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ICS AUXCOMM vs. ARES and others KJ4ZIH on 13/8/16
Interesting assessment, but i think many of the key points might have been missed.

1. ARES standard approach is to provide amateur radio support. AUXCOMM incorporates all of the ESF2 (communications) function. The communications unit will need ALL kinds of communications support (call takers, data entry folks, radio operators, etc). My experience with ARES has been 'we're here to help with amateur radio' and the AUXCOMM model broadens that scope to be much more realistic.

2. A core principle in ICS is that you leave your rank/insignia/uniform at home and when assigned to a role on an incident, you operate under that structure. As a former fire captain I was assigned to many type 1 and type 2 fire incidents, but i was never a captain there, nor did i wear my captain bars. Almost an entire chapter in AUXCOMM is aimed at 'toning down' the vest wearing, flashing callsign badge wielding, car with orange light and magnetic sign driving, ham radio operator and helping him understand to leave that stuff at home, show up, sign in, and take the assignment given. It is the standard operating procedure for ICS.

3. Training should likely be thought of in two realms, administrative and functional. ICS-100,200,700 and 800 are administrative requirements. ICS 300 and 400 get a little more into function, but are administrative as well. No where, in any of those classes, do you learn how to operate your ham radio. need those admin type classes to understand how to be helpful in the ICS structure, but they literally have nothing to do with communications. On the functional side, you need hands on, proficiency based, training. You simply must be able to properly operate your radio equipment and other radio equipment as requested. Not only do you need to learn those skills, but you must practice and be able to demonstrate your proficiency at them. The ARRL EC classes are good information, however they do not require proficiency and spend a fair amount of time focusing on the ARRL/ARES structure (which is good if you use that). I took the EC-001 with an online mentor, after 5 chapters he told me I was grasping the material and could take the final test anytime. I did, passed, and received my certificate without ever operating a radio (and quite likely while sitting in my underwear on the couch). We must expect more from ourselves, if we are going to play in that arena.

The major push of the AUXCOMM concept is to get the communications resources into a managable group, under ICS, and use them where they are needed. Imagine showing up and when asking saying 'i only do ham radio', while others are saying 'i'll answer phones, run an HF FEMA net, operate the public safety trunked radio, or whatever you need me to do'. In an incident, you need skilled resources willing to serve.

Lincoln County Auxiliary Communications Service
Oregon ACES

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