.B

You can find these independent online courses here:

When you finish your CORE 4 courses, please do the following:
1) Print and retain your certificates.
2) Using your email notifications from each course, make a PDF document of each certificate.
3) Send all four PDFs attached to a single email to your Region's District Emergency Coordinator (DEC), Douglas WA1SFH.
4) Log back into the CT ARES database and add each completed course to your training record ( ARES leadership personnel check these training records and determine which of their members have taken the CORE 4 courses and which have gone beyond the minimum training. Those members with additional training can take up more important roles at the disaster scene.

FEMA offers a multitude of courses for those who want to learn more about disaster response. A full catalog of courses can be found on their courses page.

Beyond the FEMA courses, the following courses are also recommended, especially if you're interested in becoming part of the ARES Leadership Team:

• EmComm Level 1 (EC-001)
• Public Service and Emergency Management for Radio Amateurs (EC-016)

National Weather Service:
• Basic Skywarn Spotter

American Red Cross (ARC):
• First Aid
• CPR with AED
• Introduction to Disaster Services

Learn more about the ARRL Emergency Communications Training course

If you’re a member of the ARRL ARES program…
In addition to training, you need to be equipped with sustaining skills. What if when you get to a location, there is no food and the sleeping conditions are undesirable? Before you leave on your assignment, you need to make sure you have coping skills that enable you to be able to do your job operating under the conditions you are assigned to—from hardship conditions to making sure you’re able to work the equipment.

You need to prepare your family for your absence. When you leave home and head for a disaster area, your family has to be both physically and mentally able to cope. After a disaster, when a volunteer comes home, he or she can be confronted by some mental health issues, for which there are several resources. Many volunteers experience everything from fatigue or exhaustion to depression.

You need to find ways to volunteer. You would first want to become a member of your local ARES or local emergency management organization. Then try the American Red Cross or Web sites like must go through all of the training that your volunteers will take, with the addition of specialized training—volunteer management, recruitment and planning. This specialized training helps set you apart from the volunteers and helps you better lead your team.

You must talk with other field leadership. Getting best practices from other leaders can be very helpful to you. Whether it’s advice about how to encourage teamwork among your volunteers or it’s learning how to best delegate tasks, other field leaders can be one of your best resources.

You must be responsible for all equipment and all of your personnel. As the field leader, you are in charge of making sure there are enough supplies to meet the known and expected needs. You’re also responsible for making sure the appropriate equipment makes it to the event. It would be up to you and the mission you have to decide if you need a mobile response unit for your event.

“What should I bring with me?”
It depends!

At the very least, you’ll be asked to just show up. Or, the situation may call for you to bring your hand-held and some batteries as part of your Go Kit. In a disaster situation, where you may be asked to be at a shelter for several days, you might need to bring any and all equipment necessary to put together a base station. There might also be a time when you’re called into the field where you need to help establish communication and there’s no infrastructure—you’d need to have all of the appropriate equipment. What equipment you need to bring to a specific event could come from a variety of sources, from your field leader to the served organization’s team or a government official.

There may be times when, in addition to your own personal Go Kit, you may need a longer-term Deployment Kit, and/or a mobile response unit. The mobile response units can be anything from a trailer or van to a fully-functioning mobile headquarters—complete with all the technical equipment you might need, including televisions, radios, towers and antennas.

Where Will Volunteers be Needed?
Public Service Events:
-Walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons, parades, festivals and community events.
-Time commitment is typically defined in advance.
-Equipment is minimal; often you will only be asked to bring a hand-held radio.
-Responsibilities may include supporting the communications needs of the community agency such as crowd control efforts, first aid stations, parking, etc.
Localized Disaster:
-Flooding, tornados, or any substantial weather event, where it might not disrupt major areas of communications, but there is still a need for communications to be set up
-Search, rescue, and traffic needs during the local disaster.
-Time commitment is less than a major disaster
-Typically the volunteer would be part of an organization. The organization would have a pre-planned list of expectations and roles.
Major Disaster:
-Wide-spread weather events, such as hurricane, tornados, snow storms, earthquakes.
-A longer time commitment--several weeks to a few months.
-Volunteers need to prepare their families for their absences.
-In addition to personal Go Kits, volunteers may also need to bring their long-term Deployment Kits.

Working with government organizations
A local ARES group may sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a local government agency or the MOU may be between an ARRL section to the state government. This document, signed by both you and the government organization, clearly and specifically lays out the framework of your working relationship with one another. An MOU is not required of a local ARES group to complete their mission.

An agreement with a local government organization doesn’t have to be a formal affair. Rather, it is an agreement between the volunteers and the government organization about what type of work is needed.

All levels of government may need to work with you and your organization on their response to an emergency situation. In this case, state government leaders may want to work with the ARRL field leadership to determine the role and mission of the volunteers within an emergency plan. Local ARES groups work with local governments. Section ARES groups work with state or county governments. ARRL works with the federal government.

Working with non-government organizations
There are many non-government affiliated organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and faith-based organizations. For a list of organizations, visit NVOAD.

A local ARES group may sign a Memorandum of Understanding with a non- government agency. This document, signed by both you and the non-government agency, clearly and specifically lays out the framework of your working relationship with one another. An MOU is not required of a local ARES group to complete their mission.

Many non-government organizations are group that have communication needs that may be met by ham volunteers. Often these needs will mean that volunteers have to bring in communication tools where none exist.

In an ideal situation, agreements between an emergency communications organizations volunteer and non-government organizations are made as part of the readiness plans. But the majority of the time, the need is created and asked for right in the heat of an emergency situation.

It is important to remember that when ham volunteers are working with these non-government organizations, the volunteers need to meet the requirements of the organization they’re serving. But they also have to remember to be flexible—the job they were sent to do might not be what’s needed by the time they get there, so come with your best cooperative attitude. Local ARES groups work with local non-government agencies. Section ARES groups work with state non-government agencies. ARRL works with national non-government agencies.

Working With Connecticut ARES
Here you will find information about membership, the ARES® organization, as well as the latest announcements and news. You will also be able to read our publications and reports. Learn about the agencies we serve and join The Amateur Radio Emergency Service in CT.

CT ARES works with FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and provides emergency communications services for agencies such as The American Red Cross, Salvation Army as well as the State Offices of Emergency Management. Many of our volunteers work in their local communities to help with emergency planning and communications assistance in time of need.

We are not first responders.

In a crisis, our first priority is to provide needed communications to the State Office of Emergency Management. This is usually done through their main HQ in Hartford and the five regional emergency operations centers. We go where they need us. The next priority is providing communications for the Red Cross chapters within Connecticut.

Connecticut has been divided into 5 Regions by the State OEM. Each of these 5 Regions has a District Emergency Coordinator (DEC) appointed to oversee operations there. Other special DEC’s have been appointed for working specifically with the Red Cross, National Traffic System, Special Operations, and National Weather Service/Skywarn.

Emergency Coordinators are appointed by the District Emergency Coordinator to work in specific towns or localities. All appointments are subject to the approval of the Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) and the Section Manager (SM who is the elected head of the Field Organization of the American Radio Relay League.)

How Do We Work Together?
Usually we’ll first hear about a situation just like everyone else – on the news. If not, a call will be placed to the SEC or a DEC from the State OEM or Red Cross asking for aid. Information about what is needed, where and when is gathered. This information is passed on to ARES leaders using whatever communications means are available, most often phone or via linked VHF repeaters.

Local radio nets are established in each district on planned frequencies and one or more nets are set up for overall state coordination. This will include the use of HF, UHF/VHF and packet modes. The SEC coordinates all movements of volunteers and equipment through the state. The DECs will set up marshalling sites in the affected areas, make their needs known, and log in all teams coming into the area to give aid.

Unfortunately, given the current requirements of emergency aid and the possibility that it could also be a crime scene, people who just show up without going through and being properly assigned and documented at the marshaling areas will probably be turned away. We need you to be a part of this team, but we also need everyone to complete the necessary training to participate in ARES deployments. Government regulations require these served agencies to have trained volunteers. If we want to help them, we must cooperate and become properly trained to work with them.

ARES volunteers can expect to be assigned to Emergency Operations Centers, shelters, mobile units working on tactical and logistical problems, hospitals and clinics, triage areas, and provide communications for critical agencies who do not have compatible radios of their own. You may be in an office or out in a parking lot. Our strength is our ability to set up most anywhere we are asked to help.

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