Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)


  1. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance if you need it. If you don't know how to complete an assigned task, state that you don't know how to do it rather than mess it up and potentially put life in danger.

  2. When arriving at an incident site where ARES can provide support in any way, ARES members shall wear the approved safety green vest, shirt, jacket, or coat, as appropriate. The membership badge shall be displayed in plain view on the outside of the outermost garment. The approved safety green hat is optional. This is your uniform.

  3. If your approved ARES uniform is not available for any reason, wear an ANSI approved vest, safety green in color, which has reflective properties.

  4. Anderson PowerpolesŪ are the standard power connector to use for Auxilliary Communications. If we all use Powerpoles, everyone's equipment will be able to be connected to others' power sources and vice versa. Powerpole video tutorials can be found here.

  5. Create a go kit. Some recommended items to put into your ARES go kit include but are not limited to: LED flashlight with spare batteries, rain poncho, hand-held radio with spare battery pack and charger, pocket knife, safety glasses, leather work gloves or mechanics gloves.

  6. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you ever provide any information as to the victim names, condition of the individuals, or gravity of the situation over the radio or to the media.

  7. Keep transmissions as short as possible without losing message clarity.

  8. Using the phrases "negative contact" and/or "clear and monitoring" is not necessary. Neither is required by the FCC or anybody else. If you call another amateur using standard calling procedure - giving his/her call sign followed by your own call sign - and that person does not answer, it is not necessary to advise that you did not complete your contact nor that you are "clear." You have already identified your station, and any other identification is superfluous and a waste of valuable time.

  9. Your Amateur call sign serves one, and only one, purpose - it is only for identification. You never need to say the words "for identification" after your call sign since that is the only purpose of your call sign.

  10. Use tactical call signs when appropriate. Tactical call signs make identification of various personnel much easier on the air. Tactical calls also relieve you of the necessity of remembering others' legal FCC call signs. You are never responsible for the call sign of another station. When using tactical calls, be sure you identify your station once during each 10-minute period and when you've finished your series of communications, according to the FCC rules.

  11. Wait before speaking. When using a repeater, be sure to leave a little extra time between pressing the microphone's push-to-talk key and beginning to speak. Usually a count of "one, one thousand" is adequate. Failure to do this is probably the most common voice communication mistake that we all make. A variety of delays can occur within a radio system that will cause the first few words of your transmission to be lost if you begin talking too soon. Providing this extra time will ensure that all of your message is heard. If you start speaking too soon, the receiving station will have to ask you to repeat the first part of your last transmission, wasting valuable time.

  12. For all voice operation, use only plain English and standard "prowords" (procedural words). "Q" signals are only for CW; never speak "Q" signals.

  13. Speak slowly and clearly with a calm, normal tone - not a monotone. Speak with confidence, even if you are nervous.

  14. Acknowledge requests promptly and specifically.

  15. When requested to "stand by," the proper response is silence. If you feel that you must acknowledge, just say your call sign and then wait. Say absolutely nothing else to the station who told you to stand by.

  16. Read your radio's owner's manual and know your radio before an emergency occurs. Random fumbling with the knobs wastes valuable time and is very unprofessional.

  17. Know how to use your microphone. Have another station advise you on the best distance and angle from your mouth to the microphone, and the proper mic gain setting. You may have to adjust your mic technique to compensate for increased background noise - talking louder will likely cause overmodulation or distortion. Articulate, don't slur.

  18. When operating in a noisy environment, you do not have to be able to hear yourself talking. If you shout into the microphone loud enough to hear yourself, you are distorting the signal so badly that the person on the other end may not be able to hear or understand you. Instead, speak into the microphone in a normal volume.

  19. NEVER think out loud. If you need a moment to consider what to do next, say something like "stand by" or "please wait" and unkey your microphone while you think.

  20. NEVER speak to, shout, or yell at others near you NOT on the radio while your microphone key is pressed. If you need a moment to talk to someone not on the air, unkey your microphone while you communicate with someone near you who is not on the radio.

  21. Transmit only facts. If there is a real need to make an educated guess or to speculate, make it clear to others that it is only speculation and not fact.

  22. In an emergency, refer event status questions to the Public Information Officer (PIO) or to your Emergency Coordinator (EC). Avoid casual discussions about the served agencies' response efforts on the air, since the press or the general public might be listening and take information out of context.

  23. When necessary, use standard ITU phonetics. Send all numbers as individual numbers, e.g., 334 is "three three four" not "three hundred thirty four."

  24. If a repeater is being used for communications, in the event the repeater goes off the air, stations are directed to meet on the repeater output frequency in SIMPLEX mode.

  25. more to come