Wilkes County A.R.E.S / AUXCOMM
Wilkes County Amateur Radio Emergency Service / Auxillary Communications
Purpose of ARES®
Amateur Radio Emergency Service, which has developed since 1935, is a part of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Organization.
Part 97 of the FCC's RULES and REGULATION, which covers the Amateur Radio Service ,states under "Basis and Purpose" in 97.1 (a) that: "Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary non-commercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications."
Amateurs have been involved with Public-service communications, emergency communications, since 1913. In the early days the involvement was unprepared and without any coordination. As stated in the PUBLIC SERVICE COMMUNICATIONS MANUAL, published by the ARRL, "As time progressed, the need for and value of organization became evident, resulting in the establishment of organized trunk lines and net systems; later the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the National Traffic System (NTS) were formed to complete the organization."
Today, "The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible for membership in the ARES. The only qualification, other than the possession of an Amateur Radio license, is a sincere desire to serve. Because ARES is an amateur service, only amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership".
Purpose of AUXCOMM
AUXCOMM (Auxillary Communications), is a uniformly trained and credentialed unit of communication volunteers available for disaster response that would materially assist emergency preparedness and disaster response efforts across the state. While maintaining their traditional roles as Amateur Radio operators, many of these volunteers assist with the establishment and maintenance of communication facilities, assist with programming public safety radios during emergencies, and act as radio operators on public safety channels.
“AUXComm” is an umbrella term and acronym for “Auxiliary Communications.” It was developed by the OEC in 2009 with the assistance of amateur radio subject matter experts. The concept behind the acronym was to educate as many amateur radio entities to work and train with public safety personnel, understand the value of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) concept and the role of the communications unit leader (COML). AUXComm, although not an official national ICS position as of yet, is most often identified as a Technical Specialist (THSP) in the Communications Unit of the NIMS ICS structure. North Carolina has endorsed AUXComm as an official position within their state NIMS/ICS structure.
I am involved with multiple ARES / AUXCOMM groups in our area, I am the Emergency Coordinator for our Wilkes County ARES group and the AUXCOMM Coordinator for Wilkes County. I coordinate ARES / AUXCOMM assistance for our Wilkes County Emergency Management team and to our neighboring counties ARES / AUXCOMM groups when extra help is requested; I was previously assisting our neighboring Surry County ARES group as their Training Officer. Being active in ARES / AUXCOMM allows me to take my hobby and use it as a skill to assist in times of crisis or disaster, plus it opens up my knowledge to many other aspects of Amateur Radio that I may not have explored otherwise. It also provides me the mindset and capability to "Be Ready" so that I can better provide for myself and my loved ones during times of severe weather, disaster or other life complications. Are YOU ready?