Amateur Radio Emergency Service



Click to view: Web County ARES Plan


ARES is the "Amateur Radio Emergency Service." This is the national amateur radio emergency preparedness organization sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). This organization is completely different from RACES, although many goals are in common. In many cases, ARES will be used as a public service organization to assist with communications during non-emergency events such as parades, foot and bicycle races, and community events. Membership in the ARRL is not required for amateur radio operator to be an ARES member. In general, ARES is organized to serve the public, and RACES is organized to serve the government. It is desirable for RACES members to also be enrolled in the ARES program. The additional training received during ARES public service events can be of great value during times of emergency. In addition to this, there are times of emergency when ARES will be the first organization to activate for communications assistance. As an emergency escalates, the local Emergency Manager may call for a RACES activation. At this time, with radio operators already activated, the operation can smoothly go from an ARES operation to a RACES operation. It must be noted that when this happens, the RACES members are now under the supervision of the County RACES Radio Officer and the County Emergency Manager, and are no longer directly involved with the ARES operation. At this point, operations will usually move to the EOC if the radio operators are not already there. It is suggested that one operator on each shift remain with the ARES operation to act as liaison between RACES and the non-RACES stations which may be involved supporting other agencies or organizations. Whenever possible, RACES and ARES communications should be on different net frequencies. Cooperation between the ARES and RACES organizations is of high importance, and cannot be understated.