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.
All participants are required to have a valid Amateur Radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Membership in the ARRL®, The National Association for Amateur Radio®, isn't required and there are no registration fees or dues associated with ARES membership.
3 Levels Of Participation and Training
Level 1 — This is the entry level for ARES® participation. It is for those who are new to amateur radio, emergency communications, or don't wish to pursue leadership positions within the program. Introductory training is conducted by the local ARES® group to meet their needs and those of their served agency or partners. This training can be formal or informal, and would introduce the ARES® participant to the fundamentals of emergency communications and provide instruction on how participants are to conduct themselves while serving in the field or otherwise activated.
Level 2 — To qualify for this level, participants will have completed the following courses: ARRL’s® EC-001 Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (a no-cost program) and FEMA® IS-100, IS-200, IS 700, and IS-800. Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of training opportunities available through partners to enhance their knowledge and skill set.
Level 3 — This level prepares ARES® participants to take on leadership positions and other designated positions within the ARES® program. Participants are required to complete ARRL’s® EC-016, Emergency Communications for Management, when available along with FEMA® Professional Development Series of courses IS-120, IS-230, IS-240, IS-241, IS-242, IS-244, and IS-288. Participants also are encouraged to complete the FEMA® courses IS-300, and IS-400 should they be available locally.