Preparing for an Emergency
In the event of an earthquake, major fire, flood, or other disaster, your first responsibility will be to attend to the safety and well-being of your family and neighbors. Make sure you and your family are safe and secure and that your property is safe and secure before you respond as an ARES® volunteer. Next, you need to get an assessment of the situation. You will also want to determine where you may be of assistance.
The best way to accomplish this is by LISTENING. Listen to both the ARES® emergency net repeater frequency, 146.88 (-) MHz, and the Emergency Broadcast System station, WTVN 610 AM (Note that operation on the net frequency will be in a simplex mode if the repeater is out of service). If the Net Control Station (NCS) is busy handling traffic don’t interrupt just to inquire about the situation or to volunteer your services. Keep listening since further instructions will be provided by the Net Control Station including information on Resource Net operations. Follow the instructions you receive from ARES® officials in charge on the above frequency.
Plan for Family Communication
Serious concerns will arise when family members are separated at home, school, and work. Advance planning for dealing with this situation is a must. Develop plans for family rendezvous points and communication. Remember that this may not be possible for hours or perhaps even days after the event. Well-rehearsed contingency plans will reduce panic. One very effective practice is to establish a friend or relative outside the area as a check-in location for all members of the family. Everyone should carry a note with the telephone number at all times. Make certain small children know how to make a long distance telephone call even if they don’t have money.
Plan for Emergencies
Your advance preparation must include the availability of radio and personal gear appropriate to emergency operations. Use the checklists included in this section as a guide. You will be able to perform the best job if you are adequately prepared before reporting to a duty site. You also have an on-going individual responsibility to develop your emergency communication skills. In any large emergency there will be many participating amateurs who will not have the benefit of such advance preparation. The direction of disciplined net operation will be set and maintained by the active, experienced ARES® members. When the need arises, any and all volunteers may be requested, regardless of qualifications. There will be little time available to train new recruits. A smoothly functioning ARES® group can more readily make use of the less experienced volunteers.