Know Your ARES Organization

Modified from a Waller County ARES training article
Written by Christine Smith, N5CAS (sk)
Edited 10/2022 by Paul Smith, K5PRS


The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is a group of licensed amateurs who have qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur is eligible for membership in ARES. The only requirement, other than possession of an Amateur Radio license, is a sincere desire to serve. Only licensed amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable but is not a requirement for membership. You don’t even have to own a radio transceiver.

There are four levels of ARES organization–National, Section, District and Local. The ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager is responsible for advising all ARES officials regarding their problems, maintaining contact with federal government and other national officials concerned with amateur emergency communications potential and, in general, with carrying out the League’s policies regarding emergency communications.

At our South Texas SECTION (STX) level, the Section Manager (SM), who is elected by the ARRL members in the STX section, appoints the Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) who works under the SM’s supervision. Some ARRL sections with capable SECs are well-organized. A few have scarcely any organization at all.

Our Section Manager (SM) is:_______________.
Our Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) is:_______________.

There are other Section officers and you can find more information on the ARRL STX page.

SECs have the option of grouping their EC jurisdictions into logical units or “districts” and appointing a District EC (DEC) to coordinate the activities of the local Emergency Coordinators (EC) in the district’s units. In some cases, the districts may conform to the boundaries of emergency service districts while in others they are simply based on repeater coverage or geographical boundaries. The South Texas Section, District 14 is the only district containing only one county.

Our District Emergency Coordinator (DEC) is:____________.

It is at the local level where most of the real emergency organizing gets accomplished. The local Emergency Coordinator (EC) is therefore the key contact in the ARES hierarchy. The ECs are appointed by the SEC, usually on the recommendation of the DEC. The EC may have jurisdiction over a small community or a large city, an entire county or even a group of counties. Whatever jurisdiction is assigned, the EC is in charge of all ARES activities in his area; not just one interest group, one agency, one club or one radio band.

The ARES, South Texas Section, District 14 is subdivided into 4 Units: North West, South West, North East and South East. Each unit has an EC. The Emergency Coordinators (ECs) for the South Texas Section, District 14, units are:

  • NW: __________________
  • SW: __________________
  • NE: __________________
  • SE: __________________

Again, there are other positions at the Unit level and you can find info on them at STX, District 14 where you’ll also find the outlines of the four units in District 14.

During a disaster, amateur radio operators, when called by their ECs, set up and operate communication networks locally for governmental and emergency officials or for private groups like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, etc. working within the affected disaster area. Hams are most likely to be the ones who will be active after disasters that heavily damage regular lines of communication or where such communications are overloaded. As a group, we have these weekly nets as a way to “practice” our communications skills In addition, Public Service Events and occasional Simulated Emergency Trainings (SET) provide additional practice and training opportunities.

That concludes tonight’s training. Are there any questions, comments or suggested additions to this material?

Thanks, this is (callsign) clear to net control.