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Training Courses for Amateur Radio Public Service

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Training Courses for Amateur Radio Public Service

The July/August issue of On the Air includes “An Introduction to ARES,” which presents an overview of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) – why it exists, what it does, and how you can become part of it.

Training, in all its forms, is a big part of being an effective amateur radio volunteer. Some public service training involves simulated disaster responses that elapse over hours, or even days. Some of it involves exercises that help hone specific skills. And some training comes in the form of courses, such as the beginner courses mentioned in the article. One of them, ICS-100, is a great place to start.


Photo 1: IS-100.c web page on the FEMA website.


Also known as IS-100.c, this is a FEMA course that presents an Introduction to the Incident Command System, or ICS. The 2-hour course teaches the principles and basic structure of the ICS, the roles of staff within the ICS, and how NIMS management characteristics apply to the ICS. Once you’ve taken ICS-100, you’ll need to take IS-700 (also known as IS-700.b), FEMA’s course about NIMS, the National Incident Management System. NIMS defines the principles that guide incident response and recovery. The 2-hour course teaches the principles and characteristics of NIMS, as well as methods of managing resources, including communications and information systems. You can search for the ICS and NIMS courses by searching on the course numbers at

Photo 2: ARRL's Online Course Catalog.

Completion of ICS-100 and IS-700 is a prerequisite for taking EC-001, ARRL’s Introduction to Emergency Communications course, which is designed to provide basic knowledge and tools for any emergency communications volunteer. The course includes required student activities and a 35-question final assessment, and can be accessed and completed at any time. Hams who enroll in EC-001 will be asked to provide the dates that they completed the ICS and NIMS courses. You can find more information about EC-001, including a table of contents of the course, at

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