The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is a part of the Amateur Radio Relay League's (ARRL) extensive volunteer field organization dedicated to public service. ARES is comprised of amateur radio operators who volunteer to provide a resource of trained operators for primary or secondary communications links for governmental agencies and non-profit organizations. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in the ARRL or any other organization, is eligible for membership in ARES.
If you are interested in joining, contact Rick Myers, County ARES Emergency Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or come to one of the ARES meetings. They are held the 2nd Saturday of the month, 30 minutes after the club meeting, at the Bonne Terre Fire Station. You can also check into the ARES net held every Monday evening at 7:30 pm on the Farmington repeater.
The ARRL has updated the functions and training of ARES members to better meet the needs of the community that is being served.
The newest information and requirements can be found in the ARES Strategic Plan. It is 14 pages long. The requirements now listed are to fulfill the needs of meeting NIMS and being a deployable resource. While the requirements may appear daunting, they are not difficult to meet.
Attached is the Interoperability Plan for our ARES region. It lists the assigned frequencies to be used in an emergency to talk with other coming into our county. Utilization of these frequencies would not require those coming in to not have to have all of the local repeaters programmed in, and likewise, we wouldn't need to have the other repeaters in our radios.
It is also recommended that we have the listen side of our repeater programmed in as a simplex channel, so we can still talk simplex if and when the repeater is down. We can and should practice at least monthly with using only simplex to see how far we can actually talk on various radios and antennas. This might give us a chance to fine tune a response from one end of the county to the other, by relaying messages.
Attached are some information that may be of use in an emergency. WARNING: they are large files. The NIFOG is 100+ pages.
In an effort to standardize training and knowledge across all aspects of ARES, and across all of the responders, the ARRL has designed a Task Book for all responders. The Task Book follows the same format as FEMA uses for it's responders.
The Task Book can be downloaded here. It is in a PDF fillable format.