The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES ®) consists of FCC licensed amateur radio operators who have been trained in emergency communications and have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.
Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible to apply for membership in ARES®. Training may be required or desired to participate fully in ARES®. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.
What is Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), administered by local, county and state emergency management agencies, and supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the United States government. It is a part of the Amateur Radio Service that provides radio communications for civil-preparedness purposes only, during periods of local, regional or national civil emergencies. These emergencies are not limited to war-related activities, but can include natural disasters such as fires, floods and earthquakes.
As defined in the rules, RACES is a radio communication service, conducted by volunteer licensed amateurs, designed to provide emergency communications to local or state civil-preparedness agencies. It is important to note that RACES operation is authorized by emergency management officials only, and this operation is strictly limited to official civil-preparedness activity in the event of an emergency-communications situation.