Indiana Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) District 1 (D1) is comprised of organized, trained, qualified, certified, trusted, licensed and credentialed volunteer emergency communicators who supply, augment, and support modern, reliable, interoperable, accurate, resilient and timely contingency, emergency, and supplemental (auxiliary) communications; real-time severe weather observation data; resource position tracking and telemetry, ground-truth intelligence (“eyes and ears”), and serve as “force multipliers” on behalf of the public for governmental and non-governmental public safety, critical infrastructure (including Hospitals and Public Utilities), and emergency management related organizations and partners at all levels (served agencies) throughout the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) District 1 geographical area (Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper Counties), and beyond, when requested by an appropriate authority, through cooperation with partner agencies and organizations during emergencies, disasters, severe weather and special (public service) events.
ARES D1 serves the Northwest Indiana geographic area, bordering Chicago and the nearby Illinois counties. Following an absence of at least five years, it was resurrected in late September 2020. Its volunteer personnel now include engineers, doctors, firefighters, medics, emergency managers, students, businesspeople, government employees, retired individuals and more.
ARES D1 is the only officially recognized contingency, emergency and supplemental (auxiliary) volunteer communications organization within Indiana’s Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper Counties operated in accordance with the boundaries and under the auspices of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and its Memorandums of Understanding with:
Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO-International) (9-1-1 Center personnel)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
National Weather Service (SKYWARN)
Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) (TV, Radio, Internet Service and Cellular Providers, etc.)
Department of Homeland Security Citizen Corps
American Red Cross
Civil Air Patrol (CAP)
National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD)
Boy Scouts of America
REACT (Radio Emergency Associated Communication Teams) International Inc.
ARES D1 complies with the most current (2019) ARRL ARES standards, including the minimally required and recommended training and certification requirements for ARES members, to align with FEMA’s National Incident Management System (NIMS), and with the changes and upgrades in national, regional, and local emergency and disaster response organizations.
ARES D1 strives to be an effective and reliable partner with served agencies and other emergency communications, and non-Ham affiliates.
ARES D1 members are Ham (“Amateur”) Radio Operators skilled and experienced in the use of a wide range of emergency and disaster communications techniques needed in emergency and disaster response, as well as during periods when supplemental (auxiliary) communications are needed. They provide served agencies with the interoperable and resilient communications expertise, capability, and capacity needed. They also provide additional skills and assistance that go beyond communications, when needed.
They are called “Amateur,” only because they are unpaid volunteers. For many of these dedicated volunteers, the preferred nickname is “Ham,” the origins of which dates back decades. These volunteers proudly answer the call for “amateurs,” or “Hams,” but amateurs they are not. The term “amateur” was established by the FCC many decades ago to distinguish the volunteers as the unpaid professionals they are from paid radio operators. The distinction continues in regulatory language and federal legislation.
Using a blend of technologies from yesteryear to today, from analog to digital, from voice to imagery, telemetry and data, ARES D1 personnel can establish communications between a 9-1-1 center, Police, Fire Rescue, EMS, Public Works, Utility Providers, Hospitals, Vaccination Points of Distribution, Emergency Operations Centers, Incident Command Post, Mobile Command Center and other critical infrastructure locations, or vehicles.
They can provide interoperability with local, regional, State and federal governmental agencies, the military, including all of the Defense Department forces, Coast Guard, and the National Guard. Additionally, with the Civil Air Patrol, the Indiana Guard Reserve, and similar State sponsored military militia organizations, as well as emergency management and humanitarian relief organizations including the Salvation Army, and others throughout the State, region, across the nation, and if needed, worldwide.
Many are also trained by the National Weather Service (NWS) as “weather spotters” to provide vital real-time weather observation data and ground-truth weather intelligence during periods of severe weather to the Weather Service Forecast Offices in Northern Illinois (Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper Counties) and Northern Indiana (LaPorte County), year-round as part of the NWS’ SKYWARN program. Where SKYWARN organizations exist, ARES D1 members support those organizations, not supplant them.
ARES D1 supports and conducts public education about Emergency Communications and Amateur Radio, actively passes on our experience and knowledge to others, including the younger generations.
ARES D1 also supports and conducts Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs, demonstrations, and activities.