The purpose of this document is to state the terms of a mutual agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Radio Relay League (ARRL--the National Association for Amateur Radio), that will serve as a framework within which volunteer personnel of the ARRL may coordinate their services, facilities, and equipment with FEMA in support of nationwide State and local emergency communications functions. It is intended, through joint coordination and exercise of the resource of ARRL, FEMA, and Federal, State and local government, to enhance the nationwide posture of emergency communications readiness for any conceivable emergency. This agreement shall serve to promote and recognize the potential and capability of Amateur Radio operators to provide local, national and international communications expertise and assistance.
The American Radio Relay league recognizes FEMA as the Agency chartered as the central point of contact within the Federal Government for a wide range of emergency management activities in both peace and war time. FEMA is dedicated to working closely with all the members of the emergency management community to achieve a realistic state of preparedness and an increased capacity to respond to emergencies of all types.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recognizes that the ARRL is the principal organization representing the interests of many of the more than 600,000 U.S. Radio Amateurs, and because of its organized emergency communications capability, ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®), can be of valuable assistance in providing critical and essential communications to state and local governments during emergencies and disasters when normal lines of communication are disrupted.
The American Radio Relay League is a non-commercial membership association of radio amateurs, organized for the promotion of interest in Amateur Radio communication and experimentation, for the establishment of networks to provide communications in the event of disasters or other emergencies, for the advancement of the radio art and of the public welfare, for the representation of the Radio Amateur in legislative matters, and for the maintenance of fraternalism and a high standard of conduct. A primary responsibility of the Amateur Radio Service, as established by the Federal Communications commission's Rules and Regulations (47 C.F.R. Part 97), is the rendering of public service communications for the general public, particularly in times of emergency when normal communications are not available. Using Amateur Radio operators in the Amateur frequency bands, the ARRL has been serving the general public, both directly and through government and relief agencies, for more than 50 years. To that end, the ARRL organized the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®), and created the National Traffic System (NTS).
The League's Field Organization covers the United States, including U.S. possessions and Puerto Rico. The Field Organization is administered under an elected Section Manager in each of the 71 ARRL "sections" (a section is a League-created political boundary roughly equivalent to States or portions thereof). The Section Manager appoints a Section Emergency Coordinator, who (along with appointed local and District Emergency Coordinators) directs ARES®/emergency communications preparedness activities in each section. The Section Manager also appoints a Section Traffic Manager to supervise NTS/formal-message traffic operations in each section. Many ARRL members are also licensed RACES operators. The League advocates dual membership and cooperative efforts between ARES® and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) Groups whenever and wherever possible.
FEMA's national headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. There are ten Regional Offices throughout the United States, as well as five Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) detachments. These offices provide technical assistance to State and local governments to enhance their emergency planning, preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery, and communications capabilities. The Director of FEMA reports directly to the President and works closely in emergency management matters with the National Security Council, the Cabinet and the White House staff, as well as the state and territory governors.
The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is sponsored by FEMA and is a part of the Amateur Radio Service that provides radio communications service to state and local governments during periods of local, regional, or national emergencies. All of the authorized frequencies and emissions allocated to the Amateur Radio Service are also available to RACES on a shared basis. In the event that the President invokes his War Emergency Powers, RACES operators using specially authorized frequencies would be the only Amateur Radio operators permitted on the air. RACES members are appointed by state or local government officials and may be used to supports all hazards. Many state and local government officials have authorized ARES® members to be an integral part of RACES, so as to maximize the communications service and capability available to the public.
In order to facilitate communications with Amateur Radio stations in an emergency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued distinctive Amateur Radio call signs to FEMA. These call signs will be used primarily on the high frequency (HF) bands and will allow more directly with the RACES and ARES® resources when required.
In order that communications resources of the ARRL Field organization may be coordinated and utilized to the fullest advantage during disasters and emergencies, and to the extent permitted or required by law and regulation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Radio Relay League have agreed to the following:
A. For national-level liaison between ARRL and FEMA, the points of contact are:
B. FEMA, through its Regional Offices, will encourage State and local emergency management officials to interact with ARRL Section Managers and other appropriate ARRL Field Organization officials, in an effort to establish cooperative relationships, and closer ties with ARRL Field Organization volunteers. FEMA recognizes that, when these relationships develop at the local level, effective service to the public is significantly enhanced.
C. FEMA and ARRL will encourage the use of Amateur Radio resources in the development of state and local emergency operating plans and the use of those plans to support exercises.
D. FEMA and ARRL will distribute copies of this agreement through channels to FEMA Regional Offices, state and local emergency management agencies and ARRL Field Organization officials respectively.
This Memorandum of Understanding shall take effect upon signature by authorized officials of the ARRL and FEMA. This memorandum may be amended by mutual agreement of both parties, and will remain in effect until terminated. ARRL and FEMA will periodically review this agreement and coordinate such revisions as may be necessary. Upon 90 days written notice, this memorandum may be terminated by either party.
Ronald E. Miller /s/
Jim D. Haynie /s/