Delco ARES Manual

  1. Foreward

    This publication is intended to be used as an outline and guide for those Amateur Radio Operators who are giving of themselves, their equipment, and their personal time. Delco ARES members volunteer to help Governmental, Non-governmental, and Non-Profit Agencies who serve the public good and who have requested our communication expertise in times of need.

    Our members also commit untold hours by preparing and training for the 
    eventuality of an unfortunate incident or disaster, which may impact our county, our state, or the nation. Our efforts make this community a safer place for our family, friends, and neighbors…for all who reside and work in Delaware County. This Operations Manual effects the Pennsylvania State Emergency Management Agency Auxiliary Communications Services Strategic Plan for the integration of ARES®/ RACES for County and local governments.

  2. Policy

    1. The Amateur Radio Service was created in part to provide a means of wireless communication and the accurate passage of information during times of emergency, when ordinary communications fail.
      1. Amateur Radio Communications also provide logistical and critical support services to other non-government organizations (NGO), such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army.
    2. The Amateur Radio Service can also provide supplemental communications solutions for public service events such as walk-a-thons, bike-a-thons, marathons, parades, etc.
    3. Delaware County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (Delco ARES) is an affiliate of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and was created to organize civic minded Amateur Radio operators in Delaware County to serve their community in a voluntary role.
      1. The ARRL is an official member of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) as defined by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
    4. Delco ARES may function as the pool of operators to affect the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) in Delaware County.
    5. Delco ARES members are expected to read this document and keep a hard copy of the current version available.
    6. This manual will be made available to all interested Amateur Radio operators and served agencies.

  3. Purpose

    1. The purpose of this manual is, in part, to effect Title 47 CFR Part-97.1(a) of the Federal Communications Commission Rules that states recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service as a volunteer non-commercial service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
    2. This manual is designed to provide guidelines for the Amateur Radio Operator while providing emergency communications in support of local or state and federal emergency management officials and associated agencies during an emergency or other disaster. 

      NOTE: This manual considers that ARES® and RACES work together as one even if a separate Emergency Coordinator (E.C.) or Radio Officer (R.O.) is present. Delco ARES working with County or local Emergency Management Agency (EMA) officials is not meant to over-ride RACES/ACS, to which it maybe defined by jurisdiction policy.

  4. Scope

    1. This procedure applies to all Amateur Radio Communications conducted as part of ARES®/RACES/ACS operations.

  5. Definitions

    1. ARES® – Amateur Radio Emergency Service, an organization of Radio Amateurs, founded by the ARRL for the purpose of providing trained volunteer communication specialists to support Emergency Management and provide a public service.
    2. ARESMAT – Amateur Radio Emergency Service Mutual Aid/Assistance Team – The coordinated allocation of ARES® resources from one ARRL section to another.
    3. ARRL – American Radio Relay League
    4. ARRL ARES® E.C. – Emergency Coordinator, an appointed field official that is responsible for supporting an ARES® group at a local level
    5. ARRL ARES® D.E.C. – District Emergency Coordinator, an appointed field official that is responsible for supporting groups of county E.C.s
    6. ARRL ARES® S.E.C. – Section Emergency Coordinator, an appointed field official that is responsible for supporting groups of District E.C.s
    7. ACS – Auxiliary Communications Service, a collective of communications services (e.g. ARES®/RACES, U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, MARS – Military Affiliated Radio Service, etc.) whose primary purpose is or have internal communications components/capabilities to provide emergency communications for EMAs when ordinary public safety communications fail or require support.
    8. ACS or RACES Radio Officer (R.O.) – An Amateur Radio Operator who has been appointed by a governmental EMA, usually at the county or state level, to effect the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), when needed. Typically, the R.O. is also the ARES® E.C.
    9. Delco ARES – Delaware County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established to provide structure and training for Amateur Radio Operators interested in Amateur Radio Emergency Communications in Delaware County.
      1. Delco ARES provides mutual aid to surrounding ARES® organizations, upon request.
      2. Delco ARES is a member of District 1 ARES®, the five county collaborative group, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties, in Southeastern Pennsylvania and participates in coordinated training, exercises, and mutual aid on a regular basis. District 1 ARES® is also geographically congruent with the Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Regional Task Force area as defined by PEMA.
    10. Delco ARES E.C. or (Co-E.C., where applicable) – Delaware County Amateur Radio Emergency Service - Emergency Coordinator, manages the ARES® organization in Delaware County
    11. Delco ARES A.E.C. – Delaware County Amateur Radio Emergency Service - Assistant Emergency Coordinator, supports the E.C. during Delco ARES events and supervises ARES® resources during operational periods.
    12. Delco ARES event – An emergency incident, exercise, drill, or public service event where Delco ARES may provide communications
    13. EMA – Emergency Management Agency
      1. FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency
      2. PEMA – Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
      3. County EMA – County Government Emergency Management Agency
      4. Local EMA – Local Government Emergency Management Agency
        1. Local Municipality - Township, Town, or Borough, typically administered through the Fire Marshal's office, Fire Department, or Sheriff/Police Department with the Incident Commander as the Fire Marshal, Fire Chief, Sheriff/Police Chief, or Public Safety Director
    14. Incident Action Plan (IAP) – The What, Where, When, Who, and How elements to respond to an incident
    15. W3AEC / N3AEC – Delaware County Amateur Radio Emergency Service FCC Call sign
    16. Mutual Aid – The availability and use, usually by formal and predetermined agreement, of resource sharing between organizations, often during a time of need.
    17. NGO – Non-Governmental Organization
    18. Operational Period – Typically, the planned time period to execute an Incident Action Plan (IAP).
    19. RACES – Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, as defined by Title 47 CFR Part 97.407
    20. Served Agency – An organization requesting Delco ARES members to provide communications and/or logistics support.
    21. SKYWARN – National Weather Service's program for training volunteer severe weather spotters.

  6. Applicability

    1. Title 47 CFR Part 97, Amateur Radio Service
    2. Pennsylvania State Emergency Management Agency - Auxiliary Communications Services Strategic Plan

  7. Procedures

    1. Organization

      1. Delco ARES E.C. is appointed by the ARRL ARES® D.E.C.
      2. The Delco ARES E.C. appoints operations A.E.C.s as needed, to support and manage resources, specifically during incident operational periods.
      3. The Delco ARES E.C. appoints specialized A.E.C.s, as needed, such as an A.E.C. that manages specific aspects of the organization, e.g. Training, Digital Communications, Web Communications, Net Control, Technical (support), and SKYWARN.

    2. Personnel Requirements

      1. The minimum requirements to operate during a Delco ARES event is a valid Amateur Radio License. Operators who have satisfactorily completed training as described in Section 7.c will be given precedence.
      2. All operators must possess a copy of their Amateur Radio license to participate in a Delco ARES event
      3. Delco ARES members should prepare to possess a Delco ARES photo ID and legal photo ID when access to restricted incident locations is required.
      4. Operators are expected to follow all regulations outlined in Title 47 CFR Part 97.
      5. Operators are expected to act in a professional and unbiased manner at all times on and off the air.
      6. Amateur Radio Operators who wish to become Delco ARES members will complete a Delco ARES membership form as well as forwarding any training documentation to the Delco ARES E.C.

    3. Training Requirements

      1. FEMA IS-100 – Incident Command System (ICS), An Introduction
      2. FEMA IS-200 – Incident Command System (ICS), Basic
      3. FEMA IS-700 – National Incident Management System (NIMS)
      4. FEMA IS-800 – National Response Framework
      5. Other training required by individual served agencies, as negotiated and approved on an individual basis by Delco ARES.
      6. It is strongly suggested that all Amateur Radio Operators volunteers exceed the minimum training requirements set forth by Delco ARES and enroll in ARRL sponsored Emergency Communication Courses and additional FEMA Courses.
        1. Delco ARES supports SKYWARN and the National Weather Service's Mount Holly New Jersey Office. Delco ARES members are encouraged to complete the SKYWARN Basic course and support SKYWARN nets.
      7. Delco ARES members are expected to attend regularly scheduled general meetings and/or on-air nets, as well as applicable technical and policy and procedure training sessions.
      8. Amateur Radio Operators that do not meet the above requirements will be supervised by a Delco ARES E.C. or Delco ARES A.E.C. designated Delco ARES member as, or when, personnel resources and incident situations appropriately permit.
        1. Amateur Radio Operators that do not met the above requirements may operate, on a temporary basis and in instances of dire need or emergency. Temporary operators should expect to be relieved of operational duties when a more qualified Delco ARES operator becomes available.

    4. Call for Operators 

      1. Delco ARES E.C., A.E.C., or the Delaware County EMA RACES Radio Officer will alert Delco ARES members of an emergency by of one or more of the following means:
        1. Email
        2. Text Message
        3. Primary Net Frequency
        4. Phone Tree
        5. Annex A – Commercial Power and Communications Infrastructure Failure and Special Case Call Up and Operations
      2. For extended duration incidents and mutual aid requests, Delco ARES E.C., A.E.C., or the Delaware County EMA RACES Radio Officer will alert Delco ARES members of additional needs by one or more of the following means.

    5. Coordination with Served Agencies

      1. Delco ARES will appoint a custodian for a served agency, when requested by that served agency. The custodian will provide procurement guidance of equipment, technical support, equipment maintenance, and planning and coordination services.
        1. The E.C., or designee, is the custodian for Delaware County EMA
      2. As appropriate, a Delco ARES liaison will be established for each served agency during active operations. The liaison will be responsible for directly reporting to the served agency. The liaison will also be responsible for the requesting additional Amateur Radio volunteers, the allocation of Amateur Radio resources for the served agency, and, where appropriate, appointing a relief liaison.
      3. Depending on the incident, served agencies may function independently of Delaware County EMA unless a county wide emergency has been declared or the appropriate notification of the served agency has occurred with Delaware County EMA. Coordination and reassessment of Amateur Radio resources will be required of the Delco ARES liaison, the served agency, and Delaware County EMA at this time or as required during the incident.

    6. Operations

      1. Health and Welfare of Volunteers

        1. Amateur Radio volunteers will not be directed into known or immediately dangerous to life and health situations.
        2. Volunteers must expect that there is always the potential for situations to occur at any time and may lead to personal harm and/or loss of personal property, especially responding to an incident.
          1. Members reserve the right to evaluate all risks for themselves and decline organizational role, membership, or assignment.
        3. It is expected that all operators will use good personal judgment and exercise caution, maintain awareness of their surroundings and conditions while volunteering, and not to put themselves or others in danger.
        4. Operators who are volunteering at field assignments are expected to obey and follow all traffic regulations and abide by emergency personnel direction.
          1. Members failing to follow Section 7.f.i.3. & 7.f.i.4. will be subject to membership separation from Delco ARES.
        5. Net operations will conclude only after all field operators have been secured. This will ensure that all Amateur Radio volunteers have been safely secured from their role in the activation.

      2. Delaware County EMA RACES Equipment Use

        1. Use of the Delaware County EMA RACES equipment is encouraged for all Delco ARES members.
        2. Delco ARES members can request use of the Delaware County EMA RACES equipment for the following purposes:
          1. For use during Incident Response and Activations
          2. Familiarity of use
          3. Preventative maintenance, repairs, and/or set-up
          4. Exercises and/or Public Service Events
        3. Delaware County EMA RACES equipment requests must be made to the Delaware EMA RACES R.O.
        4. All equipment is to be returned complete, without damage, and in working condition.
          1. Any damaged or non-functioning equipment must be reported to the Delaware County EMA RACES R.O.

      3. Delaware County EMA SEPA Regional Task Force Equipment

        1. Use of the Delaware County EMA SEPA Regional Task Force amateur radio equipment is encouraged for all Delco ARES members, on a limited and controlled basis.
        2. Delco ARES members can request use of the Delaware County EMA SEPA Regional Task Force amateur radio equipment for the following purposes:
          1. For use during Incident Response and Activations
          2. Familiarity of use
          3. Preventative maintenance, repairs, and/or set-up
          4. Exercises and/or Public Service Events
        3. Delaware County EMA RACES equipment requests must be made to the Delaware EMA RACES R.O. and Delaware County EMA staff.
        4. All equipment is to be returned complete, without damage, and in working condition.
          1. Any damaged or non-functioning equipment must be reported to the Delaware County EMA RACES R.O. and Delaware County EMA staff.

      4. Served Agency Equipment

        1. Use of other served agency equipment, such as local EMAs, hospitals, NGOs, etc., will be in accordance with the agreements and understanding established with those agencies.

      5. Personal Equipment

        1. Amateur Radio operators are expected have the knowledge to operate their personal equipment, possess the respective equipment user manuals, and plan accordingly for operations. They shall ensure that their equipment is in good working order and properly maintained.
        2. It is expected that volunteering operators have a preparedness kit (e.g. "Go Kit") that contains items in addition to communication equipment and supporting gear, such as personal care items.

      6. Personal and Sensitive Information

        1. Delco ARES members are to be cognizant of personal and sensitive information, its security, and its dissemination unless ABSOLUTELY necessary or explicitly directed by an official from the served agency. Delco ARES members should provide guidance with regard to the content, formatting, clarity and conciseness of any message traffic that a served agency requests to be communicated.

      7. ARESMAT

        1. As resources become overwhelmed by a incident, Delco ARES may be called on to act in a mutual aid capacity. ARESMAT has been established to provide an organized method of deploying those who are available to provide this assistance, if a disaster strikes another part of the county, state or some other part of the country or region.
          1. If a Delco ARES member desires to support a ARESMAT deployment, the E.C. must be notified.
          2. Special criteria may be required for an ARESMAT deployment, so additional details may need to be acquired through the affected area's Section/District Emergency Coordinator, EPA Section Emergency Coordinator, and/or ARRL Headquarters.

    7. Operations (Public Service Events)

      1. As described in Section 7.f, except for 7.f.vii.
      2. All operators will report into the event coordinator for assignment.

    8. Station Identification

        1. All Amateur Radio communications from the Delaware County EMA will use the FCC call sign W3AEC.
        2. All other stations serving will use their individual FCC call sign or the call sign of the served agency they are supporting, as appropriate.
        3. Tactical Call Sign Identification
          1. Begin initial transmissions with the station's tactical call sign identification.
          2. Conclude the final transmission with the station's FCC call sign or every 10 minutes.

    9. Chain of Command Reporting

      1. Delco ARES Members are to report issues and request information through an A.E.C. or E.C., as resources and conditions permit, and in a timely manner.

    10. Documentation

      1. All documentation, including this manual, its annexes, frequency plans, and personnel information is property of Delco ARES and shall remain in the possession of Delco ARES or served agency facilities at all times.
        1. In the event of Coordinator personnel changes, all information and documentation will be transferred to the successor or E.C.
        2. The Delco ARES Frequency Plan, in any form (e.g. electronic, hard copy, as a radio programming data file, etc.), is to be considered sensitive information and is not to be distributed or made available on the web or removed from served agency facilities.
        3. The Delco ARES Frequency Plan is to be version controlled. Any updates to the Plan must facilitate a strategy to update the programming of all equipment at the agencies served by Delco ARES.
          1. A list of all served agency equipment programmed with Delco ARES will be kept on file and updated.
          2. The list will have the following information, at a minimum:
            1. Agency Name
            2. Radio Make/Model
            3. Date Programmed
            4. If a hard copy of the Delco ARES Frequency Plan was provided
            5. Delco ARES Frequency Plan Version
            6. Contact Name
      2. Formal and After Action Reports should be prepared following exercises, activations, and events. The report shall include, but not limited to the following document sections, background, overall summary, participants, summary of operations details, achievements, and improvement suggestions.
      3. Documentation authoring and revision is authorized by any Delco ARES member. However, review by a simple majority of A.E.C.s, and Final approval by the E.C. is required.
      4. All revisions to official documents or respective attachments will be captured in the document's Revision Log. It will include which section of the document was changed, description of the change, rationale and justification of the change, any impacts, and any references.
      5. Retired documents will be kept on file in the possession of the E.C. and appropriately marked "Retired: Do Not Use".

  8. Attachments

    1. Delco ARES Emergency Procedures
    2. Equipment and Go Kits
    3. ARES Manual
    4. Field Go Kits
    5. Training
    6. Documentation

  9. Annexes

    1. Annex A – Commercial Power and Communications Infrastructure Failure and Special Case Call Up and Operations