The ARRL Board of Directors, committees, and Headquarters administrative staff are continuing efforts to enhance the venerable Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) program. A major ARES Plan has been adopted, providing new direction going forward. In addition, a standardized training plan has been adopted and a new ARES Emergency Communicator Individual Task Book approved and published.
At its July meeting, the ARRL Board considered the report of its Public Service Enhancement Working Group (PSEWG). A “change log” was proposed for the Task Book that will highlight changes made as the document is periodically revised and updated. ARES position guidelines were posted to the online ARES Workbook and a major revision and update of ARRL’s Introduction to Emergency Communicationscourse — now designated as IS-001 — has been completed.
The course is now available at no cost to any ARES registrant, and a “tutor-less” format has been added as a parallel path for completing the course. Additional tutors were recruited to assist in handling the initial surge of interest. A “challenge” path directly to the final exam is also being implemented. An update and introduction of IS-016 — Public Service and Emergency Communications Management for Radio Amateurs — will follow in the next few months.
Veteran Ohio Section Manager Scott Yonally, N8SY, has been brought on board to assist in implementing ARES Connect and to field questions about the new software package from users. ARES Connect is a volunteer management system covering event signup, reporting, and roster management, to simplify managing volunteers and events.
Some modest revisions to procedures have been made to the Ham Aid program.
Most recently, the PSEWG has begun an extensive examination of the future role of the National Traffic System (NTS) in concert with ARES. It’s hoped that a brief survey of selected Section Managers, Section Traffic Managers, and Section Emergency Coordinators will provide a starting point for a more extensive analysis of the program.
At its July meeting, the ARRL Board authorized the EmComm Manager Selection Committee to specify the position requirements for a new Director of Emergency Management at Headquarters. This individual will lead the team responsible for supporting the ARES program and will work with ARRL staff to develop standards, protocols, and processes to support the Field Organization. — Thanks to The ARES E-Letter
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