Region 2


Emergency Operation Plan
Members Handbook

INTRODUCTION - Read This First!

The information presented here may seem overwhelming at first, but if taken in small bites (bytes) it will become more clearly understood.

The key is to realize that Rome was not built in a day.


And, in the same vein, it would be most unfair to expect a new volunteer to get up to speed (knowledge, skills and equipment) overnight.


So, Relax... Take a deep breath... and Read on.

What is ARES?

"ARES" is the Amateur Radio Emergency Service.

ARES (pronounced air'-ees) is a registered program of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO).


ARES is a Federal and State recognized Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster (VOAD) with 1 Mission:
To provide  Auxiliary Communications in the event that regular communication systems either FAIL and/or become OVERLOADED.

The ARRL has 15 Divisions covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  Each Division is further broken down into Sections.  Larger states may be divided into multiple Sections, but most states such as Connecticut are a Section unto itself.

ARES works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and provides Auxiliary Communications services for agencies such as Connecticut Offices of Emergency Management/Homeland Security (CT DEMHS), American Red Cross, and Salvation Army.  Many of our volunteers work in their local communities to help with emergency planning and communications assistance in time of need.



In a crisis, our first priority is to provide needed communications for CT DEMHS.  This is usually done through their main HQ in Hartford and the 5 Regional Emergency Operations Centers [EOC].   We go where they need us.

The next priority is providing communications for the Red Cross chapters within Connecticut.

Connecticut has been divided into 5 Regions by CT DEMHS, and CT ARES parallels the same divisions. Each of these 5 Regions has an ARES District Emergency Coordinator [DEC] appointed to oversee operations there.  Other Special DEC’s have been appointed for working specifically with the Red Cross, National Traffic System, Special Operations, and National Weather Service's SKYWARN program (ARES-SKYWARN).

District Emergency Coordinators recommend individuals for appointment to the position of Emergency Coordinators [EC]to work in specific towns or localities.  All recommendations for EC are subject to the approval of the CT ARES Section Emergency Coordinator [SEC] and the CT ARES Section Manager [SM]. The Section Manager is the elected head of the Field Organization of the American Radio Relay League.


How Much Time Do I Need To Commit?

Good News
Outside of Man-Made Events, we live in a very temperate climate where not much happens, and when it does it is usually an inconvenience.

However, it is an error to be lulled into "BLUE SKY" complacency.
- We need to keep our knowledge, skills and equipment in a READY TO GO condition.

For ARES TEAM members, "participation" is the name of the game.
You can start immediately, even if you are just starting your ARES Emergency Communiticator Individual Task Book.

We look for 7 primary ways for our members to be active in ARES.

i)    Region 2:  Monday Night Net (weekly)
      (at least once a month, more is better)

ii)   CT ARES Statewide:  Sunday Night Net (weekly)
      (at least once a quarter, more is better)

iii)  Winlink Wednesday Drill (monthly)

iv)  ARRL Field Day (annually)

      (Last full weekend in June)

v)   ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (annually)

      (usually in October)

vi)  Region 2 Surprise Readyness Drill (anytime)

vii)  Public Service Events (as available)
      Charity Walk, Run, Bike, Swim 'Athons.
      E.G. Hartford, NYC, and Boston Marathons


What Equipment Do I Need?

When ARES is really needed, we are typically facing... A DISASTER.

Being a member of ARES gives you the opportunity (and incentive) to expand your equipment beyond the basic 5 watt HT, develop superior operating skills, and discover the fun of Data Communications.

We have to plan on repeaters being off the air, and being able communicate using Simplex.

When that happens, a 5 watt dual-band (144/440 MHz) HT with a rubber duck antenna becomes less than effective in our area of operations.
Simply put, you need a better antenna and... MORE POWER.

We strongly recommend  having a dual-band (144/440 MHz) 20-50 watt mobile radio with appropriate antennas for both mobile and portable use, and/or a separate dual-band amplifier for your HT capable of at least 25 watts  (e.g. Mirage BD-35).

Data Communications capability (Tx/Rx Emails via RF) will require a Windows capable notebook computer, a TNC, and your radio.

General and Extra Class ARES members will be able to use their HF radios on 75m & 40m phone nets with an NVIS antenna, and Winlink HF  Data Communications

What Training Do I Need?



The Task Book is a working document that enables ARES® communicators to track and document the Training Plan elements as they are completed.

The Task Book should contain all Training Plan items, completion dates, and sign-offs as ARES® members transition through the 3 skill levels.

Skill Levels
Level 1 - Entry level into ARES®, includes skills learned when obtaining an Amateur Radio license
Level 2 - Includes the needed ARES® Skill Sets and Proficiencies (obtained through coursework and training).
Level 3 - Builds an I\increased Skill Set that initiates a pathway to ARES® leadership positions and assignments

As previously mentioned, the key to Training is to realize Rome was not built in a day.
So, don't worry about rushing to complete the Task Book "yesterday". 
We expect new ARES team members to easily complete Task Book Level 1 and Level 2 within 6 months of joining.

ARES® communicators are responsible for maintaining their Task Book, and having it with them during training and assignments.

The Task Book also contains sections with definitions of the communicator levels, as well as common responsibilities.

Recommendations of minimum proficiencies and skills per level are listed.

ECs, at their discretion, can add or substitute skills that they consider important.
Prior known experience may be substituted for some listed tasks.

NOTE: At the end of this Task Book is a change log page that communicators should use to keep track of changes to the Task Book.

Responsibilities of the ARES® member:

  •  Review and understand Task Book requirements
    • Identify desired objectives/goals
    • Satisfactorily demonstrate completion of tasksfor each level
    • Assure the evaluations are completed
    • Maintain and keep the Task Book up to date
    • Make Task Book available during assignments
    • Submit completed Task Book to Section Management Evaluator
    • Be knowledgeable and proficient in the tasks being evaluated and approved

Recommended Additional Programs

American Red Cross (ARC)

  • First Aid
  • CPR with AED
  • Introduction to Disaster Services


How do I Join?

Go to the CT ARES website,  http://www.ctares.org/ ,
Click ARES MEMBERSHIP in the left column.
Read that page.
Then, go to https://secure1.ema.arrl.org/qilan/ares/CT/CT_ARES_about

Complete the information sheet to the best of your abiltty.

If you have problems, just ask for help.


How is Region 2 Organized?

Region 2 comprises 30 TOWNS.

These 30 towns are grouped into 7 ZONES

- West 1, West 2, Central 1, Central 2, Central 3, East 1, East 2

The 7 Zones are grouped into 3 AREAS

- West, Central, East

The 3 AREAS then consolidate to form Region 2


The ARES organization model works on the premise that each town will have its own Emergency Coordinator [EC] and its own resident ARES TEAM, supported by Zone and Area ECs.

Right now, we are looking for capable folks to fill EC positions at all 3 levels – Area, Zone, Town.


If your town does not have an EC, and you think you have what it takes to be the EC and head up a local ARES TEAM, then contact the District Emergency Coordinator [DEC] for Region 2 and find out what is involved.
- The Work is easy, the Hours are great, the People are fantastic, and the pay is... unbelievable.(LOL!)

The District Emergency Coordinator [DEC] recommends individuals for appointment to the position of Emergency Coordinator [EC] to work in specific towns or localities.  All recommendations for EC are subject to the approval of the CT ARES Section Emergency Coordinator [SEC] and the CT Section Manager [SM]. The Section Manager is the elected head of the Field Organization of the American Radio Relay League.

How Often Is Region 2 officially "Activated"?

Answer: Infrequently.


Reason: ARES is the LAST LINE OF DEFENSE with regards to COMMUNICATIONS.



Good News & Bad News.

There are only 2 reasons for ARES to be Activated:

  1. When regular communication systems FAIL.
  2. When regular communication systems are OVERLOADED.

Fortunately, Region 2 does not normally experience events which would cause this to happen.

- This means that your ARES time commitment is quite small (avg. 3 hrs per month over the year), leaving plenty of time for the other things in your life.


Bottom Line:

No matter what the "frequency" of our activation...

We need to be Trained, Active and Ready to answer THE CALL.


What Happens when Region 2 is "Activated"?

Typically,, the state's Area Coordinator for Region 2 will call the CT ARES Section Emergency Coordinator [SEC] for assistance.

The SEC alerts the Region 2 District Emergency Coordinator [DEC].

The DEC then calls his ARES Emergency Coordinators [ECs] for assistance

The ECs alert their local ARES TEAM members.

During major events, an alert is sent out over the state repeaters and various websites alerting ARES members to prepare for deployment.

CT ARES works closely with the CT Red Cross to provide communications from operational shelters; communications are also provided for various Health Districts around the State.

Similarly, CT ARES additionally runs various drills to verify that our own Emergency Operating Plan [EOP] and procedures are instrumental in completing any given task during an emergency.

CT ARES often drills hand-in-hand with town and State officials during their exercises. Both sides are, therefore, better coordinated to operate more efficiently should an actual emergency occur.

end faq

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