Changes to ARRL - ARES Effective January 1, 2019 

                                         Qualifications for Membership in ARES*

All participants shall have a valid Amateur Radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission. All participants must have a serious interest in providing volunteer radio communications support in an emergency. All participants shall have an interest in self-improvement and maintaining standards for excellent community service.

Previously, participation in ARES was open to all interested Amateur Radio operators. The only requirements were a valid FCC license and an interest in serving. There were no requirements for ARES participants to be trained and no skill sets were specified. In contrast, many of the partner agencies that ARES serves have mandated and structured training programs where all participants receive the same training and, when deployed, would be qualified to assume any position they were assigned to.

Therefore, changes have been made to resolve this issue identified by our partners about the inconsistent training required of ARES participants. Under this policy, a national standard for qualification in ARES is instituted to address the needs of our partners Training is expected to be phased in over time and will be required for all ARES participants. Such training will be measurable and recognized across a broad spectrum of the country by served partners. 

Three levels of training will allow ARES participants to enter the program and migrate to higher levels of qualification and service.

  • Level 1 — This is the entry level for those new to Amateur Radio or emergency communications. This introductory training is conducted by the local ARES group to meet their needs and those of their served agency or partners. This training could be formal or informal, and would introduce the ARES participant to the fundamentals of emergency communications and provide instruction on how participants are to conduct themselves while deployed.

  • Level 2 — To qualify for this level, participants shall have completed the following courses: ARRL’s EC-001 Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (or current equivalent) and FEMA IS-100, IS-200, IS 700, and IS-800. Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of training opportunities available through partners to enhance their knowledge and skill set.

  • Level 3 — This level of training prepares ARES participants to take on leadership positions such as EC, ADEC, DEC, ASEC, and SEC, and other designated positions in the ARES program. Participants are required to complete ARRL’s EC-016, Emergency Communications for Management, along with FEMA courses IS-300, and IS-400. Participants are strongly encouraged to complete the FEMA Leadership Development series of courses IS-120, IS-230, IS-240, IS-241, IS-242, IS-244, and IS-288.

Completion of all training programs will be verified by the participant’s Emergency Coordinator (EC) before the participant advances to the higher level. Those individuals holding leadership positions as the new program is introduced will be allowed one (1) year to complete the necessary training to meet qualifications for Level 3. Training requirements for ECs, DEC, and their assistants will be verified by their SEC or the SEC’s designated individual. In the case where the local community may have limited classroom study programs for IS-300 and IS-400, the SM may grant additional completion time to accommodate a community’s extended training schedule or authorize the seven FEMA Leadership Developments Courses as an alternate study program.

* Taken from the ARES Strategic Plan Final p. 6

Changes to ARES Net Control Script

On July 1, 2017 Harrisonburg/Rockingham County ARES will begin using a new Net Control Script. The reason for the change is make the net more efficient during our regular net sessions and further help train our members in net protocols for an emergency situation. The revised scipt is found on the Net Control Schedule page. 

Changes to ARES Effective January 1, 2017 Reminder 

On January 1, 2017, Rockingham/Harrisonburg ARES began a new system of credentialing for members. This system is an effort to organize the membership by FEMA accreditation and access to Harrisonburg/Rockingham Emergency Communications Center (HRECC). R/H ARES main served agency is the HRECC. In order to better serve them and our community, we are trying to get our members certified in the four basic FEMA classes. This is being done so that, if and when we are called upon, our membership will understand what is expected of us, as well as the organizational structure we will be expected to be part of. Also, the ARES leadership will have a better understanding of the capabilities of our membership and where members may best be used in an emergency situation. This isn’t just a local effort, as many ARES units in Virginia and across the country are moving toward this type of system. Below, I will lay out the three levels of credentials and then explain why each was set up. 

Level I:
This level includes all members regardless of FEMA classes taken or class of FCC license. All members will start at this level. 

Level II

This level will require ICS classes 100, 200, 700, and 800, as well as a minimum of a General Class Amateur License. ICS Classes 100 and 200 need to be completed prior to application for this level. The 700 and 800 classes must be completed within 1 year of request for this level of credential. 

Level III

This level will be the top level and the one the leadership hopes all will aspire to. Applicants must have all the requirements for Level II but, additionally, will need to be credentialed by the HRECC for access to the HRECC ham station. Contact Bryan K4RMY for info on how to get your credential. Also, members at this level will be expected to participate in a minimum of two drills, exercises or public service events every year to keep this status. 

Explanation for the above levels

Level I will be open to all amateurs regardless of license class. In a real emergency we will need all the volunteers we can get to assist with communications . These volunteers will be able to man various shelter locations as well as fire and rescue locations. 

Level II members will have similar assignments as Level I but with a higher expectation of how things are to be done. Also, members at this level will be expected to take a leadership role at locations where they may be assigned. The General Class License is needed because Level II members may be asked to man a location where HF communications would be required, such as a shelter at JMU. 

Level III is the top level of credential; we hope most of our membership will achieve this level. The HRECC credential consists of a background check (at no cost to you) by the HRECC Director in order to have access to the HRECC facility. HRECC is considered a secure facility and that is the reason for the background check. This is required in order to work at the ARES/RACES ham station in the HRECC. The participation in drills, exercises and public service events is an effort keep those at this level active in ARES and the community in general. Working public service events as well as drills and exercises will hopefully keep a core of our membership up to speed on all aspects of emergency communications. 

Please contact Bryan Daniels K4RMY (k4rmy at if you have questions, comments or want to apply for Level II or III membership. Hopefully, we will work together to make an important contribution if the worst happens and we are called upon to serve our community or another area of the state. If you are not an ARES member and would like to join our ranks, please go to this url and fill out the online application. 

© Bryan Daniels 2021