Message from Our Section Emergency Coordinator – April 19, 2019

Hello, fellow Western Massachusetts Radio Amateurs !!

I’m sending this email to both introduce myself and to update you on
my plans to revitalize the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)
program within our Section. My name is Bob Meneguzzo, K1YO, from
Southwick MA, and I’m your new Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) for
the five counties that comprise the WMA Section.

For many of us, a large part of Amateur Radio’s appeal is the
potential it offers to serve our respective communities using the
communications and technical skills we’ve developed while engaging in
its wide-ranging activities. Frequently, segments on the media or in
publications reflect what seems to be an increasing incidence of
hazardous situations where amateur radio has played an important role in
preserving the health and welfare of the public. This is entirely due to
the skill and dedication of those amateurs involved. We need to ensure
that these efforts are effective, with an eye to continuous improvement
through practice and the application of new developing technologies
available to us.

Various agencies also depend upon our assistance during emergencies, and
the requirements they ask of us have grown significantly in recent
times. So we will need to comply with their changing needs while at the
same time keeping ourselves proficient at our technical and
communications skills.

Here are the ARRL’s comment on the changes to the current ARES

“Previously, participation in ARES was open to all interested Amateur
Radio operators. The only requirements were a valid FCC license and an
interest in serving. There were no requirements for ARES participants to
be trained and no skill sets were specified. In contrast, many of the
partner agencies that ARES serves have mandated and structured training
programs where all participants receive the same training and, when
activated, or assigned to serve an agency in the field would be
qualified to assume any position to which they were assigned.

Therefore, changes have been made to resolve this issue identified by
our partners about the inconsistent training required of ARES
participants. Under this policy, a national standard for qualification
in ARES is instituted to address the needs of our partners. Training is
expected to be phased in over time and will be required for all ARES
participants. Such training will be measurable and recognized across a
broad spectrum of the country by served partners. “

The ARES program has been developing in line with this; it recognizes
the need for compliance by addressing several key aspects …
Organization, Training, Qualification and Credentialing.

Effective Organization is the base requirement and it needs to take
place at the County level through the efforts of the named Emergency
Coordinators (ECs) and their Assistants who have key knowledge of their
local resources and government agencies.

Training needs to be provided regularly in the form of drills and
exercises that emulate emergency situations, but also falls under the
Qualification aspect through courses such as ARRL’s EC-001 and FEMA
offerings available to individual ARES members.

Credentialing is increasingly required by agencies we assist … and is
essential for those amateurs deployed with or embedded in the operations
of these entities.

My activities as SEC obviously need to focus on these areas, but I
recognize that not all of us want to take a role in ARES that might
consume too much of our time. As our Section Manager notes, ARES
‘should not be a job’ for anyone. But I feel that we must offer
everyone an opportunity to participate at a level they would be
comfortable with. To accomplish this I’d like to establish another
level of ARES participation for the WMA Section: Local Reserve.

The Local Reserve group members would not be expected to do anything
besides participate in net operations (normally or during an activation)
although they might be asked to provide weather or damage reports for
their local neighborhood if requested by their Emergency Coordinator.
This is similar to the ARRL Level 1 Member described below although they
would not be field or agency deployed for anything. Training
requirements (minimal) are the same as Level 1 also.

Following are the current ARES Membership Levels ….

Level 1 — This is the primary level for those who choose a
non-leadership role as well as those new to Amateur Radio or emergency
communications. This introductory training is conducted by the local
ARES group to meet their needs and those of their served agency or
partners. This training could be formal or informal, and would introduce
the ARES participant to the fundamentals of emergency communications and
provide instruction on how participants are to conduct themselves while
serving in the field or otherwise activated. Participants may elect to
remain at this level, or any level, based upon the extent of their
desired ARES involvement.

Level 2 — To qualify for this level, participants shall have completed
the following courses: ARRL’s EC-001 Introduction to Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications (a no-cost program) and FEMA IS-100, IS-200, IS
700, and IS-800. Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of
training opportunities available through partners to enhance their
knowledge and skill set.

Level 3 — This level of training prepares ARES participants to take
on leadership positions such as EC, ADEC, DEC, ASEC, and SEC, and other
designated positions in the ARES program. Participants are required to
complete ARRL’s EC-016, Emergency Communications for Management, when
available along with FEMA Professional Development Series of courses
IS120, IS-230, IS-240, IS-241, IS-242, IS-244, and IS-288 the Role of
voluntary Organizations in Emergency Management. Participants also are
encouraged to complete the FEMA courses IS300, and IS-400 should they be
available locally.

So we see here that there is a broad set of choices of participation in
ARES … that hopefully will meet the commitment levels of many of us.
You can participate minimally, or continue your development to higher
levels should you choose to do so!

I sincerely hope that you will consider becoming a part of ARES if you
are not already a member and to help make this a team that we can be
truly proud of in our service to our communities!

With that said, there is ONE very important thing I need to ask of you:
to register for new membership on our WMA ARES website or login as a
member to update your existing one. Please sign-in if you have not done
so in 2018 or later. I am trying to clean up our membership database and
there are a LOT of folks that have shown no Log-In activity prior to
2018 (or never!).

Here’s the url: https://wma.arrl.org/ then choose Emergency
Communications and scroll down to the ARES Membership line in the
document to register or Login

Thank you for your time today — I hope to meet up with you at your
club meetings and will keep you posted via the WMA ARES website on my
progress at the many tasks ahead.

I am in 95% LISTEN mode right now … if you have comments, questions or
suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me. I sincerely appreciate
your inputs,

Very 73
Bob Meneguzzo – K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator – WMA Section K1yo@arrl.net

ARRL Western Massachusetts Section
Section Manager: Raymond P Lajoie, KB1LRL


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