Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES)
By Ted Davis KF8Z0
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. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization is eligible to apply for membership in ARES. Training may be required or desired to participate fully in ARES. Please inquire at the local level for specific information. Because ARES is an Amateur Radio program, only licensed radio amateurs are eligible for membership.
Amateur radio operators belonging to ARES have responded to local and regional disasters since the 1930s, including the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina. During the Katrina event more than one thousand ARES volunteers assisted in the aftermath and provided communications for the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and other individuals related to the relief effort. After Katrina, Hancock County Mississippi had lost all contact with the outside world, except through ARES operators who served as 911 dispatchers and message relayers.
ARES has deployed for a variety of other emergencies and disasters, including the 2003 North America blackout. The blackout covered a wide geographical area of North America. In the United States its scope included Cleveland, Detroit, and New York City. Landline telephones and cell phone systems were overloaded and Amateur's ability to operate off the grid was put to the test. On Long Island in New York many pieces of health and welfare traffic were passed on VHF and HF nets. Because some television and radio stations had gone off the air amateurs helped fill the lack of information. This was not the first time that amateur radio operators assisted during a blackout in New York City. On a warm evening of July 13, 1977 lightning caused a power outage across the city and most of its suburbs. Radio operators started communication nets on simplex and on a repeater located in the Chrysler building.
Licensed Amateurs can participate by contacting Adam Filkins KD8CCX at 810-837-0722 Or Ted Davis KF8ZO AT 810-672-9504. Those who would like to get licensed and participate in all emergency activities contact him also. A visit to the club website ( W8AX.com ) will answer some more questions. There is no better feeling than working for the good of your community.