Amateur Radio Disaster Preparedness

You must make sure your personally prepared for a disaster before you can even consider helping with Amateur Radio. If you are preoccupied with personal matters, you won’t be able to help us. To be ready for disaster communications, do the following:

  • Register with your local ARES group.
    • This registration helps the ARES leadership know the number of potential volunteers and their capabilities should we be called up on to provide communications services.
  • Train regularly with your local ARES group.
    • How you train today, determines how you perform tomorrow.  Attending training, participating in ARES nets, and community service activities help you lean how to be a good communicator when there are fewer distractions.  During emergency and disaster responses, the familiarity of the net routine will help keep the frequencies and communications clear.
    • Being known to your ARES leadership is also important.   They will be making decisions as to what your assignments are.   The more familiar they are with your level of training and other skill sets, the better fit can be made.
  • Have a personal/family disaster plan.
    • If you are distracted by your home situation, you will not be a valuable asset during a response.   Take care of your own first!
  • Have all resource materials you need in printed form.
    • Don’t depend on downloading your radio manual or ID from the internet.  Computers, smart phones, etc may not work during a disaster, they require electricity for charging and are relatively fragile.
  •  Practice doing things such as calling nets and handling traffic the pencil-and-paper way once in a while. Remember, you are you may not be able to spare the amp-hours or the table space to run a computer.
  • Have an Amateur Radio “go-kit” ready to supplement your personal “go kit”.
  • Upgrade your license.
    •  Many disaster communications assignments require HF privileges to move messages in and out of the disaster area.