Emcom 101 Resources

Over the past several months I’ve mentioned a number of resources of interest to those considering or training for public service and emergency communications. I’ve compiled a list of some of those links and offer them here.

The Garland (Texas) ARES/RACES organization and the Garland Amateur Radio Club (GARC) have some excellent resources curated or developed by John Galvin N5TIM.

Garland RACES is the main link to their page. There you will find a variety of links. The  RACES Appointee’s Notebook, aka “The Notebook” is a good place to start accumulating your training and credentials.

We’ve discussed on the net the Communications Resource Function, now known as the Amateur Radio Resource (ARR). Their link is currently broken. Here’s a link to the Amateur Radio Communications Resource Typing  concept document. There are links there for the “ARR User’s Guide” and the “ARR Ordering Guide.”

We’ve also talked about the BLMRS card you may be asked to fill out when responding to an emergency or event. Here are instructions for the BLMRS Card.

In order to work with nearly any government agency you will need to have completed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s National Incident Management System (NIMS) basic training courses. Here’s a link to the FEMA Emergency Management Institute training site. Most of the crucial courses can be taken online, in the comfort of your home. You will need to register for a Federal Student ID number (to track your coursework). Pay particular attention to ICS-100, IS-700 and the other courses outlined in the new ARRL ARES guide.

Speaking of which, you don’t have to be a member of ARRL in order to participate in most emergency and public service events, but you SHOULD be a member of ARRL for a host of other reasons. ARRL’s ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) is the group that has developed most of the policies, procedures and organization around the amateur radio response. ARRL has memoranda of understanding with national and international service organizations, government entities, and is our representative to the FCC. ARRL is also the United States representative to the worldwide radio governance bodies. ARRL Public Service and ARES can be found here. Part way down the page is the Learn More link to ARES and there you will find more good information.

Major events will use Field Operations Guides published by Homeland Security. Of particular interest is the NIFOG (National Interoperability Field Operations Guide) and the Auxiliary Communications Field Operations Guide (AUXFOG). We, as amateur radio operators, are classified as Auxiliary communicators.

Last, but certainly not least, are the hazardous materials guides. I recommend you download one (or more) of the several apps available for your smartphone, but you may want to have a link or two for your computer. 2016 Emergncy Response Guidebook  can be found here – links in Spanish and English are available.

Have fun on the air, and in your public service persona!

Kevin Grantham N5KRG