The amateur radio community engages in emergencies primarily through two organizations, namely ARES and RACES, which provide formal structure and processes that amateur radio operators use when working with other emergency responders.

ARES and RACES

ARES stands for Amateur Radio Emergency Service and RACES for Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. Both represent formal, national groups with local chapters.  The difference  between the two is that participation in ARES is open - any ham can call into ARES nets, while RACES is more formal, associated with FEMA/FCC.  You have to apply for RACES membership and swear an oath administered by the local RACES representative.

The Monroe County RACES representative is A.J. Ragusa KC9EVU. Here is how to join RACES.

The Indiana RACES site provides more information and materials.

Amateur Radio in Recent National Emergencies

Amateur radio has played a critical role in several national emergencies. According to Wikipedia, "Amateur radio operators belonging to ARES (and its predecessor, the Amateur Radio Emergency Corps) have responded to local and regional disasters since the 1930s, including the attacks of September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina. During the Katrina event more than one thousand ARES volunteers assisted in the aftermath and provided communications for the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and other individuals related to the relief effort. After Katrina Hancock County, Mississippi had lost all contact with the outside world, except through ARES operators who served as 911 dispatchers and message relayers."

Monroe Country Emergency Communication Plan 

Working in concert with the Monroe County ARES-RACES Group, BARC has prepared a formal Volunteer Emergency Communications Plan for Monroe County, Indiana.  The following links provide details of the plan.

Document Pages Word PDF
Volunteer Emergency Communication Plan Cover-74 Word 12.1 MB PDF 1.5 MB

 

Individual Components of the plan:

Cover - IntroductionCover-8Word 5.6 MBPDF 471 KB
Mitigation 9-13Word 371 KBPDF 267 KB
Preparedness14-22Word 212 KBPDF 294 KB
Response 23-34Word 2.9 MBPDF 509 KB
Recovery - Conclusion 35-39Word 2.8 MBPDF 301 KB
Appendix - MOU/SOU w/ FEMA 40-43Word 61 KBPDF 89 KB
Appendix - MC EMA RACES 44-50Word 143 KBPDF 147 KB
Appendix - FCC 47/94 E 51-52Word 51 KBPDF 82 KB
Appendix - ARES - RACES Application 53-54Word 121 KBPDF 117 KB
Appendix - SOU w/ Red Cross 55-59Word 67 KBPDF 114 KB
Appendix - MOU w/ National Weather Service 60-61Word 53 KBPDF 75 KB
Appendix - MOU w/ Salvation Army 62-63Word 53 KBPDF 80 KB
Appendix - CIBA Hilly 100 64-68Word 89 KBPDF 259 KB
Appendix - State Science Olympiad 69-70Word 50 KBPDF 97 KB
Appendix - ARRL Message Form 71-73Word 89 KBPDF 186 KB
Appendix - ARES-RACES Asset List 74Word 63 KBPDF 59 KB

(Note: You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to read the PDF versions.  You can download it for free from Adobe)

Other Emergency Service Documents and Links

Monroe County Emergency Management Website
FCC Part 97 Subpart E - Providing Emergency Communications
Amateur Radio Emergency Communication
ARRL-ARES Emergency Coordinator
ARES & RACES Information
Amateur Radio Nets (PDF)
Some Thoughts on Net Participation (PDF)
Skywarn Nets and Local Weather Nets (PDF)
Severe Weather Criteria (PDF)
Net Control Training and Operation: General Background (PDF)
Message from the late Frank O'Bannon, Governor of the State of Indiana (PDF)