ARES is an emergency preparedness element of the Field Operation of the ARRL, a national amateur radio organization. The ARRL has formal national-level agreements with the American Red Cross (“ARC”), the National Weather Service (“NWS”), The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”), the Association of Public-Safety Communications System (“NCS”), etc.
The Washington County ARES organization is composed of Amateur Radio operators who have documented/registered their qualifications, and made themselves, and their equipment, available for disaster communications duty. Every Licensed amateur is eligible for membership in the WCARES. The only qualification, other than holding a valid license of technician or higher class, is a sincere desire to serve.
ARES does not declare emergencies, but rather responds to the call for assistance from those agencies which have that responsibility. Every disaster is unique. No plan can forsee the exact circumstances of any forthcoming event. It behooves emergency organizations to prepare for all possible situations. The planning and training conducted by The WCARES has that primary goal—as does on-going liaison with the agencies to be served.
WCARES may be called upon to supply communication services where no established links exist, or to supplement existing systems when they become disabled or overloaded. The communications systems of Public Saftey organizations are designed to routinely handle emergenccy situations. It is not feasible for them to also maintain resources which can meet the demands of all major disasters. In those instances, the Radio Amateurs serve to complement existing govermental and disaster agency communication resources.
When a significant event occurs; WCARES can be activated by the Emergency Manager (EM) from any served agency under the Washington County Emergency Services signed Memorandum of Understanding. (MOU: Purpose is to state the terms of the understanding between the concerned parties).
First callout request to WCARES members will be made by e-mail, text, phone message, or by radio.
Notification will contain enough information to deploy members in an orderly manner.
RESPONSE FROM WCARES
Upon receipt of first callout members will be contacted for response.
Information Nets will be implemented on pre-assigned frequencies. Initial manpower and equipment assignments given.
OPENING OF WASHINGTON COUNTY EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER (EOC)
Opening the communications of the WC EOC is the first goal in a respones by the WCARES.