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.
This level includes all members regardless of FEMA classes taken or class of FCC license. All members will start at this level.
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.
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 arrl.net) 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 http://goo.gl/wsV7xD and fill out the online application.