• You need to be trained. In order to provide support in the event of an emergency—or even in a non-emergency situation—you need to have the proper training and licensing. Learn more about the ARRL Emergency Communications Training course.
• You need to be equipped with sustaining skills. What if when you get to a location, there is no food and the sleeping conditions are undesirable? Before you leave on your assignment, you need to make sure you have coping skills that enable you to be able to do your job operating under the conditions you are assigned to—from hardship conditions to making sure you’re able to work the equipment.
• You need to prepare your family for your absence. When you leave home and head for a disaster area, your family has to be both physically and mentally able to cope. After a disaster, when a volunteer comes home, he or she can be confronted by some mental health issues, for which there are several resources. Many volunteers experience everything from fatigue or exhaustion to depression.
Training – an individual responsibility…
Jefferson County ARES provides some training opportunities at meetings, public service events and other venues, but training time is limited, and focused on helping members communicate better. Each member needs to seek additional training for themselves where needed.
There are plenty of resources on the Internet, and various venues such as the yearly Communications Academy in Seattle, local CERT training, first aid training and so on. The training section of this website is designed to assist the volunteer in identifying their needs, and locating training resources.