( Amateur Radio Emergency Service )

What is ARES?

ARES is composed of certified Radio Amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.

ARES provides qualified communications personnel who establish ad-hoc radio communications links where and when they are needed. ARES may be defined as the emergency public service arm of Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC), and the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) in the United States. Its purpose is to advance the public interest and the interests of Amateur Radio by providing a volunteer emergency telecommunications service to federal, provincial, municipal or other local government departments and agencies, designated non-government organizations (NGO) and critical public utilities during an emergency or disaster, including necessary training and incidental activities.

The major roles played by ARES typically include:

  • Mitigation of telecommunications failures
  • Supplementary telecommunications support or augmentation
  • Command and control level interoperability (for example, communications from a command post to an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and between EOCs)
  • Special assignments such as observation and reporting

ARES does not typically replace the communications infrastructure used by police or other emergency responders, or the systems in place to support agencies and recovery organizations. Instead, it augments existing communications infrastructure, providing added flexibility and capacity that is often needed during emergencies (for example, between Emergency Operations Centres, community shelters, hospitals, evacuation points and other facilities).

ARES relies on the services of Amateur Radio operators who volunteer their time, equipment and expertise for the benefit of the community and the public good

Who Is Eligible?

Every certified Radio Amateur, whether or not a member of RAC or any other local or regional organization, is eligible for membership in the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). The only qualification is a sincere desire to serve. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable but not a requirement. Applicants will be required to provide personal information that will allow a background check to be done which may include a criminal records check.

How To Get Involved


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