Further below is a table of five (5) free online courses which are required to prepare you for your role in providing Auxiliary Communications during incidents, planned and unplanned (which includes disasters). There is also a link where you can find these courses. Before you can begin taking them, you need to register there to receive a Student Identification Number (SID). This is used rather than your Social Security Number, to help prevent identity theft.

When you complete a course, please send a copy of the certificate via US mail or scan an image of the certificate and email it to the Bernalillo County District Emergency Coordinator (see the Contact page on this website for the DEC’s contact info). When you complete additional training, your database record will be updated. There is also a state managed, statewide online master database of communications volunteers’ education and experience. As an ARES member, if you want to be included in that state database, ask for information about how to become listed in that state database.

Tragic loss of life and property have occurred when people did not know and do what is in these courses. As an ARES member, training is important to ensure each operator has an understanding of the FEMA Incident Command System and our role in Auxiliary Communications. We train to be prepared to assist during incidents, planned and unplanned. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) free online independent study courses help you learn the basic principles of incident management. The need for this system became imperative in part because of two incidents. One is detailed rather well at:

What is not stated there is that in addition to all the factors adding to the loss of life, of the various agencies needing to respond, their communications equipment could not communicate together. Furthermore, the various agencies had different communications procedures and jargon. Even when talking together in person at the scene, members of different agencies often had little clue what each other were saying.

The other major incident that further emphasized the need for common operational management structures, language/ terminology and communications equipment capabilities, was the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Interoperability in incident management and response evolved. This means that regardless of your agency (public or private, paid or volunteer), regardless if you are from opposite coasts of the USA and beyond, people can communicate and work together seamlessly to save lives and protect property.

This is why knowing what is in these free short courses is essential to function effectively as part of ARES. Courses are online at To register for your SID, look for a link to “Apply” and click on that link. (This information is current as of March 2018.) Many of these courses take about an hour each to complete. In providing communications you will be potentially interacting at times with other Emergency Management officials. The free online FEMA courses will help prepare you for this. There are other free online courses you can take, to develop and or improve management skills not just in communications, but in other areas of your life too. Additionally, if you want to prepare for more advance management roles in planning and managing communications during incidents, there are a few ICS classroom courses periodically available at the state level. The five (5) mandatory courses are required to be considered for the more advanced training.

The 2016 Dog Head Fire in New Mexico at one point was managed by a Type I (the most experienced) team. That Incident Management Type I team included professionals from other states. Various ARES members assisting were in proximity to the Incident Command team and numerous other emergency management personnel. That was at the BC East Mountains Emergency Operations Center which is part of the complex there including a county fire department station and a county sheriff substation.

At the shelter in Tijeras, BC ARES provided and operated a portable radio station. In addition to the various emergency management officials passing through that location, Governor Martinez and accompanying media personnel were at that shelter observing operations for several hours. The point of this is, at minimum ARES members are expected to be competently professional in communications and decorum when providing Auxiliary Communications services. Most importantly, you never know at what moment while providing those services, you will make the difference in protecting and saving lives and valuable property, including property needed for the response and rescue effort.

When disaster strikes, when lives are at risk, will you be ready? To be trusted to be placed in that position to make that difference, you need to trained, and you need to be experienced through practice, such as net participation, and participation in exercises. We understand many have jobs and family and other responsibilities. For most, volunteering is not the major focus or consumer of the time of their lives. However by devoting some time, over time, to training and practicing during exercises, anyone can develop a level of experience to make them a valuable resource providing critical Auxiliary Communications.

IS-100 Introduction to the Incident Command System Required & a prerequisite for ARRL EC-001
IS-200 ICS for Single Resources and Initial action Incidents Required
IS-700 National Incident Management System Required & a prerequisite for ARRL EC-001
IS-800 National Response Framework, An Introduction Required
IS-802 ESF2 (Emergency Support Function 2 - Communications Required
IS-250 Emergency Support Function 15 (ESF15), External Affairs Recommended before ARRL EC-001
IS-288 The Role of Voluntary Agencies in Emergency Management Recommended before ARRL EC-001

ARRL Emergency Communication Courses

Bernalillo County ARES/RACES members are encourage to also the ARRL Introduction to Emergency Communication (EC-001). This course is occasionally taught locally through BC ARES. It is also always available at:

Courses Completion Certificates

When you complete a course, please send a copy of the certificate via US mail or scan an image of the certificate and email it to the Bernalillo County District Emergency Coordinator. See the contacts page of this website for that information.