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EmComm Overview – Introduction to Emergency Communications Compiled by Steve Hilberg, N9XDC EC, ARES ® of Champaign Cou PowerPoint Presentation
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EmComm Overview – Introduction to Emergency Communications Compiled by Steve Hilberg, N9XDC EC, ARES ® of Champaign County, IL January 2006. Emergency Communications. Foundation . Attitude Training Preparedness. Attitude.

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EmComm Overview – Introduction to Emergency Communications

Compiled by Steve Hilberg, N9XDC

EC, ARES® of Champaign County, IL

January 2006






During emergencies, your knowledge in emergency communications is not actually as important as your attitude!

  • Commitment to help others
    • We are providing a service
  • Commitment to the training that will enable you to do the job
  • Willingness to spend the time necessary to train and respond
  • Our purpose is NOT to showcase the wonders of amateur radio
  • Let your attitude and your actions speak for themselves
  • Specially designated FCC-licensed RACES stations
  • Amateur Radio operators registered with civil defense/emergency management organizations as a pool of community volunteers authorized to operate in the RACES service upon a declaration of an emergency by civil defense authorities.
  • Operate under FCC Part 97.407 in the event the President invoked an emergency under the War Emergency Powers of 1934
    • Only RACES stations may communicate with other RACES stations
    • Cannot begin RACES operations until specifically authorized by the civil defense organization for the area served
    • Cannot begin conducting advisory and preparatory nets before an activation
    • Cannot continue relief operations after official civil defense authorization/operations has concluded
  • Limited to specific frequencies
  • Drills and tests cannot exceed one hour per week
  • Tests and drills may be conducted for a period not to exceed 72 hours no more than twice in any calendar year
  • ARES operators can initiate nets and operations ahead of formal RACES activations
  • Can continue to operate providing relief, health and welfare communications after the formal RACES operations conclude
  • ARES may activate for emergencies that do not require civil defense/EMA response
  • ARES can provide public service (i.e. non-emergency) communications
  • ARES operations and structure provide training opportunities that are not available to RACES
  • Pubic service events provide opportunities to practice teamwork, build confidence, and improve ability to provide emergency communications
what we need to do to become better emergency communicators
What We Need to Do To Become Better Emergency Communicators
  • Education and training
    • Needs to be a continuous process
  • Become familiar with emergency management concepts
    • Incident Command System (ICS)
    • National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • Have adequate communications and support equipment (“GO” kit)
what we need to do
What We Need to Do
  • Learn about emergency communications procedures
    • ARRL Emcomm courses
    • Pat Lambert’s (W0IPL) emcomm material
    • Local training
  • Learn about emergency communications equipment and modes
  • Know and follow guidelines
emcomm guidelines
Emcomm Guidelines
  • Formal traffic
    • Traffic on behalf of a served agency
    • Pass exactly as written
  • Informal (tactical) traffic
    • Originated by operator
    • Think about what you are going to say before you key up the mic
emcomm guidelines18
Emcomm Guidelines
  • Be brief and concise
    • Use only information needed to convey meaning clearly and accurately
    • Leave out unnecessary words if it will not change the meaning
    • Do not use contractions
  • Slow down!
    • Maintain a slow measured pace
      • If you feel you are talking too slowly, then you are probably at the correct pace
    • Leave a 3 or 4 second break between transmissions
emcomm guidelines19
Emcomm Guidelines
  • Do not editorialize
  • Do not rationalize/defend your actions
    • Leave it for the debrief
    • Two-way communication requires listening.
  • Use plain language
    • No jargon, “Q” signals, or 10 codes
emcomm guidelines20
Emcomm Guidelines
  • Use standard ITU phonetics
    • No cutesy stuff – maintain a professional demeanor
  • Pronounce numbers as individuals
    • “seven zero”, not “seventy”
  • Get all info needed for formal written traffic
    • Who, what, when, where
emcomm guidelines21
Emcomm Guidelines
  • Use tactical calls
    • “Hey you, it’s me.”
      • “Net Control, Checkpoint One”
    • Use AR call sign at the conclusion of your transmission. This lets the other person know you are finished with your communication
a new concept

A New Concept


break tags
Break Tags
  • A new method of getting attention and establishing message priority
  • Seven one-word break tags
  • Have been used with great success in large public/emergency services nets
break tags24
Break Tags
  • Operator uses the word specified as a Break Tag without a call sign.
  • They are to be used only when the operator's traffic will be appreciated by net control and results in more efficient communication.
  • Message that follows a break should be as short as possible
break tags definitions and use
Break TagsDefinitions and Use
    • To be used when you have the definitive answer to a question currently being discussed on the air
    • To be used when the asking of a question can't wait
      • For example, use when the mayor is standing next to you and requesting you to get information using your radio
break tags definitions and use26
Break TagsDefinitions and Use
  • INFO
    • To be used when information needs to be transmitted rapidly but is not related to what is being said on the air
      • for example, if an event that net control needs to know about is going to happen in the next few seconds or if waiting for the end of an exchange will negate the value of the information
break tags definitions and use27
Break TagsDefinitions and Use
    • To be used to report an important but non-life threatening situation such as a traffic accident that just happened
    • To be used to report a minor medical incident that affects the operator in some way
      • For example, having to leave his/her post for a few minutes to walk someone with a minor cut over to a med tent
break tags definitions and use28
Break TagsDefinitions and Use
    • Only to be used to report an ongoing life or property threatening or damaging incident
  • Your CALL SIGN
    • An indication that the operator has traffic that can wait and does not require the cessation of the ongoing exchange. This tag is an expectation to be put on hold and in queue for transmission