As outlined on the Amateur Radio Relay League, ARRL website, 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.
Joining the Williamson County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, (WC-ARES), located in Williamson County, Texas, is outlined below.
- 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. Because ARES is an Amateur Radio program, only licensed radio amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable but is not a requirement for membership.
- The second requirement is a desire to serve.
In order to become a full member of WC-ARES, the following steps must be completed:
- Register Online – Complete the New Member Registration Form.
- Complete Training – All members are expected to complete the following:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) IS-100.c, IS-200.c, IS-700.b and IS-800.c courses, which are available online for free. More detail is available here.
- Criminal Justice Information Security (CJIS) Information Security Awareness Training (required annually). That training is available here. Once course material has been reviewed, this form should be filled out and returned with badge application.
- Submit Badge Application – Once training is completed, submit a badge application form with requisite photo and evidence of training.
- Join groups.io (email distribution list) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and Slack channel (real-time communications channel) by sending a request to email@example.com.
- Purchase WC-ARES Uniform items. Required and recommended apparel is available here.
In lieu of the ARRL paper registration form, we have an on-line form that collects the same info but also allows you to return and enter/track your training. This also allows the ARES leadership at the county, district, or section level to generate reports based on training, equipment, or rosters. You are also encouraged to update/check your contact info periodically. Addresses, call signs, license class, phone numbers, cell phone carriers, email address, etc. change. It’s much easier for each member to verify their own info that asking a volunteer to do this for hundreds of members. Each member is expected to verify your own data before Field Day or one of our Simulated Exercise Training, SET, or Public Service Events.
- To register as a new member, follow this link New Member Registration Form.
- Complete the form making sure to complete the asterisked mandatory fields.
Once you have completed and submitted your registration form a WC-ARES officer will send you a login and password to the South Texas Section Amateur Radio Emergency Service member database.
Each member should update their own information 1-2 times a year even if nothing has changed. Why, because one of the reports the ARES leadership pulls quite often is how dated is this information is. If your records are 2-3-4 years old the data could be wrong and not trusted. So check it and use the Update button on the bottom of the form. It is suggested you do this before every Field Day and Public Service Event you participate in.
WC-ARES is dedicated to training its members the skills needed to assist in Emergency Communications during the time of disasters. To participate in WC-ARES activations that are several three levels of training that will determine your level of participation during any activation.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now requires all volunteers, including amateur radio operators, to have completed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) IS-100.c, IS-200.c, IS-700.b and IS-800.c course material.
- WC-ARES members will be expected to understand and operate under National Incident Management System (NIMS) during activation.
- Without this training, you may be excluded from participating or gaining access to emergency sites during activation.
If you have any questions regarding the Task Book or need any assistance with regards to training, please don’t hesitate to contact Doug Dukes, training AEC for WC-ARES, at firstname.lastname@example.org.