Written by N1JYW   

Amateur Radio Emergency Service

In the United States and Canada, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is a corps of trained amateur radio operator volunteers organized to assist in public service and emergency communications. It is organized and sponsored by the American Radio Relay League and the Radio Amateurs of Canada.

Communication failures have been a defining part of natural disasters and even the September 11 attacks that occurred in New York City in 2001. A lack of communication between firefighters at the World Trade Center contributed directly to the deaths of 300 of those firefighters.[1] Amateur radio provides a means of communication when all others fail.

Amateur radio operators belonging to ARES (and its predecessor, the Amateur Radio Emergency Corps [AREC]) have responded to local and regional disasters since the 1930s, including the attacks of September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina.[2] 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.[2] 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.[3]

ARES has deployed for a variety of other emergencies and disasters, including the 2003 North America blackout.[4] The blackout covered a wide geographical area of North America. In the United States its scope included Cleveland, Detroit, and New York City. Landline telephones and cell phone systems were overloaded and Amateur's ability to operate off the grid was put to the test. On Long Island in New York many pieces of health and welfare traffic were passed on VHF and HF nets. Because some television and radio stations had gone off the air amateurs helped fill the lack of information.[4] This was not the first time that amateur radio operators assisted during a blackout in New York City. On a warm evening of July 13, 1977 lightning caused a power outage across the city and most of its suburbs. Radio operators started communication nets on simplex and on a repeater located in the Chrysler building.[5] 

Source :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_Radio_Emergency_Service

If you are interested in participating in ARES in Western Massachusetts please visit this ARRL page.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 September 2013 19:27
 

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