DO NOT! act on your own to provide emergency communication. We must remember that we are to ASSIST the various served agencies only when called for. An unorganized, knee-jerk reaction to an emergency situation will create problems and damage our good will.
If you suspect that a potential emergency situation exists that would require amateur radio communication, please monitor the various assigned net frequencies for your area. If you suspect that we may be needed please contact your local EC or Assistant EC, unless there is a protocol for that situation in your area that allows otherwise.
When a served agency needs our assistance, they usually alert designated amateur radio operators who are members of ARES. Normally this would be the EC or other designated operators, who are pre-registered with that agency.
Once any ARES unit is activated, the DEC should be notified as soon as possible, and the SEC should be notified by the DEC. Only use as many operators as is necessary to provide the service needed.
The EC or other ARES member in charge will normally assign one or more operators to man the Net Control Station(s) (NCS) for local nets(s) as required. All NCS should have full emergency power, and adequate relief operators to allow continuous operations.
When any formal ARES net is in session it is by definition a directed net, and stations should only transmit when directed to or authorized to by the NCS. Net discipline is essential to orderly operations. If you have EMERGENCY traffic give your CALL and say EMERGENCY, then wait for the NCS to give instructions, if you have other traffic just say your CALL and then wait for the NCS.
If the emergency should cover more than the local area, the EC in charge may request the activation of additional assets and or nets, including VHF/UHF and HF Long Haul Nets. The DEC may at his option either designate the EC to continue as overall coordinator or assume those duties him/her self. If the emergency requires more assets than the DEC can provide or manage he may request additional assets from the SEC. The EC/DEC in charge may request a declaration of communications emergency, through the SEC, and Section Manager, if conditions require clear frequencies, such requests will list the reasons and frequencies requested and will be transmitted as a Priority Message.
Standard Message Precedence of EMERGENCY, (P)riority, (W)elfare, or (R)outine will be used on all messages.
All messages excluding direct tactical communications must be written in standard ARRL format. ALL EMERGENCY and PRIORITY traffic within or going out of the first District will be in ARRL EMERGENCY RADIOGRAM format, on FSD-244 if possible. As a minimum, all EMERGENCY and Priority traffic shall have a complete preamble, address, written text, and the originating officials; SIGNATURE, name, position, date and time received, and date and time passed to the next relay or addressee. These radiograms will become a permanent record and submitted to the EC at the completion of the emergency operations.
Reports from each NCS to the EC and the EC/DEC to the SEC will be completed as soon as practical after the operations are concluded. They will include a brief description of the operation, the type of traffic handled, the duration of the operations, the names, calls and a duty log, with message logs, and Copies of all EMERGENCY, or Priority Traffic.
An emergency situation may take many forms. This could include minor communications assistance to local Police Authorities in assisting with traffic or crowd control to serving one or more agencies in a major statewide disaster such as a chemical spill or earthquake. If the disaster is major and no firm links to the outside can be established, every effort should be made to obtain an aircraft orbiting over the area with an amateur aboard monitoring 146.550 MHz simplex to relay messages. In any event regardless of the size or type of emergency the ARES members must be able to respond in organized, timely and efficient manner to provide communications support to our served agencies.
In any emergency situation all ARES members should remember:
1. In most situations, the affected area will be local in nature; therefore each EC is strongly encouraged to establish a working relationship with the heads of each of his/her served agencies.
2. Unless there is a STANDING PROTOCOL that allows for ARES members to activate, ARES should never start operations in an emergency until called upon by a served agency. However ARES may organize and otherwise prepare for an emergency. DO NOT FORCE ourselves upon any agency.
3. In the case of a local emergency activation the EC should immediately begin the pre-planned call up procedures on his/her local emergency frequency (normally a repeater). He/she should designate a NCS and Alternate NCS, who should remain in control of the net for the duration of the emergency, or until properly relieved by another qualified NCS. A complete log of all activations should be kept including as a minimum: A record of all EMERGENCY and Priority Traffic; A complete log of Check-ins and Check-outs; A record of assignments (can be part of the Log(s). Under no circumstances should EMERGENCY Traffic be held or delayed, and Priority Traffic should only be held until EMERGENCY Traffic is passed.
4. After receiving a request for ARES support, or activation under a STANDING PROTOCOL, and the activation is completed the EC of other ARES member in charge should as soon as practical notify the DEC or SEC of the activation and the reasons for such activation, and expected assets required, and expected duration.
5. All traffic will include the Name, or Position of the Addressee, Address, and Phone Number if possible. When addressing traffic to the state government, the highest level that traffic may be addressed is to the “Executive Director of the DEM”. The Governor has designated the Executive Director to receive all traffic on his behalf, and that of the Executive Branch.
6. In general the following is the order of precedence for providing communications support to served agencies: (a) The Office of Emergency Management; (b) The American Red Cross; (c) The National Weather Service; and (d) other local agencies as required. NOTE: In the event of Immanent Severe Weather every effort should be given to fully staff the Sky Warn Program.
7. Health and Welfare Traffic and Routine Traffic will be handled in that order, but only when assets are available and all EMERGENCY and Priority Traffic has been cleared.
8. During Nets, other than Sky Warn, “tactical calls” may be used, and if used they should give some indication of the location and or function of the position. For example, an amateur operating in an EOC could use the tactical call of any County EOC, or if operating from a Red Cross Shelter the call sign could be Red Cross Murray Baptist Shelter, etc. It is of the utmost importance that amateurs remember to use their Amateur Calls for ID at least once every 10 minutes, in order to comply with Part 97 rules.
9. The following will not be used on phone nets: (a) Q signals (QSL, QSY etc); (b) Cute or nonstandard Phonetics; (c) Break or Break – Break (used in place of the proper proword “EMERGENCY” (d) SOS – (again use EMERGENCY)
10. NEVER MAKE ANY COMMENTS TO ANY MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA!! Refer all requests for information to the Served Agency Public Information Officer, saying something like “ I AM SORRY BUT I DO NOT KNOW, BUT THE PIO CAN HELP YOU.” Then direct the media member to the PIO. If you are not absolutely sure that a person is part of the emergency operation refuse to answer questions and refer that person to the PIO.
11. NEVER TRANSMIT ANY SENSITIVE INFORMATION IN THE CLEAR, use other means such as packet or even courier, to report the finding of a body, body parts, or the subject or object of a search. If necessary simply ask for the appropriate authority to report to your location, and if asked for more information refuse and repeat your original request, the NCS should understand what and why you refused to provide additional information. NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, TRANSMIT THE NAME OF ANY DECEASED, INJURED, OR TRAPPED PERSON.
12. NEVER leave your post without permission from the NCS, and if you are assigned to “Shadow” an official, stay close but out of the way and NO DOT loose him or her, as that can be very embarrassing. If a member of the operation wants a verbal message passed it is often better to let him or her use your radio, just caution them not to conduct business or use foul language. This approach can eliminate errors in relaying a message and is quicker.
13. If you are told not to transmit, or to turn off your radio do so immediately. Normally this will only be done if there is a danger of RF causing a fire or explosion. DO NOT say the “Firemen have theirs on” as most of the Emergency Response Units have explosion proof equipment.
14. Remember that we are just communicators and do not make policy, decisions, or give directions or orders. We simply operate our radios, unless specifically asked to do other wise by the authorities, and then we only do what we are trained and qualified for. We should always be out of the way, but immediately available when needed to communicate.
|President: Dale Barrett, WB7D
Vice President: Randall Winchester, WD4HVA
Secretary: Sabrina Garland, W4ZDQ
Treasurer: Bill Call, KJ4W
MSU Faculty Advisor: John Hart, KO4ZE
© Copyright 2003, Murray State University Amateur Radio Club. All Rights Reserved.