Each member of an ARES organization must always consider that
he or she will be asked to take a field assignment providing
communication as a part of an emergency service response. Such an assignment may
require rapid response. To
be prepared for such an assignment, and to provide the best possible support, it
is important that certain items be collected and be easily and quickly accessed.
There are two types of ?Ready Kits?: Equipment and Personal. The lists that follow
provide guidance for what each type of ?Ready Kit? should include. Extra
items can of course be added based on individual judgment and experience,
coupled with knowledge of the specific type of services that may normally be
expected in the response area.
Remember that the goal for having a ?Ready Kit? is to
make your response to a field assignment more productive to the agency that you
are supporting, and to ensure that your needs are addressed in advance of the
About Your ?Ready Kits?
Power ? Your
radio 72-hour kit should have several sources of power in it, with extra
battery packs and an alkaline battery pack for your HT. For mobile VHF and UHF
radios, larger batteries are needed. Gel-cell or deep cycle marine batteries
would be good sources of battery power. You must keep them charged and ready to
go. It is also wise to have alternative means available to charge your
batteries during the emergency. You can charge smaller batteries from other larger
batteries. You can build a solar charging device. If you?re you may have access
to a power generator that can be used in place of the normal electrical lines.
Have more battery capacity than you think you might need. Have several methods
available to connect your radios to different power sources.
Gain Antennas ? You
can expect to need some kind of gain antenna for your HT, as well as an
additional gain antenna that can be used on either your HT or your mobile rig.
The extra antenna might be needed by someone else, or your first antenna might
break. For VHF and UHF, you can build a J-pole from a TV twinlead, for and
inexpensive and very compact antenna. Have several lengths of coax in your kit,
totaling at least 50 feet and with barrel connectors to connect the lengths
Personal ? Include
stapes: water, or a reliable water filtration and purification system; enough
food for three days, eating utensils, a drinking cup and, if needed, a means of
cooking your food. Shelter is also important. Here you are only limited by the
size of your kit and the thickness of your wallet. Some hams plan to use their
RVs as shelter, conditions permitting. Other disaster conditions may make the
use of an RV impossible, so you should have several different plans for
shelter. Light is important psychologically during an emergency. Make sure that
you have several light sources available. Various battery-powered lights are
available and propane or gasoline fueled lanterns are also good possibilities.