ARES is composed of licensed
radio amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and
for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.
When a disaster situation has reached the level where it has the potential to have serious consequences for a community, the level of response escalates upward and becomes the responsibility of the local municipal government. In order to prepare for the widespread intervention of municipal officials, municipalities pass by-laws and appoint a person to be responsible for the preparation of contingency plans for emergencies. Over 90% of emergencies are handled at the municipal level. The title of the person so designated may be Emergency Planning Coordinator (EPC), Emergency Planning Officer (EPO), Manager - Emergency Planning (MEP), or a similar title.
In virtually all communities in Canada, amateur radio, where it forms a part of the local emergency plans, is considered to be a volunteer resource. Amateur radio operators are generally considered to be a backup to, or a means to augment, existing telecommunications systems. In a disaster, they may become the only telecommunications system available.
The ARES team and its' Coordinators do not "run the show" for a communications emergency. Their function is to support the existing municipal and emergency telecommunications systems, and provide links with provincial and federal agencies if and as required. Amateur radio operators, who understand the process and are properly trained and regularly exercised, can be of tremendous assistance to the Municipal Emergency Measures Coordinator.
Radio Amateurs Canada (RAC) has signed several letters or memoranda of understanding with government and relief organizations that officialy recognize mutual cooperation. These agreements lay the groundwork at the national and provincial levels for joint local efforts in disasters. The local ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC) and the local Municipal EPC work together to determine local requirements and support. We currently have working agreements with the Municipality of Midland, Municipality of Penetanguishene, Township of Tay, Township of Tiny, Municipality of Wasaga Beach, and are working towards similar arrangements with other communities and townships of the West Simcoe County Sector.
With pending legislation that will direct all municipalities to develop and implement peacetime emergency plans, it may be an opportune time, for your municipality and its leaders to consider the support that may be available to you.
groups throughout the Central Ontario District, CanWarn,
and the National Traffic Service (NTS)
are all available to the local EC and EPC as required. Other relationships
exist between the
Canadian Red Cross,
Blood Services, the Salvation Army, St. John Ambulance, and Fraternal
and Civic organizations who sponsor events that provide an opportunity
for public service and at the same time allow radio amateurs to hone their
ARES Radio Comm Centre - Toronto EOC
D. Lortie - VE3REK - SGBWS ARES.
Copyright © 2003 [South Georgian Bay West Simcoe ARES]. All rights reserved.