Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) is a team of FCC-licensed amateur radio operators who volunteer their time, expertise, and equipment to provide backup communications during emergency situations. Cell phones, landlines, and even police and fire radios can fail during earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters. Amateur radio is a worldwide stand-alone communications system with proven backup capabilities.
ARES team members also train to be the "eyes and ears" for an Incident Commander faced with large scale emergency situations. Team members can relay vital information from the field directly to the communications center located in the Emergency Operations Center. Conditions the Incident Commander may not be aware of, such as flooded roadways, citizens needing rescue, power outages or shelter locations may be relayed instantly without using busy police or fire radio frequencies.
ARES volunteers train to conduct urban and rural searches for lost or missing children, and provide communications during community events such as parades and Summer Fest.
How to Join ARES
An amateur radio license is not required to join the ARES team, however, team members are expected to work towards their FCC license, which is really quite simple. Free classes and training are provided and a license may be obtained by passing a 35 question multiple-choice test which is available locally.
The team meets every other Monday evening for training, drills, exercises, and joint operations with other ARES teams in the area. Field trips, training scenarios, and guest speakers may be scheduled at other times of the month.
Return completed forms to Centralia Police Department, attention Bob Willey, ARES Emergency Coordinator.