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Auxiliary Communications Service (aka A.R.E.S.)
Field Services Organization
The Auxiliary Communications Service (A.C.S.) is a group of dedicated, Industry Canada licensed, radio operators who volunteer their services and equipment to provide auxiliary communications in times of need. Amateur Radio operators have been doing this since 1935. We are fortunate in this country to have one of the most reliable telephone systems in the world, but in an emergency it can become overloaded and unusable. During these critical times we sometimes have to communicate in a more timely fashion to prevent loss of life and property.
ACS can be called upon in these times of crisis to help provide critical communications, to supplement, not to replace, existing radio communications systems. This service is provided free of charge. The A.C.S. Emergency Coordinator works with municipal and provincial officials and agencies, and others, in order to maintain communications during an emergency. ACS also works with another group of Amateur Radio operators who run the National Traffic System (NTS), to send messages locally, nationally and internationally.
The head of the local A.C.S. group is the Emergency Coordinator (EC). The EC is given the task of developing an Emergency Plan and training radio operators, to be ready in the event that normal communications are disrupted. The EC also works with ECs of neighboring counties, the District EC, and the Section EC (Ontario) during wide-spread disasters.
The A.C.S. holds drills on a regular basis, called SETS or Simulated Emergency Tests in November, as an exercise for local and national emergency radio networks, particularly using the NTS to transmit emergency radio traffic. A.C.S. encourages anyone interested to come out and see first-hand our communicators in action!
How can the A.C.S. help your organization? Discuss your needs with the A.C.S. Emergency Coordinator; we will try to accommodate your needs. We have a videotape showing how we operate during emergencies, and would be glad to arrange a viewing for your organization.
If you're a radio amateur, and you'd like to volunteer for the A.C.S., contact your local Emergency Co-ordinator. There is no membership fee, and you need not belong to any other amateur organization. All you need is a willingness to help!
If your community or charitable event needs reliable radio communications for health and welfare, safety, security or logistics, please contact the A.C.S.