These three articles (pdf) from QST, the magazine of the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) discuss self-education opportunities for those involved at the intersection of disaster and public service (e.g., CERT), and amateur radio. They remain the copyright property of the ARRL, and are reprinted here with their explicit permission. For non-members of ARRL, QST is available in the periodicals section of the Encinitas public library. For more information, see the ARRL Website.

Education — The Foundation of Preparation.
Reprinted with permission, March 2016 QST; copyright ARRL.
Discusses FEMA independent study courses, with particular reference to the basic ICS and NIMS courses, IS-100, -200, -700, and -800, as well as some others of interest to communications specialists.

Getting Started With CERT
Reprinted with permission, April 2016 QST; copyright ARRL.
An introduction to CERT from the perspective of an experienced public service (ARES) radio amateur, including discussion of IS-317.

AUXCOMM – Intense Training for Serious Disasters
Reprinted with permission, May 2016 QST; copyright ARRL.
Discusses a program being promoted by the Department of Homeland Security – Office of Emergency Communications to provide in-depth standardized training on ICS procedures for communication specialists from various volunteer organizations. The training requires a major commitment of time and travel, but it is interesting reading.



For those members who are interested in pursuing emergency communications in greater depth and intensity than CERT can offer, an excellent next step would be ARES, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service. This is the Public Service arm of ARRL. The San Diego section of ARES has a website at This will explain their mission, and if you’re interested, how to get involved.

There are useful resources on that site even for those who don’t want to make the commitment of joining ARES. In particular, the ARES Comm Plan at > Library is a short document filled with useful links and guidance on emergency operations.