Ham radio has a long tradition of giving back to the community by providing radio communications support services in various situations. The following table gives a quick definition of some of the ways we can contribute and links for further information.
|Description of Ham Contribution
|Amateur Radio Emergency Service. A group of trained hams who are prepared to use their radio equipment and skills to provide communications support in unplanned emergency or disaster situations.
|Supplying communications services in support of planned non-profit community events to improve their safety and efficiency. Provided by the SERVICE team - Support Embedding Radio Volunteers In Community Events. Includes Goblin Patrol, the MS Bike Tour, the Run for Ovarian Cancer, etc.
|A severe weather spotting service where volunteers with specialized training in identifying the critical characteristics of severe weather systems provide direct observations to Environment Canada via radio networks.
Recent updates on COVID-19
For a summary of COVID-19 status as it applies to London, have a look at this CBC web page:
|Mar 20, 14:30
NOTE: The City of London declared a State of Emergency related to the COVID-19 at about 14:20 on Friday March 30. Details are at:
We have NO indication that there will be an ARES call out at this time, but if our assistance is needed, we will use our automated telephone callout system to notify ARES volunteers. Any activity will likely be coordinated via a net on VE3OME, 145.50 MHz, 114.8 PL, so it won't hurt to monitor that frequency.
-Doug Elliott VA3DAE, ARES EC for the City of London
6 more COVID-19 cases in London area on March 19:
|Byron Emergency Operation Center is activated to coordinate London's COVID-19 defence.
The remainder of this web page is quite out of date, and will be updated shortly.
At the Kickoff meeting on May 8 for Emergency Preparedness week, the mayor announced a new emergency alert system for the city of London. It looks like they've done a good job, and it's a good idea for Hams, especially ARES folks to sign up.
The information and sign-up page is: London.ca/AlertLondon
To sign up you'll need to have this info handy:
-a new username (I used dougelliott)
-an 8 character password with letters and digits
-places you'll likely be located (I put my home address. You can do several.)
-a confirmation question/answer (I used my city of birth)
-a list of alert notification methods, in priority order. I chose:
1) personal email
2) text message to my cell phone
3) phone call to my cell phone
Doug Elliott VA3DAE
|Name & Location-Station
|CACC Central Ambulance Communications Centre - London
|1510 Woodcock St, suite 20 London, ON. N6H 5S1
|UH LHSC University Hospital
|St. Joseph’s Health Care London
|Grosvenor St 268 Grosvenor Street
|City Hall SOC (aka Commissioners) Security Operations Centre
|EMS Middlesex London Emergency Medical Services
|340 Waterloo Street, London N6B 2N6
|LPS 911 Centre London Police Service
|London Police Service HQ 601 Dundas Street
|MLHU Middlesex London Health Unit
|M-L Health Unit 50 King St, London
|EESD – City Dispatch Environmental & Engineering Services Department aka City Public Works Yard
|A.J Tyler Operations Centre 663 Bathurst St, London ON N5Z 1P8 519-661-2500X4582
|ESS CHOCC Emergency Social Services Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre (Reception Centre)
|656 Elizabeth Street London, ON N5Y 6L3 Adelaide/Oxford
|VH LHSC Victoria Hospital
|800 Commissioners Rd East
|Middlesex County, and County EOC
|@ Middlesex County Bldg, 399 Ridout St N, London N6A 2P1
|London Fire Department
Fire 911 Centre
ARES Glossary and Acronym List
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (Hams)
Central Ambulance Communications Center
Community Communication Vehicle
Carling Heights Optimist Community Center
Engineering & Environmental Services Department
City Emergency Planning Dept (incl Henry, Cori & Andre)
Emergency Management Ontario
Emergency Management Services
Emergency Operations Center, usually at Firehall 12 in Byron, London
Emergency Social Services ( Neighbourhood, Childrens & Fire Services). Shelter
Event Review, Post Mortem
City of London Information Technology Services
Local Area Network (computer connections)
Part of City’s shared 800 MHz radio system
London Emergency Response Plan
London Fire Dept, #1 Station
Part of City’s shared 800 MHz radio system
London Police Services, 601 Dundas at Adelaide
Master Event List – schedule of major activities for the exercise
Middlesex London Health Unit
Non Governmental Organization (Salvation Army, Amateur Radio, etc
Office of the Fire Marshal Emergency Management
Provincial Emergency Operations Center (Toronto)
Public Inquiry Center
Standard Operating Procedure
Standard Operating Procedure / Standard Operating Guidelines
Corporate communications for City of London
The Salvation Army
A.R.E.S. is the
"Amateur Radio Emergency Service"
A.R.E.S. is a trained group of amateur radio operators willing to assist emergency services and municipal agencies in an emergency or disaster.
They are specialists in various forms of communications modes from computerized packet radio, long distance HF voice and morse code, UHF/VHF voice, and even amateur television. To be an amateur radio operator, Industry Canada requires that individuals pass examinations in technical and regulatory competence. Morse code is not a requirement for entry level licenses, and is not mandatory for long distance and advanced operations. Amateur operators are usually quite distinctive from citizens band (CB) operators who require no training or licensing.
Our members come from various walks of life including police, fire and ambulance services, doctors, nurses, lawyers, radio and computer technicians, former and current military officers etc. In exercise situations we find ourselves being radio resource people for officials in command post and control group locations.
Communications in a Disaster
Communications is often cited as the weakest link in the command and control component of an emergency.
Experience has shown that in emergency situations, traditional systems become overloaded or are disabled. Groups who normally don't need radio communications such as Social Services, need it. Locations that have not been covered before and now need to be linked can't be because the portables that are being used won't work. Services that don't usually coordinate with each other, need to. People who seldom or never have used a radio are now on them for extended periods of time. Batteries that are used only to monitor for a few hours a day are now pressed into emergency service and fail. Telephone systems become overloaded or fail. Caution should be used when considering cellular phones as a component of your emergency communications system. They are most effective in metropolitan areas. Service outside cities is very limited and is normally restricted to a few phones at a time and concentrated on a transportation corridor. This radio based system could be overloaded during an emergency. These factors can seriously impair emergency/disaster command and control operations.
A lot of key participants only carry portable radios. Usually no one has extra battery packs or chargers. This would mean that there would be a limited life span for their communications. Most batteries are subject to a condition called "memory effect" and, unless they were used for transmitting on a regular basis, would not hold up for more than a couple of hours under emergency conditions. This is applicable for cellular phones as well. At a very minimum, extra batteries and chargers should be available.
Also, portable radios may have problems transmitting out of some locations. Temporary control post locations can have severe problems if they are in buildings constructed mostly of metal. This type of situation can be very frustrating in an emergency. Ideally, base radios should be considered for control group locations, or external antennas with chargers. A suggestion is to have a "global radio" for VHF, one for UHF, and one for 800 mhz (if applicable) to cover area frequencies.
REMEMBER THESE PROBLEMS DO NOT NORMALLY OCCUR IN ANY STANDARD EXERCISE, unless it is a full scale field exercise. This means that the problems can only really be determined in an actual situation. Communications are one of the most critical aspects of handing a disaster, yet they receive little attention in the disaster planning process.
How A.R.E.S. can HELP
Hams have been utilized extensively in major disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, and floods in many parts of the world. Use of amateur radio in Canada has included the Mississauga train derailment, the Barrie tornado, and the Eastern Ontario icestorm, to name a few. To be effective, an Amateur Radio representative should be included in the initial notification of the Emergency Control Group. The A.R.E.S. Emergency Coordinator will initiate a callout of amateur operators to establish a network on a standby basis on a local amateur repeater.
He/she will normally then report to the Emergency Operations Control Group and activate a net control station. In some situations, our involvement may only be until other communications facilities can be established. Other times, it can be until the incident is completed. The A.R.E.S. priorities will be coordinated by the Emergency Coordinator in consultation with the E.O.C.G. members. These may include:
- providing a common communications link between agencies, control groups or services involved attending the Command Post location
- being available to provide any required communications around the disaster site itself
- establishing assembly areas for responding volunteers outside of the effected area
- controlling the assignment of the needed positions
- assisting Social Services and Red Cross with Registration and Inquiry communications
- providing backup facilities for first responders in the event of loss of radio/phone services
- doing long distance relay of status to federal and provincial agencies should outside links be lost
- linking Weather Office to Disaster Site or Control Group to provide weather information in situations where weather is a critical factor
- supplying a team of trained communicators to assist in any related duty such as manning an evacuation perimeter and providing information linking media to Control Groups to ensure dissemination of factual information to the general public
Based on priorities, assignment of tasks and availability of personnel/equipment, more "nets" would be set up on the local repeaters, packet radio, amateur TV and HF long distance systems.
The A.R.E.S. Emergency Co-Ordinator would assess the need for additional volunteers and request mutual aid from other amateur radio groups.
A permanent antenna installation, power supply and desk may be necessary in your Control Group location. By providing these facilities, you can have a team of trained communicators at your disposal in an emergency.
- Weekly ARES net, Wednesday at 7:30 PM on VE3OME, 145.450 MHz
- ARES practice exercise, 3rd Wednesday of the month, in place of ARES net
- Ontario ARES nets
You can spot and report severe weather through CANWARN (NOTE that this is NOT "stormchasing"). For more information visit the National CANWARN web page. Talk to your club executive if you want to get involved.
- There is a New Emergency Alert System - details from The Weather Network link.
Here are the local CANWARN area maps:
CanwarnGrd1 Essex, Kent, Lambton Counties
CanwarnGrd2 London, Middlesex, Elgin, Oxford, Perth
CanwarnGrd3 Huron, Waterloo, Wellington, Bruce and Grey
CanwarnGrd4 Hamilton-Wentworth, Haldimand-Norfolk, Niagara, Brant
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