ARRL, Red Cross Sign Memorandum of Understanding
On Thursday, March 25, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the American Red Cross (ARC) at ARC National Headquarters in Washington, DC. The MoU, which replaces an earlier Statement of Understanding that expired in 2007, provides a "broad framework for cooperation" between the ARRL and the ARC "in preparing for and responding to disaster relief situations at all levels in rendering assistance and service to victims of disaster, as well as other services for which cooperation may be mutually beneficial."
The ARRL Board of Directors approved the signing of the MoU at its January 2010 meeting following the completion of negotiations. The Red Cross requires the completion of a criminal background check to participate in Red Cross activities and provides a process by which a volunteer may have a criminal background check performed at no cost to the volunteer. In the case of ARRL volunteers, the Red Cross has agreed to accept an alternative process: ARRL volunteers may arrange, at their own initiative and expense, to have the criminal background check performed by a state or local law enforcement agency.
The Red Cross also has agreed that ARRL volunteers shall not be asked or required to consent to credit checks, mode of living investigations or investigative consumer reports in order to provide a communications function.
The ARRL and the Red Cross encourage interested volunteers in their respective organizations to become members and to participate in the activities of the other organization. ARRL volunteers should be aware that if they wish to become Red Cross volunteers, they may be required to consent to additional background checks in accordance with Red Cross policy that may include credit checks, mode of living investigations or investigative consumer reports.
Per the MoU, "both ARRL volunteers and ARC workers will work cooperatively at the scene of a disaster and in the disaster recovery, within the scope of their respective roles and duties as recommended." During a Red Cross Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) and depending on their training and qualifications, ARRL volunteers may perform in one or more of several roles, including Amateur Radio Liaison, Communication Equipment Operator, Communication Equipment Installation/Repair and Disaster Assessment. ARRL volunteers who are assigned roles by the Red Cross during a DRO will be provided with Red Cross credentials as required by the role, consistent with Red Cross policy.
"Because of the importance of emergency communications, we are happy to be able to continue the League's long-standing relationship with the American Red Cross," said ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN. "The ARC and other served agencies give Amateur Radio operators the worthwhile missions in our communities that allow us to thank America for the privilege of being hams."