It’s all about KSA! Knowledge, Skills and Abilities.
Do you have them for Emergency Communications response?
Do you have the training that provides you the KSA you need to participate in Emergency Communications within the Incident Command System structure used by the State of North Carolina and Forsyth County?
Without this training, without the KSA your usefulness for Emergency Communications response is extremely limited. I hear from amateurs all the time telling me “I don’t want to take the time to take the training, but when things happen you can count on me to be there to help”. The reality is, when that time comes, unless you are trained, my hands a tied and by state mandate, I can’t use you. Why you ask? Simple, you do not have the KSA required. Also because you do not meet the minimum training requirements, you cannot be included in a mission / tasking assignment (number) which provides insurance coverage for you while deployed / activated. And lastly because in reality, you would not understand what is going on, how to complete required documentation or communicate using proper EmComm procedures. Emergencies are NOT the time for training.
Professionals train until they do not get it wrong. Amateurs train until they get it right.
It is said that Practice makes perfect and in regards to emergency communications that statement is fact. Our skills are PERISHABLE! All because you know how to rag chew, do FT8, CW or just have a good time on the radio does not mean you are ready to respond to emergency / public service communications needs. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you know how to properly prepare and transmit ICS-213 by voice?
- Do you know how to operate on WinLink?
- Do you know the Forsyth County AuxComm SOP’s?
- Do you know how AuxComm functions within the Incident Command Structure?
- Do you know the proper pro-words to use?
- Do you know what is expected for deployment?
- Do you think that if you are not deployable that you are not useful and don’t need to know these things?
You can find answers to all these questions during our nets, Zoom meetings and exercises.
REQUIRED AND OPTIONAL TRAINING
All members, active and associate (who wish to participate in actual operations) of Forsyth County AuxComm are required to complete specific training so that they understand and can interface effectively with public safety officials. Members are trained in the Incident Command System, NWS SkyWarn® (Storm spotting), Basic and Advanced Emergency Communications as well as personal preparedness. Some training is mandated by the State of North Carolina Office of Emergency Management however this is minimal.
NOTE: This training is not required for Associate members who do not deploy during actual operations and only provide administrative or other background support roles.
REQUIRED TRAINING (Active and Deployable Associate)
INCIDENT COMMAND SYSTEM:
This training is available self-paced online and is provided by FEMA on their Independent Study website at https://training.fema.gov/is/crslist.aspx. It is recommended taking the course in the following order, IS-700, IS-800, IS-100, and IS-200. Each course will take approximately 3 hours to complete. There is no recurrent training requirement for these courses at this time.
IS-800 National Response Framework
OPERATIONS SECURITY (OPSEC):
This training is provided by the Center for Development of Security Excellence and includes information on maintaining OPSEC for our operations with governmental partners. This training in self-paced on-line and takes approximately 25 minutes to complete. This course must be completed bi-annually.
EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS (EmComm 101)
This 8 hour course was developed by Forsyth County AuxComm and provides personnel with both basic and advanced training in Emergency Communications. The training covers a variety of topics that are applicable to amateur radio operators, CERT communications personnel and all non-public safety communicators. Dates will be published as courses are planned.
To obtain critical weather information, the National Weather Service (NWS) established SKYWARN® is a volunteer program which trains severe weather spotters. These volunteer spotters help keep their communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the NWS.
This course is free and lasts approximately 2 hours. You will learn about:
- Basics of thunderstorm development
- Fundamentals of storm structure
- Identifying potential severe weather features
- Information to report
- How to report information
- Basic severe weather safety
AuxComm personnel are required to take this course bi-annually. Forsyth County AuxComm in cooperation with the Forsyth Amateur Radio Club offers this training jointly in March every even numbered year. Dates will be published.
ADDITIONAL OPTIONAL TRAINING
As part of Forsyth County AuxComm, our members have available to them various courses put on by North Carolina Office of Emergency Management. Members must have an NCTERMS account to sign up for these courses. Key courses that are applicable to AuxComm are:
NC ALL-HAZARDS AUXILIARY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS (AUXCOMM) ADVANCED COURSE (NC-AECC-005-A):
This 3-day class is designed for auxiliary communicators and groups who volunteer to provide redundant and contingency communications support to public safety agencies through amateur radio and other communication technologies. North Carolina offers this course jointly with OEC and FEMA. This course provides DHS-approved and NIMS-compliant instructors who have had experience operating within a NIMS/ICS environment and as auxiliary communicators. This course addresses all responsibilities appropriate to a volunteer auxiliary communicator while serving on a local or state-level All-Hazard Incident Management Team.
This course focuses on auxiliary communications interoperability, the relationship between the Communications Unit and the volunteer, emergency operations center (EOC) etiquette, on-the-air etiquette, FCC rules and regulations, auxiliary communications training and planning, and auxiliary communications personnel deployment processes and procedures. This course is intended to supplement and standardize an auxiliary communicator’s experience and knowledge of contingency communications within the context of public safety and NIMS/ICS.
This advanced course is presented with facilitated lectures, interactive discussions, and a Communications Unit drill. Instructors will work through the discussions and activities to explain in detail the processes and functioning of a Communications Unit. The NC All-Hazards Auxiliary Emergency Communications (AUXCOMM) Advanced Course should be completed by personnel who have an affiliation with a public safety agency, an active FCC amateur radio license, past experience in auxiliary communications, and a desire to work within a Communications Unit in a NIMS/ICS environment.
Participants must meet the current prerequisites listed in the NCTERMS course offering.
Note that Reimbursement is available. NCEM typically provides meal and lodging reimbursement for this offering within the NCOSBM Guidelines. The guidelines and reimbursement forms are located as an attachment for this class.
Registration thought NCTERMS is required.
Notify firstname.lastname@example.org once registered as your active status can be confirmed before you are fully registered for the course.
This is an 8-week self-paced course designed for amateur radio operators which entails transmitting messages via HF WinLink protocols. Participants learn how to configure and operate the using the WinLink software to send emails via HF radio. Participants must hold a valid FCC Amateur Radio license. This course is highly recommended for all Active members.
ADVANCED ICS COURSES (ICS-300 / ICS-400):
These courses present the participant with advanced ICS principles and are intended for those in supervisory or staff positions. The courses are open to all AuxComm members and participation is encouraged. ICS-300 is a 4-day in-class course whereas a 3-day course. Both are also provided in a virtual version.
This course is designed to familiarize select AuxComm Communicators with the WEBEOC software which is used by WS/FC Office of Emergency Management. This is a 4 hour course and is typically scheduled on an as needed basis. This course is required for Communications Team Leaders. Look for listings here in the future.
These and many other courses are available to Active and Associate members. To register for any of these courses you must first register in NC TERMS.
NORTH CAROLINA TRAINING EXERCISE RESPONSE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (NCTERMS)
Various course available to AuxComm members such as those described above are listed in and can be registered for in NCTERMS. The NCTERMS link is:
This will take you to the front page where you can register and look at the courses that are available. Most courses will be available to AuxComm personnel however some are restricted.