By Faye Gaston

In the event of a natural disaster, or other forms of disasters, amateur radio may be the only available form of communication. This is commonly called "ham radio."

Volunteers are being recruited to train to become licensed amateur radio operators to serve in a volunteer auxiliary capacity through the Emergency Management Agency (EMA). In amateur radio clubs, these volunteers are referred to as ARES/RACES.

This stands for Amateur Radio Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services. Interested persons must complete training in the following areas: (1) become a licensed amateur radio operator, (2) Two Mini FEMA Courses of 1.5 to 3.5 hours duration, (3) EMCOMM 1 Course through ARRL. (4) Local Training, as required by the Emergency Management Agency.

All training courses are free and available online to be completed at your own pace. For more information, contact Doretha Heard, Macon Means at 334-724-7560 or by e-mail at

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