TO: ALL WOOD COUNTY ARES MEMBERS (OFFICIAL)
ALL ARES AND NON-ARES AMATEURS ANYWHERE (INFORMATION)
FROM: KEN HARRIS WA8LLM ARRL DISTRICT 3
EMERGENCY COORDINATOR WOOD COUNTY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS INC.
WOOD COUNTY ARES BULLETIN NR 18.15 DATE: April 15, 2018
SUBJECT: DO OUR CUSTOMERS KNOW US?
As volunteer communicators, ARES and RACES members can and often do make real contributions in emergency and disaster situations, if the government agencies we work for are aware of us and our capabilities. If the ARES and RACES are known only by a limited group, most likely the agency that controls it, much of its usefulness may well be lost. The ARES and RACES is supposed to serve all branches of government involved in emergency services, not just the agency to which it is assigned to. Thus an ARES or RACES unit assigned to a fire department may pass traffic for law enforcement, medical, logistical units, and others. If any or all of these agencies are unaware of Amateur communications abilities, capabilities, and facilities, they obviously are not going to use them. Even if an agency is aware of the ARES and RACES, it is unlikely to utilize it if confidence in its reliability has not been established in advance.
Establishing awareness of and confidence with ARES and RACES is not necessarily an easy task. After all, the agencies we deal with are often highly trained professionals, unused to working with, and trusting "amateurs". Exercising together is probably the most effective method of creating the required level of trust. Regular contact between all the agencies that may need the ARES and RACES services in an emergency is vital between exercises. Since the ARES and RACES is very likely to be "the new boy on the block", the potential for these contacts will likely come from the ARES and RACES units themselves.
In short, training and becoming effective as a communications unit is only part of the job. The rest involves a selling job.
Ken Harris WA8LLM
Wood County WV