ARES Manual - FREE

Here is another FREE manual from the ARRL that should be a must read to understand the scope of ARES and how it relates to RACES.  It also gives and overview of the SM, SEC, DEC, EC, AEC chain of command and responsibilities. It also covers the duties of the OES, PIC, PIO.

This manual should be a must read for every ARES member.  It's less than 100 pages and can be read in a weekend.

Follow this link to download it.

Emergency Coordinator Manual - FREE

The ARRL Emergency Coordinator's Manual is a FREE manual from the ARRL website. To make it easy to find here is a link to the FREE ARRL Emergency Coordinator's Manual.  

This manual can give any ARES member great insight in the the entire ARES/ARRL orginzation. This should be a must read for every ARES member.  It goes in to great detail what the roles are of the SM, SEC, DEC, EC, AECs and other aspects of the ARRL Field Services.  
















































































































































ICS 309

ICS-100 Training Overview

ICS-100 Training Overview


Introduction to ICS

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a management concept that can be used to manage almost any event, whether an emergency incident, a public service activity, or another project of any kind. It can be used equally well for both small and large situations, and it can grow or shrink in size as the needs of the situation require. ICS consists of a philosophy, a set of rules, and a way of organizing an incident, and it has a number of features:

  • Organizational Structure
  • Span of Control Rules
  • Organizational Responsibilities
  • Incident Facilities

ICS Organizational Structure

Every incident, event, or project has certain common management activities that must take place. The Incident Command System is built around five major management functions:

  • Command: Be in Charge
  • Operations: Do the Work
  • Planning: Get & Give Information
  • Logistics: Provide the Tools & People
  • Finance/Administration: Pay for Everything

On small incidents, these major activities could all be managed by one person who is functioning as the Incident Commander. Large incidents usually require that these functions be set up as separate Sections within the organization.

Each of these ICS Sections can be sub-divided as needed, so that the entire ICS organization grows or shrinks to meet the needs of the incident. The following table shows typical units that may be added under each of the sections in the ICS organization.

Operations Section Planning Section Logistics Section Finance Section
Staging Areas
Strike Teams
Task Forces
Single Resources
Resources Unit
Situation Unit
Documentation Unit
Demobilization Unit
Communications Unit
Medical Unit
Food Unit
Supply Unit
Facilities Unit
Cost Unit
Time Unit
Procurement Unit
Compensation Unit
Claims Unit

ARES/RACES communicators could be assigned anywhere they are needed in the ICS command structure. Radio operators are considered resources that are requested by the Incident Commander and ordered by the Logistics Section. They could potentially be deployed to support Operations Section communication needs, Planning Section intelligence gathering, or Logistics Section communication requirements.

Wherever ARES/RACES communicators are assigned, they need to realize that their services are under the control of the overall ICS organization. You might say that these radio operators "give up" their specific ARES or RACES affiliations to become assigned resources in the Incident Command structure. They serve the needs of the Incident Commander and are accountable to him for the performance of their duties. Failure to yield "out-of-incident" organizational affiliation or control can result in failures in responding to the incident -- in fact, this is why the Incident Command System was developed in the first place.

ICS Span of Control Rules

Span of Control is the "Golden Rule" of ICS, and it determines how many organizational elements can be directly managed by a single individual. Span of Control may vary between three and seven, and a ratio of one-to-five reporting elements is recommended. If the number of reporting units fall outside of the range between 3 and 7, the organization should be expanded or consolidated accordingly.

As more resources are applied to an incident, there is a corresponding need to expand the number of individuals managing those resources. When more resources are added to the organization, another layer of management may be needed to maintain proper span of control. The incident may be organized geographically using Divisions, or it may be organized functionally using Groups, or there may be a need to add one or more Branches to the organization to maintain an effective span of control. The goal is to keep the organization as simple as possible, but not to overextend the span of control.

Organizational Responsibilities

The basic organizational guideline of ICS is that the person at the top of the organization is responsible until he delegates that authority to another person. Each of the major functional elements of the organization are discussed below.

Incident Command

The Incident Commander is the person in charge at the incident and must be fully qualified to manage the incident. There is never a time when there is no Incident Commander since leadership, accountability, and ultimate responsibility must always be present. The Incident Commander sets objectives and priorities for handling the incident, and he has the overall responsibility for decision-making at the incident.

As an incident grows in size or complexity, a more highly skilled Incident Commander may be required and assigned by the jurisdiction or agency that is responsible for handling the incident. The Incident Commander may have one or more deputies and he may also assign personnel for both a Command Staff and a General Staff. The Command Staff includes the Public Information Officer, the Safety Officer, and the Liaison Officer. The General Staff consists of the Section Chiefs for the organizational sections that have been activated: the Operations Section Chief, the Planning Section Chief, the Logistics Section Chief, and the Finance Section Chief.

Operations Section

The Operations Section conducts all of the tactical operations for handling an incident. In carrying out the Incident Action Plan it develops tactical objectives, establishes the operations organization, and directs all operational resources.

The Operations organization usually develops and expands as the tactical needs of the incident require. As more and more resources are assigned to handle the incident there is usually a need to expand supervision. Normally this is done by breaking the Operations organization into geographical Divisions or functional Groups. There are times when another layer of supervision may be required, and so a Branch is created to manage several Divisions, Groups, or Units.

Planning Section

The Planning Section develops the Incident Action Plan needed to accomplish the Incident Commander's objectives. It also serves a very important intelligence-gathering function by collecting and evaluating information about the incident and maintaining the current status of all incident resources.

Logistics Section

The Logistics Section serves the needs of the ICS organization itself by providing all of the resources and services that are required to meet the needs of the incident. Upon request, it obtains and maintains the essential personnel, facilities, equipment, and supplies for the organization.

Finance/Administration Section

The Finance and Administration Section monitors costs related to the incident, provides accounting and procurement services, as well as time recording and cost analysis.

Incident Facilities

Facilities are established depending on the type and complexity of the incident or event. It is important to know the names and functions of the major facilities. Incident facilities are typically known by Tactical Call Signs which are used to uniqely identify each facility.

Incident Command Post (ICP):

Every incident or event must have some form of Incident Command Post. This is the location from which the Incident Commander oversees all incident activities.

Staging Area:

The staging area(s) are the locations where resources are kept while they wait to be assigned. Most large incidents will have a staging area, and a Staging Area Manager will manage all resources in the resource pool located there.


The base is the location at the incident where primary service and support activities are performed (such as eating, sleeping, and maintenance activities). There will only be one base for each incident, and not all incidents will have a base.

Williamson County Amateur Radio Emergency Sevice


ares-logoWilliamson County Amateur Radio Service, WC-ARES, meets on the 2nd Thursday of the month at the Williamson County Jester Annex, 1801 East Old Settler's Blvd.  Google map link.

Our meetings start at 7:30 PM and we try to have a Guest Speaker, ARES Topic or Training at each meeting which last for about an hour.

The only thing "Amateur" about this group is in the name. We strive to provide the most Professional Radio Operators possible. We support both government and non-government organizations with emergency communications in times of emergency

 Board of Directors Term From  Term To
 Mark Stennett, NA6M  December 31, 2016  December 31, 2018
 Jim Kinter, K5KTF  December 31, 2016  December 31, 2018
 Jonathan, Estill AF5DF  December 31, 2015  December 31, 2017
 Craig Boegler, W5TSN  December 31, 2015  December 31, 2017


WC-ARES uses two open repeaters:

  • 146.640 PL=162.2 in Georgetown *
  • 147.080 PL=100.0 in Georgetown.

* We hold a training net on the 146.640 repeater every Sunday at 8:00 PM. The NET may be on either repeater, depending on conditions.

WC-ARES also owns a portable emergency repeater for use in disaster areas. It currently uses the frequency 444.650 and a tone of 100.0. The frequency is anticipated to change once we acquire a new duplexer. It is only on the air for disaster use, and would be in the disaster area.

Here is a copy of the WC-ARES Net Script in PDF format, updated on 10/16/2016:

Here is a copy of the 2015 WC-ARES Emergency Comm Plan WC-ARES Emergency Comm Plan in .pdf format. The plan is in process of being updated.

To join WC-ARES, click here and create an account. Fill out the requested information.

 WC-ARES supports various Public Service events in the area:

  • Rogue Run  Foot race in Cedar Park
  • Red Poppy bike event in Georgetown and points east
  • Outlaw Trail 100 mile bike event in Round Rock and points east
  • Jingle Bell Ride, a short family ride in Georgetown's San Gabriel Park.

We perform monthy tests on the Amateur Radio equipment installed at the following hospitals and EOCs on the 3rd Friday of the month at 4:00 PM.

  • Cedar Park Regional Medical Center
  • Scott and White Hospital, Taylor
  • Scott and White Medical Center, Round Rock
  • Seton Medical Center Williamson
  • St. David's Georgetown Hospital
  • St. David's Round Rock Medical Center
  • Cedar Park Police Dept.
  • Round Rock Fire Station #6
  • Williamson County Emergency Services Operations Center

We have a Yahoogroup to keep our members informed on what's going on radio wise in the area.  Feel free to join. Be sure to include your name, callsign and a brief note on why you want to join our group in your request to join.

All licensed Amateur Radio Operators are welcome.

For more info please contact:

Terry Jones, K5LGV

WC-ARES Emergency Coordinator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Williamson County ARES,Inc

P.O. Box 1272

Georgetown, TX 78627






ICS-213 General Information

The most common form that you will see from agencies following the NIMS standards is the ICS-213 general message form.  It comes as a three part no carbon required (NCR) form and also as a Word or PDF document that can be printed.  You might be handed it as a hand written document, as a typed document, or on a "memory stick" with a request to send it.

With the extensive Winlink system in Williamson County and in Texas in general, you have ready access to email over radio that can send messages in many forms.  As a communicator, our job is to work with the served agency to give them the service they require.

That means that you can ask questions and suggest alternatives that they may not know exist, but it is not proper to argue with them or tell them we have a better way.

As a communications specialist, your job is to get the essential message through.  It is also to understand the capabilities of your resources. One of the limitations we face, especially in this day of high speed wide bandwidth Internet systems is that our email over radio process runs at a much slower speed with significant limitations on what we can send.  One of your tasks is to determine what the least bandwidth intensive mode your customer, the served agency, will accept.

The simplest and smallest form would be to simply put the ICS-213 message into plain text form in an email.  Just make sure that the person sending the message is OK with that.

The next smallest form is going to be the use of the Rich Text Format (or RTF) ICS-213.  You can get a copy of that here. It is essential that this form be edited ONLY with Microsoft WordPad (on a Windows machine; I don't know about Macs).  Notepad won't handle the formating, and Word will cause the file size to explode.  The empty form is about 3K and fully filled out with text it is still generally less than 4K.

The next largest size involves a bit of document manipulation.  Make sure your customer is aware of this and is OK with how you will create a signed document.  You will type the information into RTF ICS-213 ad above and then insert their scanned signature.  There are detailed instructions on how to do this here.  Create a PDF from this document as the smallest size you can get for a signed ICS-213.

If that doesn't work, the last method is to scan the signed document using low resolution (<100 dpi), black and white, PDF files.

Relative sizes of these methods are:

Plain email - 1K or less

Text only RTF - 4K

Inserted scanned signature RTF - 15K

Scanned RTF - 75K

The reason for the multiple choices is to first make sure we can satisfy the customer's needs, but secondly to do so using the minimum possible file size.

Training Info


FEMA On-Line Training


For Advanced Study (Optional)


When successfully completing each course you will receive a link to your certificate. Please forward the link or the pdf of your certificate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for verification.


Radio Programming

One of the questions from new and old ARES members is "What frequencies do I need?" The most obvious ones come from the Williamson County ARES Plan and include the 146.64, 146.700, 147.080 repeaters and 147.430 Williamson County ARES Simplex frequency.  ARES members should review the Plan on a regular basis and gather information about changes.

There is a recommended list of frequencies that ARES has published previously which lists all of these plus many more frequencies of interest in Central Texas.  To see the list in PDF format, click here.

If you have programming software for your radio, the software may have an ability to import an Excel file or something similar.  The list in Excel format can be found here.

The file is available as both a PDF file for reference and also as an Excel spreadsheet.  The layout is suitable for programming of most radios with enough memory space.  The various frequencies are grouped for ease of use, and some are repeated for completness.

While there is no mandate that your radio has to use the same memory assignments, this is a starting point for programming all radios with the same frequency assignment in different radios.  Even if you adopt a different sequence, give some consideration to using the same sequence in all of your own radios to make repeaters easier to find.