New ARRL Advanced Emergency Communications Course in the Works
Over the past several months, ARRL staff have been reviewing the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications online course program and have decided to combine two of the three Emergency Communications courses. According to ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, the review included a critical examination of the course content, as well as methods of course delivery and interrelationships with government organizations. Johnson said that the decision was made to revise the Level 3 course to become a new Advanced Emergency Communications Course; this, she said, will replace both the current Level 2 and Level 3 courses. The new advanced course is set to be released during the last quarter of 2009.
"Our aim is to develop professional level courses which are widely accepted by other organizations for the emergency communication component of Amateur Radio," she said. "We are investigating requirements that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is currently putting in place for approved courses, as well as other possibilities to develop emergency communications training that meets the emerging training needs surrounding emergency communications."
Students who have previously taken the Level 2 course will need to have the new advanced course to complete the current Amateur Radio Emergency Communications training program, Johnson explained. "Those who have completed the Level 1 course may progress directly to the advanced course when it is made available; this new course contains content formerly included in the former Level 2 and 3 courses." Johnson said that there are no current plans to change the Basic Level 1 course and that that course will continue to be offered in its current format.
With the combining of the Level 2 and 3 courses, Johnson said that anyone who had signed up for the Level 2 course set to begin April 17 may apply for a refund. Any scheduled field instruction of the Level 2 content, as well as Level 2 exam sessions, will also be suspended. "We will honor exam sessions that have been previously scheduled and award Level 2 certificates for any exams successfully completed up to May 31," she said.
"Our training program mandate is to provide the training that ham radio communicators need to be prepared to serve our communities in time of communications emergencies," Johnson explained. "This consolidation of program content will streamline the delivery of the training and apply volunteer and administrative support resources more effectively."