Emergency Response Plan


Procedures for Government Officials

Activation may be requested by any agency or organization signatory to this plan by contacting one of the Arapahoe County ARES activating officials listed in Appendix G (activating officials). The requesting official will use the format in Appendix G when contacting the Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service Emergency Coordinator or his/her representative as stated below:

ACARES Members will normally be notified by the ACARES callout procedure. This procedure lists all members and all means to contact ACARES members.

If there is a widespread communications emergency where normal telephone communication is unavailable, the Emergency Alert System (EAS) may be used to activate ARES. To facilitate personnel activation during emergency conditions, an authorized local government official may contact the Arapahoe County Operational Area EAS station (KOA Radio) and request that a public service announcement be made to assist with the activation of the Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service organization. Member activation in this case may also require that members drive to other member's homes to inform them of the emergency

Pre-mobilization Prior to Activation

Any Officer or assigned Net Control operator may choose to bring up an operation's net on an informal basis if direct observation or information from a reliable source indicates that activation is expected. No assignments or staging will be made until Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service is officially activated for emergency communications support.

Net Protocols

Upon activation, the initial Operations Net frequency will be the Arapahoe County ARES primary frequency. The Net Control Station (NCS) will establish a formal net and receive check-ins from responding district members. Stations must check in by giving their FCC assigned call sign. The EC or NCS will request Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service members to:

•  Proceed to a predetermined communications channel,

•  Stand by,

•  Report to a staging area with the appropriate equipment, or

•  Report to a public official or agency.

In most cases a single person cannot do an adequate job of being net control. A second person at the same location can provide needed breaks, keep records, log messages, keep track of station locations, help identify improvements to the response plan, and get food and water for the NCS. A "runner" may also be needed to hand-deliver traffic to officials in the EOC. This runner may be an ARES member or a volunteer for the agency. In no cases will the Net Control Operator leave the radio without first turning Net Control duties over to another ARES member (Backup Net control).

•  Operations Net : The Operations Net is where the bulk of the radio traffic occurs. This is a controlled net that utilizes a primary net control operator and a backup. Because the backup operator assists with logging of traffic as well as provides relief, both operators must be at the same location. The Operations Net may also function as a Resource net in smaller incidents. In most cases, the frequency used will be the primary ACARES frequency as outlined in the Appendix. In cases where the incident is located outside the Denver Metro area in the eastern part of Arapahoe County, the primary backup frequency is to be used.

All traffic on the Operations Net is directed to Net Control. If a unit comes into a critical situation, that unit or Net Control may “request the air”. This means that the unit is either in trouble or needs emergency use of the net. All units will maintain radio silence on this frequency until notified by Control to resume other traffic. In cases such as these, the Operations Net may be moved to another Frequency until the immediate emergency situation is over. Net Control may also restrict traffic on this frequency should the need arise for other urgent situations.

•  Resource Net : The Resource Net is activated in larger incidents to handle the large number of amateur radio operator check-ins. Although two net control operators are recommended, one net control operator may be all that is needed for this type of net. The Resource Net may be located in a separate location from the Operation Net Control. However, reliable communication must be maintained between the two locations and with ACARES command staff. This may be in the form of landline or radio. The net control operator is to keep the ACARES command staff informed of the status and availability of all ARES personnel. In all cases, the Resource Net will be conducted on a local, not a wide area repeater.

•  Car-to-Car or Administrative Net . This net (which may be called “channel 2”) can be utilized for all non-emergent unit-to-unit traffic. In the event a member of command staff or other ARES member needs to ask a question or make an inquiry, the Operations Net may be too busy. The calling station should contact Net Control for permission to change to this frequency. Once permission is given, the calling and other station move to “channel 2” and pass their traffic. Once the traffic has been passed, both stations will return to the Operations Net frequency immediately. The frequency used in most cases will be a local repeater (possibly a UHF repeater). However, simplex may be used. The frequency each unit is changing to will be assigned by Net Control so that Net Control can always contact the units.

Data Communications Net

Data communications circuits can be set up on a point-to-point, relay, or coordination configuration to allow the transfer of written communications between served agencies. Data Communications Nets are particularly useful for transmitting lists of data accurately, or information where reception by scanners or other listeners should be avoided. An example of this is a list of casualties.

Data communications nets usually require facility support that includes 110-volt AC electricity. Desk space with access to power is also needed. However, there is some limited capability in Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service for self-contained packet support.

•  Other Nets : Other types of nets may be established as the need warrants. Examples include Health and Welfare, Weather, and Traffic Nets.

Net Activation

To begin an informal net, NCS will announce as follows:

"Attention Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service. Attention Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service. This is ( call sign ) activating the Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service net on the ( frequency) repeater. This is an informal net supporting ( served agency(s) ). All stations using this repeater are requested to leave breaks between transmissions to allow for emergent or priority traffic. Check-ins are now being accepted. Please state your name, call sign, and availability for assignment."

For the Operations Net, NCS will activate the net as follows:

"Attention Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service. Attention Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service. This is ( call sign ) activating the Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service Net on the ( frequency) repeater. This is a directed net supporting ( served agency(s) ). All traffic must be directed through Net Control. Stations on this frequency not participating should not transmit unless directed by net control to do so. Check-ins are now being accepted. Please state your name, call sign, and availability for assignment."

Every 30 minutes (at the top and bottom of the hour), net control will announce that the net is still in progress. The recommended format is:

“This is ( call sign) , Control for the (Incident Name) , supporting the (agency(s)) . This is a directed net by the Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service. Stations on this frequency not participating should not transmit unless directed by Net Control to do so”.

Amateur response without activation

Any member of Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service who, for any reason, suspects a communications emergency exists and has not been alerted by a callout should monitor the assigned control net frequency for activity. This should be done if either:

Direct observations indicate that an emergency condition might exist, or an alert or warning is issued by the Colorado Emergency Action Notification System (EAS) or by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio.

If local telephone service is available, Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service members should notify the EC, any Officer, or a Team Leader of the situation and the source of the information.

Procedures for Non-Arapahoe County ARES Amateur Radio Operators

Non Arapahoe County ARES member amateurs living within the immediate area should monitor the net control frequency in the event that additional assistance is needed. Depending on the nature of the emergency, NCS will ask for additional volunteers over the air or direct listening amateurs to telephone the Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Operations Center. If possible, non-ARES members should be assigned to an ACARES member until their abilities and qualifications have been assessed.


Establish Temporary Net Control

This is an important step. Net Control must be established immediately to track responding members. The first Net Control will be temporary and can be run from a station's home. Once a permanent Net Control is established, the temporary Net Control can proceed to his/her assignment.

Take Check-ins

Once a member is checked into the net, that person's status and whereabouts must be tracked until the end of the incident and the member arrives at home or the member checks out of the net. All members will advise Net Control when they are enroute and arrived at their assignment.

Give initial assignments

The Emergency Coordinator, the Operations Officer or the Officer in Charge will give the initial assignments after consultation with the served agency. Appendix G outlines the information that should be collected from the Served Agency Official. Based on this information, assignments should be given, keeping in mind that a second or third shift may be required .

Establish Staging Area

This is an optional step, depending on the level of response. With a large incident requiring a large response, it might be better to establish a staging area and give assignments at that time. This staging area will be separate from the incident staging area but should be close.

Establish Net Control for Shift

Get report and list of assignments from temporary net control. The list of assignments should include assignment locations, official(s) to shadow, and enroute or arrival time.

Take control of net

When Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service is activated, the NCS Operator will usually proceed to the either the dispatch Center or Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the served agency. While the operator is en route, a temporary net control from a home station can monitor the frequency and conduct an informal information net. Should traffic become heavy, the temporary Net Control should be prepared to change the Net to formal operations. This will help responding stations to receive general information on the nature of the emergency so they can mobilize quickly. If time is critical, the temporary net control can start assigning volunteers to pre-selected locations. When the NCS Operator arrives at the EOC, he or she should find the person in charge and request a briefing.

Once the NCS Operator arrives at dispatch or the EOC and is updated on the emergency situation, he or she will activate the formal net activities.

ASK WHAT IMMEDIATE SPECIFIC TASKS THE SERVED AGENCY AUTHORITIES WOULD LIKE THE AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS TO PERFORM. Discuss the possibilities for amateur radio involvement and assistance and quickly devise an “INITIAL game plan" for deployment of volunteers. The crux of the initial game plan is to:

1) Determine sites where extra communication support is required:

•  Blockade points,

•  Shelters,

•  On-site canteens (such as Salvation Army),

•  Welfare agencies (such as Red Cross),

•  Hospitals and triage sites,

•  Observation posts (e.g. severe weather, crowds, flooding)

•  Civil agency headquarters (such as fire stations),

•  Operators assigned to “shadow” officials,

•  Search and rescue teams,

•  Site command post, and

•  Damage assessment teams.

2) Determine who is capable of responding with appropriate equipment and abilities:

•  Portable units,

•  Mobile units,

•  Base units,

•  Packet units

•  Relay units

•  ATV


Put Game Plan into Action

At this time inform the listening amateurs of the current situation and QUICKLY outline the initial game plan without going into great detail.

•  Request check-ins according to unit capability, e.g., "I need four base units. Who can assist immediately as a base unit? Please call Control now."

•  Assign units per initial game plan. Make sure the ARES member contact the person in charge before performing any duties. The ARES member should receive a briefing as to the situation and what may be expected of him/her.

•  When the unit reports back to NCS that he or she is in place and active, ask him or her to report the name of the person in charge of their site. Log this information.

Logging Traffic

The main job of NCS is to facilitate the clearing of traffic and maintaining control of the frequencies. NCS must keep a log of traffic and messages sent and received. This log should also track the receipt and acknowledgment time of all messages sent over the net. NCS should periodically review the log to identify messages that appear to be undelivered or unacknowledged and follow up on their delivery status (Appendix F, ICS-309, Communications Log).

Field Station Coordination

NCS must keep a roster of the calls and locations that Amateur Radio Operators have been assigned to in support of the net. At least once per hour, NCS should check on stations that have not been heard from for a period of time to determine that they are OK and still on the net.

Although every attempt is made not to have Amateur Radio Operators respond to situations that may be hazardous, these situations may arise during the course of an assignment. If an emergency should arise, the ARES Operator should inform Net Control immediately and move to a place of safety. Net Control will immediately suspend all traffic (also known as “Requesting the air”) except for the station in danger. Other stations may be told to change to another frequency. Once the station is out of danger, Net Control will advise all stations that the frequency is returning to normal/emergency use.

Each ARES operator must keep a log of activities and traffic from his/her assignment. A summary of the activities is entered on the Operator Briefing Sheet (Appendix E) and given to the relief operator. All Operator Briefing Sheets are to be saved and given to the Emergency Coordinator at the conclusion of the emergency. This is to assist with the after action report.

Closing the Net

After the emergency situation is under control and the served agency no longer needs ARES assistance, NCS should:

•  Systematically check out each volunteer. ACCOUNT FOR ALL VOLUNTEERS. KNOW THAT EACH FIELD OPERATOR IS SAFE AND IS HOME OR HEADING HOME (use the Arapahoe County ARES check in sheet),

•  Close the net using the following text:

"This is your call sign with Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service. Command is terminated and the net is now closed. I would like to thank everyone for the response and assistance. Special thanks to the ( name of the repeater club ) for the use of their repeater. This is ( your call sign ) returning the repeater to normal operation.”

•  Announce the location and time of the post-mortem (or incident debrief). The Emergency Coordinator, Operations Officer or other AEC will advise Control of the location and time.

•  Clean up the MESS!

Duty Station Guidelines

1) Checking In

When Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service has been activated, a control net will be established on the primary Arapahoe County ARES frequency (See Appendix 1). For Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service, the following procedures apply:

•  Check into the control net regardless of any Arapahoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service pre-assignment.

•  Monitor the control net until you are assigned to a duty station.

•  Do not call the NCS while NCS is talking to another station. Never interrupt stations that are passing traffic unless you have traffic of higher precedence. Wait for NCS to give his/her call sign and give the current time before calling. Remember to leave breaks between transmissions.

•  Get the attention of the NCS by either saying your call suffix, stating only your tactical call or Amateur call sign. The word EMERGENCY TRAFFIC is reserved for stations with emergency traffic only. Once net control has acknowledged your call, you may then state your business clearly and concisely. If you have a pre-assigned ARES location or function, advise NCS when checking into the control net.

•  NCS will assign you to a duty station when needed. DO NOT continue to call NCS asking or volunteering for an assignment! NCS has recorded your availability and capability and will call you when needed.

Mutual Aid

Although most times, Arapahoe County ARES has sufficient resources to handle most emergencies, there are occasions where additional assistance is needed.

In those incidents where mutual aid is necessary, ARES members from outside the district will be partnered with a member of Arapahoe County ARES until such time as both members feel comfortable with the assignment. There may be instances where outside help, although desirable, may not be in everyone's best interest. An example is a flood where main roads are impassible. ARES members from outside Arapahoe County may find it difficult to navigate unknown roads and may become casualties themselves.

Arapahoe County ARES maintains mutual aid agreements with all of the neighboring ARES districts. The COPLAN and the COPLAN appendix details as contact information and frequencies neighboring districts.

In the event that mutual aid is needed, a second frequency is needed to handle the additional radio traffic from check- ins. This resource net will be manned continuously per the ACARES Resource Net Protocol.

In a large-scale incident and especially one that has media attention, many amateurs may contact ARES members to volunteer to help. These volunteers should be advised to stay at their current location and not to respond at this time. Take their name, call sign and phone number and pass this information to the EC, Operations Officer or one of the officers. Under no circumstances should ARES members have these types of volunteers report to the incident site(s).


Appendix A - Arapahoe County ARES Frequencies

Appendix B - ITU to APCO Phonetic Conversion

Appendix C – Hospital Locations

Appendix D – Tactical Call Signs

Appendix E – Operator Briefing Sheet

Appendix F – ICS-309, Communications Log

Appendix A - Frequencies





Denver Radio League

Primary repeater (100.0 CTCSS tone)


Denver Radio League

Backup repeater (100.0 CTCSS tone)


Aurora Repeater Association

Secondary repeater (88.5 CTCSS tone)


Denver Radio League

Primary UHF repeater


Castle Rock Repeater Group

Secondary UHF Repeater

3.935 MHz


Primary HF frequency



Primary VHF simplex frequency



Secondary VHF Simplex


Denver Radio League

Primary Packet frequency (DRLBBS)



Secondary Packet Frequency (no fulltime Digi)



Primary UHF Simplex



Simplex to monitor if there is a repeater failure

Appendix B - ITU to APCO Phonetics

ITU Phonetics

APCO Phonetics





















































Appendix C – Hospital Locations

The Medical Center of Aurora
1501 S Potomac Street
Denver, CO 80012

Main Number: (303) 695-2600

Emergency Department: 303-695-2780

Map to Medical Center of Aurora

Hospital is located east of I-225 and approximately ½ mile south of Mississippi on Potomac (west side of Potomac). The hospital is the furthest south building in the complex.

Emergency Department is located at the southeast corner of the south building.

HealthOne Swedish Hospital

501 East Hampden Ave

Englewood, CO 80113

Map to Swedish Hospial

Hospital main entrance is located in Englewood off of Old Hampden Avenue (north side) north of Hwy 285 and east of Broadway. Emergency Room is located near the intersection of Pennsylvania St and Girard Ave on the northwest side of the hospital complex.

Porter Adventist Hospital
2525 South Downing Street
Denver, CO 80210

Main Number: 303-778-1955

Emergency Department: 303-778-5666

Map to Porter Hospital

Porter Adventist Hospital is located at the southeast corner of Downing and Harvard. The Emergency Room entrance is located east of Downing on Harvard.

Centennial Medical Plaza

14200 E. Arapahoe Rd.
Centennial, CO 80012

Main Number: 303-699-3000

Emergency Department: 303-699-3060

Map to Centennial Medical Plaza

Centennial Medical Plaza is located on the south side of Arapahoe Road between Potomac and Jordan.

Emergency Room is located in the northeast corner of the main building.

Littleton Adventist Hospital
7700 South Broadway
Littleton, CO 80122

Main Number: 303-730-8900

Emergency Department: 303-730-5800

Map to Littleton Hospital

Hospital is located on East side of Broadway Blvd between Dry Creek Rd and Mineral Ct.

Appendix D - Tactical Call Signs



Porter Adventist Hospital

Porter Hospital

Littleton Adventist Hospital

Littleton Hospital

Swedish Hospital

Swedish Hospital

Craig Rehabilitation Hospital

Craig Hospital

Centennial Medical Plaza

Centennial Medical Plaza

Aurora Medical Center – South Location

Aurora South Hospital

Aurora Medical Center – North Location

Aurora North Medical

Arapahoe County EOC

Arapahoe EOC

Arapahoe Sheriff's Office Dispatch

Arapahoe Dispatch

Aurora EOC

Aurora EOC

Aurora Police/Fire Dispatch

Aurora Dispatch

Aurora Fire Stations

Aurora Fire # (numbered same as stations)

Littleton EOC

Littleton EOC

Littleton Dispatch

Littleton Dispatch

Littleton Fire Stations

Littleton Fire # (numbered same as stations)

South Metro Fire Stations

South Metro Fire # (numbered same as stations)

Appendix E – Operator Briefing Sheet

Appendix F, ICS-309 Communications Log

Appendix G, Served Agency Activation Plan (Contact Emergency Coordinator)