Frequently Asked Questions
- What is ARES?
The best short answer I’ve seen is on the ARRL website:”The Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.”
- What is RACES?
The Radio Amateur Emergency Service (RACES) is a protocol created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC Part 97, Section 407).
RACES volunteers are Licensed Radio Amateurs that have been certified by a civil defense agency. They are able to communicate on Amateur Radio frequencies during drills, exercises and emergencies and only activated by local, county and state jurisdictions and are the only Amateur Radio operators authorized to transmit during declared emergencies when the President of the United States specifically invokes the War Powers Act.
- Why is there both ARES and RACES?
While more details can be had by looking at the ARRL website, basically ARES is an organization created by the ARRL to provide for organizing and training amateur radio operators, while RACES is defined by the FCC and works through FEMA and DHS. RACES can only be called out by an authorized government agency and has restrictions on training hours.
Many groups, such as ours, are combined organizations, allowing us to take advantage of the best of both worlds. By not combining these efforts, it can be very difficult for such organizations to mobilize in an effective manner.
- What is CERT?
The Community Emergency Response Team is an organization started by FEMA to empower communities to take care of themselves in times of disaster. Local communities enact them in different manners. In Androscoggin County, CERT is the umbrella organization that ARES/RACES falls under, though we operate as our own entity in most cases.
- How do I join?
- How do I get licensed?
- I have a cell phone, why amateur radio?