Newington, CT - Sep 9, 2010 - The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is celebrating its 75th anniversary. This program of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) provides the ham radio emergency communications for agencies such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, emergency operations centers, the National Weather Service and other organizations.
The communications networks that ARES quickly creates -- without the need for other infrastructure -- remain critical in emergency planning. In the first hours of a major event, amateur radio is often the primary source of information on the situation and reactions needed to save lives.
The first mention of an organized Amateur Radio emergency response organization appears in the September 1935 issue of QST magazine. Some of the major responses needing ARES radio operators in recent years include the earthquake in Haiti; Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita; the Northeast blackout of 2003; the Shuttle Columbia recovery effort and the 9/11 attacks. ARES teams are currently aiding in the forest fire areas near Boulder, CO.
The ARRL says there are more than 690,000 FCC licensed amateur radio operators in the United States.