(Amateur Radio Emergency Services)

    Marion County ARES Emergency Operations Plan


1. Scope

This document provides a general plan for Amateur Radio Operators within Marion County to support an emergency situation. A detailed procedure for specific

Emergencies, (such as Skywarn) may be defined in a separate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The information contained in this plan is to be used as a guide. It is not the intent of this plan to limit the action of an operator who is on site and best able to assess the prevailing conditions.


2. Definitions

ARES - Amateur Radio Emergency Service

AEC  - Assistant Emergency Coordinator

EC   - Emergency Coordinator

EOC  - Emergency Operations Center

HLS/EM - Homeland Security/Emergency Management

ICS - Incident Command System

NIMS - National Incident Management System

RACES - Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services

SEC - Section Emergency Coordinator

SM   - Section Manager

STM - Section Traffic Manager

SOP - Standard Operating Procedure

UC   - Unified Command


3. Pre-Activation Procedure

Amateurs who become aware of a developing emergency situation in which Amateur Radio support may be requested, should:

     Monitor the Pella repeater: 145.170 MHz (open)

     A tone of 203.5 will link the Pella repeater to

     the ICN (fiber optic) link.

     Simplex frequency will be 146.490.


Limit non-essential conversations (rag-chews) to make it easier for other stations to monitor.


4. Activation Procedure


4.1 Request to Activate

A request to activate an Amateur Radio response may be made by:

  Contacting a member on the Emergency Contact List.


4.2 Authorization to Activate

Formal activities begin upon the request of Marion County Homeland Security/Emergency Management or any public agency. A decision to activate may also be made by the EC or an AEC when it is apparent that an emergency exists or is imminent.


4.3 Activation Procedure

The following steps should be taken to activate an Amateur Radio response to an emergency:

  Attempt to notify the EC and all AECs via telephone or designated frequencies.

  Establish a formal net on 145.170 (open repeater) and notify all amateurs monitoring.

  Alternate repeaters:

    145.490 MHz (Tone 146.2) Oskaloosa Repeater

  Listening Amateurs should check in with net control only if requested.

  Activate the telephone call tree if it appears that maximum resources will be needed. (telephone tree will be formed and incorporated at a later date)


5. Operational Procedures


5.1 Command and Control

The command hierarchy is as follows (in descending order):

  Marion County Homeland Security/Emergency Management

  Public Safety Agency being served

  Relief Agency being served

  EC, AEC or his/her designee

  Net Control station

Routine direction should be given by Net Control. The EC or AEC should provide direction via net control whenever practical. Specific direction may be given by the event coordinator at the request of the requesting

agency or organization.


5.2 Net Control Operation

The net control operator has the responsibility of maintaining contact with all participants, and assuring that the requested operations are being carried out.

To facilitate this, he/she should:

  Limit traffic to highest priority if traffic levels are high.

  Keep a log of all participants on frequency.

  Periodically confirm contact with each participant.

  (This helps spot dead HT batteries or other communications problems.)

  Check progress on individual assignments

  Temporarily redirect specific traffic to alternate frequencies if necessary.


5.3 Marion County Homeland Security/Emergency Management Liaison

There should be a person located at Emergency Management (a different person than Net Control) to pass relevant reports to Homeland Security/Emergency

Management. This person should man a secondary radio in the EOC radio room.

Due to the level of activity in the EOC radio room, the liaison should monitor the net and present only relevant traffic to Homeland Security/Emergency Management.

Homeland Security/Emergency Management can then request additional information via the liaison as necessary.


5.4 Agency Liaison/Event Coordinator

There should be an Amateur Radio operator assigned as liaison with each served agency or organization. His/her duties are to:

  Plan staging areas

  Prepare general information for participants,

  Select a net control operator (if a net is established specifically to support the organization's activities),

  Assign locations for participants or delegate that responsibility to net control,

  Pass on requests for information or action from the requesting agency,

  Pass collected information back to the requesting agency.


5.5 Maintaining Emergency Contacts

An Amateur with the capability to request emergency assistance shall be maintained during all activities. Methods to accomplish this (in order of

preference) are as follows:

  An Amateur located at the appropriate EOC, Police, Homeland Security/Emergency Management official, Fire, or Ambulance dispatch center.

  An Amateur shadowing a participating Police, Fire or Ambulance member.

  An Amateur base station with a telephone.

  An Amateur with a Cellular Telephone.

  An Amateur with Autopatch capability.

  A designated Amateur with access to (able to drive or walk to) a public telephone.


5.6 Staging Procedures

A staging area, where hams meet before going to the site of an incident, has many advantages. An organized group may have fewer problems getting through

roadblocks, parking may be an issue at the site, people are less likely to get lost, equipment failure is less likely to be a problem, etc. The ideal staging area is outside the affected area, easy to find, and near a main road leading to the affected area. In a large emergency, the resource net control team may have a member at the staging area, checking people in and

out, and making sure that they have sufficient batteries, gasoline, food, water, clothing, sleeping bags, etc. The location of this staging area should be selected after consultation with other groups. Amateurs are discouraged from going directly to a disaster site unless authorized by net control or by some other prior agreement.


5.7 Establishing Nets on Alternate Frequencies

Alternate repeaters or simplex frequencies may be established for specific functions (e.g. evacuation shelters, health and welfare, specific response

agencies) as needed to keep traffic to manageable levels. These alternate nets may be formal or informal (i.e. with or without a net control station).

However, each net shall always designate one station to act as liaison with the coordination net.

It is important that the location and function of all participating Amateurs be known. Therefore, Amateurs should not join these alternate nets unless directed to do so by the net control station on 145.170 MHz or alternate frequencies determined by net control.


5.8 Resource Management

One person should be responsible for handling resource requests and tracking resource assignments. Resources tracked are both human and Amateur provided property. Stations shall check in and out of assignments with him. Normally, this function will be performed by 145.170 net control. However, if the resource management activity exceeds the capability of net control, there should be an additional Amateur designated for this function, preferably operating from the EOC station console.

Note that this function does not attempt to manage resources at a specific incident. This is the responsibility of the Incident Commander. The Amateur

resource management function exists to manage the distribution of Amateur resources between multiple incidents plus agencies functioning outside an

established Incident Command System (ICS).


6. Termination

Participation is terminated at the discretion of the requesting agency.  Individual members that wish to terminate early should notify net control so a replacement may be designated.


7. Identification


7.1 Personal Identification

There has been no standard established for identification of Amateur personnel at this time.  Necessary identification for entry into a restricted area will be provided by the controlling agency. ID's will not guarantee entry into a secured area.  Amateur Radio ID's are to be used only for events we have been asked to assist in.


7.2 Vehicle Identification

There has been no standard established for vehicle identification. However, appropriate magnetic signs or cards placed in the windshield is encouraged.

While this identification will not automatically provide access to controlled areas, it will assist other agencies to identify an Amateur when one is


NOTE: If an amateur is challenged at a Security entry point, and after showing a proper Amateur Radio ID (when issued) and is asked or told to leave,

DON'T ARGUE! Report back to the NCS that you were refused entry.


8. Security and Access

Certain situations may require Amateur participation within an area or facility  that has been closed to public access. In these situations, a

staging area should be established outside the perimeter, but close to an access control point. One Amateur should act as liaison to the officer in

charge at the access control point. The liaison's function would be to identify the Amateur requesting entry, and issue any necessary identification.

For future study:

What identification will be issued, where, and by whom? Would it be better (permissible) to issue identification at the staging area instead of at the

access control point?

NOTE: By being in a secure area or working with served agency personnel, you will observe and hear information that could be sensitive in content. Any

amateur that is questioned by unknown persons or possible media shall refer

all questions to a Public Information Officer (PIO) or chairperson of the event or an official of the agency you may be working with.  


9. Participant Safety

While a disaster situation may require the taking of certain calculated risks

in order to accomplish the mission, ARES members are ultimately responsible for their own safety and should take no action that places themselves in jeopardy.

In a questionable situation, pull back and report your situation to Net Control.


10. Liability

Amateurs shall assume they are operating at their own risk.



Suggested Staging Areas


Northeast Marion County: Pella Fire Dept or Pella Community Ambulance Office.


Northwest Marion County:


Southwest Marion County:


Southeast Marion County:


Central Marion County:


Last Rev. Sept. 2007