The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is a group of dedicated, Industry Canada licensed, radio operators who volunteer their services and equipment to provide auxiliary communications in times of need. Amateur Radio operators have been doing this since 1935. We are fortunate in this country to have one of the most reliable telephone systems in the world, but in an emergency it can become overloaded and unusable. During these critical times we sometimes have to communicate in a more timely fashion to prevent loss of life and property.
ARES can be called upon in these times of crisis to help provide critical communications, to supplement, not to replace, existing radio communications systems. This service is provided free of charge. The ARES Emergency Coordinator works with municipal and provincial officials and agencies, and others, in order to maintain communications during an emergency. ARES also works with another group of Amateur Radio operators who run the National Traffic System (NTS), to send messages locally, nationally and internationally.
The head of the local ARES group is the Emergency Coordinator (EC). The EC is given the task of developing an Emergency Plan and training radio operators, to be ready in the event that normal communications are disrupted. The EC also works with ECs of neighboring counties, the District EC, and the Section EC (Ontario) during wide-spread disasters.
ARES holds drills on a regular basis, with two major exercises each year. "Field Day," in June, tests radio amateurs' ability to set up a temporary station in an unusual location, and to operate it using emergency power for 24 hours, contacting other similar stations. The "Simulated Emergency Test," in November, is an exercise for local and national emergency radio networks, particularly using the NTS to transmit emergency radio traffic. ARES encourages anyone interested to come out and see first-hand our communicators in action!
How can ARES help your organization? Discuss your needs with the ARES Emergency Coordinator; we will try to accomodate your needs. We have a videotape showing how we operate during emergencies, and would be glad to arrange a viewing for your organization.
If you're a radio amateur, and you'd like to
volunteer for ARES, contact your local Emergency
Coordinator. There is no membership fee, and you need not
belong to any other amateur organization. All you need is a
willingness to help!