The November meeting of ARES of Champaign County was held Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at the Fire Service Institute.  Here are important notes from that meeting and other news.


We ran a "deployment" tabletop exercise at the November 2 meeting. The scenario revolved around a tornado causing severe damage in Philo and Sidney and the subsequent emergency response.  Participants were divided into two teams.  One team had to determine what personnel were needed, who was available, and develop a schedule for the locations that need to be staffed.  The second team was charged with determining what equipment and material resources would be needed to support the personnel responding.  After both teams completed their assignments, we discussed the results and where changes and adjustments might be be made. There were some good ideas that came out of the discussion, among them ways to make scheduling personnel easier and how non-ARES hams could be utilized to assist in such a situation.

Deb Fruitt, who has served as Disaster Services Coordinator here in the Champaign office, is leaving the Red Cross to pursue new challenges with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District as the Director of Chronic Disease and Health Promotion beginning November 6. Transition teams will take care of the disaster response responsibilities until Deb's replacement is found, with oversight by Billy Woodward, Director of Emergency Services in the Peoria office.

I'd like to thank Deb for all of her efforts in supporting an excellent working relationship between ARC and amateur radio in Champaign County. We wish Deb all the best in her new position!

The American Red Cross has recently notified their local chapters that their volunteers and staff members must submit to a criminal background check. The list of volunteers who are being asked to submit to the background checks has been expanded to include volunteers with other organizations who assist the Red Cross during times of disaster relief efforts,
such as amateur radio operators volunteering through their local ARES unit. However, there is serious concern over the level of information that volunteers are asked to agree allow access to, which includes a credit and consumer check. This is far more information than is needed for a criminal background check.

The ARRL is urging amateurs to be very careful before agreeing to such a background check. In a press release from the ARRL, ARRL President Joel Harrison stated "The Red Cross is requiring volunteers to grant permission for more than just a criminal background check." They are also requiring permission to draw a consumer and/or investigative consumer report on the volunteer." Harrison said that could also include a credit check and a mode-of-living check.

"The Red Cross has stated that they will not use credit reports," he noted. "Requiring that volunteers authorize the procurement of a credit report is inconsistent with this assurance." The on-line application allows applicants to request a copy of any consumer report resulting from its background investigation."
You can view the ARRL statement on this recent policy at .  We are still trying to get more clarification on this, and I would suggest that you do not do anything until we have more information.

The 2006 SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) will be held on December 2, 2006, from 0000 to 2400 GMT.  The National Weather Service utilizes SRD to show appreciation to amateur radio operators who support operations during critical weather days. This will be the eighth consecutive year that SRD will take place.  More information can be found at the national web site: The link includes a list of participating offices, information on QSL cards, and other info.  Last year, the Lincoln, IL office had 543 QSOs, worked 49 states, and 53 NWS offices.  Their 543 QSOs was the fifth highest total in the country, tied with Buffalo, NY.  The Grand Junction, CO topped all offices with 1374 QSOs

As of November 2, 18 CCARES members have completed ICS-100, 16 have completed ICS-700, 9 completions of ICS-200, and 6 completions of ICS-800. 

Remember that under the requirements of NIMS, all participants, even volunteers, are required to have some basic training for NIMS.  The two courses required, as a minimum, for volunteers are FEMA IS-100: Introduction to the Incident Command System and FEMA IS-700: National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction.   Under current regulations the first two courses must be completed. If they are not completed, you will not be allowed to work with Champaign County EMA as an ARES volunteer in an emergency or disaster response. This may also extend to working with the Red Cross in such disasters.

More information and links to the FEMA Emergency Management Institute can be found on the WA9RES web site.

When you complete any of the FEMA courses, you will need to send a copy of your course completion certificate to me so your training file can be updated and we have a record of your completion.

The weekly ARES net is held each Tuesday, 9:00 p.m., on the 444.100 repeater, CTSS 162.2.  NOTE: The weekly net script was recently updated - please download the latest version from the web site.

November 7       KC9HND
November 14     KC9IHX
November 21     KF8ZN
November 28     N9GPA
December 6       AB9FJ

The next regular meeting will be on Wednesday, December 6, at 7:00 p.m. This will be our annual corporate business meeting, with election of officers and board members.  Check the web site for updated details.