Q - What is the meaning of spontaneous?
A – doing things that have not been planned but that seem enjoyable and worth doing at a particular time.
Q - What is a volunteer?
A – a person who does work without getting paid for it.
When disasters happen there are always spontaneous volunteers showing up at the disaster site looking to be of service in some way. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) is planning on having spontaneous volunteer amateur radio operators show up as well. They will be vetted and placed accordingly.
Spontaneous volunteers have some skillsets that might be usable when a disaster hits, but they are not fully qualified for the task at hand. They have not trained with the EMCOMM group so are considered planning unknowns. Maybe with some expedient training they can be brought to a level of expertise and with the proper supervision could be of use in an EMCOMM situation. But, this is NOT the time for on-the-job training. Spontaneous volunteers most likely will not have the proper credentials which keeps them from being used in critical positions.
DO NOT GO TO THE DISASTER SITE LOOKING TO BE OF SERVICE. Just like ARES® members before reporting for deployment there are some things spontaneous volunteers must take care of first. Before responding for duty, the following conditions must be met.
1. Be sure all family members are safe. This includes the family pets and/or livestock.
2. Be sure the property is secure.
3. Check in on the neighbors or elderly people in the neighborhood to see if they need help. Don’t forget the shut-ins in the neighborhood either. This can be a critical task and be the only task a spontaneous volunteer will do. They will have communications capabilities of calling for help or give a status report.
4. Monitor the following:
a. Check for messages from the Citizens Alert Network.
b. Emergency Alert System (AES), (KLAQ FM, KROD AM or KTSM FM) KFOX Channel 14 or KTSM channel 7.
c. TXDOT TIS radio (1610 KZ for emergency information from Emergency Management.
5. Tune an amateur radio to 146.52 MHz simplex to obtain further information given on the ARES® Information Net.
6. Determine what the level of activation is and prepare to get to that level as soon as possible. This includes getting the radio go-kit and emergency personal kit ready.
Once ready tune the amateur radio to 146.70 MHz repeater and listen for the ARES® Resource Net. Follow instructions provided by the net control. DO NOT SELF ACTIVATE, or DO NOT SELF DEPLOY.
1. While at the Staging Area be sure to obtain an ICS 205A (Communications List).
2. Once at the assigned destination initiate an ICS 214 (Activity Log) if no other amateur radio operators are present, and an ICS 309 (Communications Log).
3. Use an ICS 213 (General Message) form when precise records are required. Be sure all messages are properly signed by an agency personnel.
4. Use the tactical call sign of the assignment location. However, observe the FCC rules for station ID (Part 97.119).
5. ALWAYS monitor your assigned frequency.
The terms ARES® and Amateur Radio Emergency Service® is both registered trademarks of the American Radio Relay League, Inc. and are used by permission.
Questions and comments are always welcome and encouraged. Send email to the address shown below.
Lew Maxwell, KB5HPT
Amateur Radio Emergency Services®
DEC, District 6, WTX Section
Tactical Address: TXEPCARESDEC