The use of the words “apply” and “register,” or the words closely associated with either are often used interchangeably. ARES D1 has a Registration Form, not an Application. Becoming a member or affiliating with ARES D1 is a registration process, not an application process.
This distinction is made because there is no vote on a prospective member or affiliate and ARES D1 is not a Club. It is an organizational structure which allows like-minded people of good repute to come together during emergencies, disasters, severe weather, search and rescue incidents, special events, training, and exercises, whenever supplemental (auxiliary) communications or incident support is needed, in service to the public, governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations working for the common good.
Membership or affiliation with ARES D1 is based on the reasonable certainty that most people are of good character and have stable personalities. Legal Counsel has advised that ARES D1 reserves the right to reject any potential member or affiliate or dismiss any current member or affiliate for any reason or no reason. ARES D1 is under no obligation to accept volunteer service from everyone.
Registration with ARES D1 does not compel any volunteer to perform any minimum number of hours to participate. Nor does it compel them to take any training or meet any level of qualification.
These things are highly encouraged (but not required) to ensure ARES D1 personnel and the organization can operate and perform at a high level of efficiency and effectiveness in the pursuit of helping bring order to the chaos that often exists during emergencies or disasters and help save lives and property.
Registration provides some advance assurance that ARES D1 has the capacity (number of volunteers) and capability (training, qualification, equipment, modes, software, etc.) to provide its services to agencies and organizations when requested.
ARES D1 membership or affiliation does not require payment of dues, fees or any monetary or property donation. It does not require membership in the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).
According to the ARRL, “Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization is eligible to apply for membership in ARES.”
Expanding a bit beyond the ARRL criteria, belonging to ARES D1 comes in one of the two categories:
Member - Membership in ARES D1 is open to anyone of good repute, with a Ham radio (Portable VHF-FM radio at a minimum) and an FCC License (Technician Class and above) and a genuine interest and ability in helping ARES D1 meet its mission.
Affiliate – Affiliate “membership” in ARES D1 is open to anyone of good repute, with a GMRS radio (Portable UHF-FM GMRS radio at a minimum) and GMRS FCC License and a genuine interest and ability in helping ARES D1 meet its mission.
To ensure their ability to communicate when normal means of communications are overloaded, unreliable or non-existent, ARES D1 requires non-Ham volunteers to at least posses a GMRS portable two-way radio and the appropriate (no test required) FCC GMRS license.
However, to be appointed to certain positions, ARRL membership is required by the ARRL. Those positions include:
· District Emergency Coordinator
· Assistant District Emergency Coordinator
· Emergency Coordinator (ARRL membership not currently required for Assistant Emergency Coordinator)
· Official Relay Station
· Official Emergency Station
· Public Information Officer (PIO)
· Local Government Liaison
· Technical Specialist
Indiana Amateur Radio Emergency Service District 1 (ARES D1) does not discriminate based on citizenship, national origin, race, sex, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status or political affiliation, any other protected class or factor stipulated by law.
Membership or affiliation with ARES D1 is based on the reasonable certainty that most people are of good character and have stable personalities.
Legal Counsel has advised that ARES D1 reserves the right to reject any potential member or affiliate or dismiss any current member or affiliate for any reason or no reason. ARES D1 is under no obligation to accept volunteer service from everyone offering it.
Being a member of ARES D1 is not a Law Enforcement or First Responder position. It does not entitle or in any way give or imply permission or authority to any member or affiliate to have in their possession or utilize rotating or flashing lights, a siren, or any other type of warning device.
No ARES D1 member or affiliate is authorized to operate a motor vehicle in any manner beyond that of everyday driving, as is customary for all licensed drivers, when volunteering in an ARES D1 capacity.
(Note - Some ARES D1 members are sworn Law Enforcement, Fire/Rescue/EMS, Search and Rescue, or Emergency Management officials, and may operate motor vehicles in accordance with the rules and laws governing those non-ARES D1 functions).
Likewise, except authorized public safety and search and rescue personnel acting in that capacity, no ARES D1 member or affiliate is authorized to wear a uniform or badge of any type, or clothing that would lead a reasonable person to believe a member or affiliate is acting in a law enforcement capacity.
Wearing the approved, official ARES Emergency Communicator, Incident Support or SKYWARN logo emblazoned tee-shirt, sweatshirt, vest, jacket, ball cap, name/callsign tag or other ARES D1 approved item is desired and highly encouraged when acting in an ARES capacity beyond the home/residence.
All ARES D1 members and affiliates are expected to follow all Local, State, Tribal, Territorial, and Federal laws applicable, at all times, Including, but not limited to, personal conduct, motor vehicle operation and firearms policies, in addition to the policies, rules and regulations of any and all agencies and organizations being supported.
Any ARES D1 member or affiliate, or prospective member or affiliate failing to meet the requirements for suitability will be removed or rejected from membership or affiliation, as appropriate.
ARES D1 DOES NOT REQUIRE ANY VOLUNTEER TO UNDERGO A BACKGROUND CHECK!
Indiana Amateur Radio Emergency Service District 1 (ARES D1) believes that most people are inherently good and want to do “the right thing.”
We believe that FCC licensed Ham and GMRS Radio Operators, Emergency Communicators, SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotters and Incident Support personnel who volunteer to willingly provide a public service at their own expense and on their own time are of good character and general reputation, which makes them worthy of our trust, respect, support, and appreciation.
Background checks may be unnecessarily intrusive, digging into a potential volunteer’s creditworthiness, educational records, and mode of living. Such checks may include searches of records, social media postings, database searches, personal interviews with current and/or former employers, landlords, neighbors, friends, or associates. None of which are directly related to a volunteer’s ability or suitability to perform ARES D1’s mission.
ARES D1 also understands that mistakes in the past result in learning experiences. Those experiences usually lead to the avoidance of making the same or similar mistakes in the future. A person need not be encumbered unnecessarily from volunteering or doing other things in life because of a mistake in the past from which a lesson was learned.
The risk of a volunteer with the caliber of an FCC licensed individual, a National Weather Service trained and certified Severe Weather Spotter, or Incident Support practitioner committing an illegal, immoral, or dishonest act is exceptionally low. Incidents of such acts are rare, judging by the long history nationwide across the ARES membership. Should it ever occur, ARES D1 will take the appropriate actions and fully cooperate with law enforcement and judicial authorities.
The Amateur Radio, SKYWARN, Search and Rescue and GMRS communities are relatively small, and are self-policing. Any individual registering as an ARES member or affiliate who has a bad reputation or a serious felonious criminal past, beyond that which can be acceptable as a mistake is bound to be known or soon discovered. ARES D1 will take the appropriate action upon discovery.
Additionally, the FCC License process includes a suitability check to identify any applicant convicted of a felony in any state or federal court. Applicants with a felony conviction must provide an explanation regarding the conviction and the FCC determines whether an applicant is eligible for an Amateur (Ham) or GMRS License under sections 310(d) and 308(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.
Anyone who knowingly conceals, omits, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any federal record or document with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States is subject to federal prosecution, resulting in a fine and/or imprisoned not more than 20 years.
That said, ARES D1 does not conduct background checks for any member, affiliate or prospective member or affiliate. Nor shall ARES D1 compel any volunteer to undergo a background check to be a volunteer.
Background checks done by commercial firms can also be expensive and vary widely in their effectiveness and accuracy. ARES D1’s policy is to trust, respect, support, and appreciate our volunteers and those people who desire to volunteer with us.
Public safety and other organizations and agencies desiring ARES D1 support may request an ARES D1 members or affiliate submit to a background check before they issue access to their facilities or provide an official credential. ARES D1 volunteers have the option of accepting and complying, or rejecting with the credentialing agency’s request to undergo a background check. Rejecting the request will not be grounds for dismissal from ARES D1.
ARES D1 personnel can provide effective and efficient support to nearly all public safety agencies and other organizations (credentialing agency) without the need for a background check or an official credential, even if access to a facility is denied to volunteers who decline to submit to a background check.
Additionally, no member or affiliate of ARES D1 shall be required to become a member of any other organization to provide support to said agency or organization. Such organizations and agencies have the option of accepting or rejecting ARES D1 support with the understanding that ARES D1 personnel providing the support may not become members of the other organization or agency.
ARES D1 personnel may voluntarily undergo a background check to affiliate with the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) organization in a specific county, should they elect to do so.
This policy is in alignment with the guidance and counsel of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), of which ARES is a program.