Hello to all….
The following is an announcement on the new ARES Online Registration Form and Database. This writeup was put together by Mike Neilsen-W1MPN, Eastern Massachusetts ARRL Section Manager, Phil McNamara-N1XTB, ARES EC MARS Liaison, Carl Aveni-N1FY, ARRL Assistant Section Manager-Chief of Staff and South Shore ARES DEC and Rob Macedo-KD1CY, Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator. This announcement was posted as a special message to the ARRL email list.
Eastern Massachusetts ARES is pleased to announce a new method for radio amateurs to register with the section’s ARES program. Through the tremendous efforts of a team headed by Phil McNamara-N1XTB, we now have a new ARES online registration form and database for the Eastern Massachusetts section. Over the years, it has been very difficult to maintain continuity as people signed with the ARES program. With the ubiquity of the Internet, we now have a means that will allow people to register, and then receive rapid acknowledgement that their application has been received. Other powerful features of this database include allowing the user to self- update their information including response status changes, address and contact changes, new equipment or resources, and training from ARES, ARECC classes, SKYWARN Classes, and Incident Command System training etc.
The database will also notify the responsible area DEC and the SEC that a new application has been filed, or the pertinent contact information has changed. Phil, N1XTB, has enabled people in the ARES leadership to be notified of your application (or changes to it), in order to more effectively manage their cadre. The new online ARES database will also send the individual an email acknowledging their session shortly after submitting their registration. The new registrant should then contact his DEC or the SEC for other email lists and information that may be available to him. Also, our local Emergency Coordinator’s will be given access to review ARES applications for their specified coverage area. As the ARES leadership changes, the database can be easily modified to maintain continuity.
The Eastern Massachusetts ARES leadership successfully migrated the previous aging Microsoft Access database and integrated outstanding paper ARES Applications. This effort was spearheaded largely by the tremendous effort of Gil Follett- W1GMF, who updated over 300 people in the database, including call sign, name, address, phone numbers and email address. The Eastern Massachusetts ARES staff is very appreciative of his work. We are now asking that registrants fill in the remainder of the registration information and make any corrections.
We feel that much of this information has changed since originally provided by you. Those Amateurs who do not have Internet access can still obtain the paper ARES registration form from your ARES EC, DEC, or SEC. The Eastern Massachusetts ARES staff encourages Amateurs to learn computer and Internet capabilities as working in today’s emergency communications situations usually require these skills.
In the database inquiry form, you will notice we now ask for your date of birth information and a recent photograph. Since the attacks of September 11th, security has become a paramount issue to the agencies we serve. More questions are being asked prior to participation in federal exercises as well as some activation’s where the federal government is involved, resulting in their requiring our members date of birth data. As this information may be requested with little or no advanced warning, we encourage all participating Amateurs to put this information into the database. You can be sure that the information will only be utilized when it is required by a served agency for ID card preparation. Please be advised that without this information, we may not be able to make you available for operations such as Operation Atlas or TOPOFF-III where the DHS requires this information in order to participate. This information improves our readiness for a major disaster response.
During the testing and data entry phase, some of you may have received a message stating a registration has been submitted for ARES. This was due to having the email mechanism turned on during testing phase. We understand some of you may have deleted this message as spam. After this press release circulates via email lists over the next few days, you will receive an email concerning your registration with login information. At that time, we ask that you login and update your record accordingly. Please take the time to update any training at the link at the top of your record page.
There may be some concern about privacy, hackers and spammers. Phil, N1XTB, keeps the site updated with the latest security patches. The information that you provide is protected by the same robust technology used in credit card transactions and online banking.
We are most fortunate to have received the benefit of Phil’s expertise with online database development work. He deserves a tremendous amount of credit for giving the gift of his time and abilities to the section on this project. Phil has been a huge asset to the section having assisted with the many ARES and SKYWARN activations over the past several years.
If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please email Rob-KD1CY, Eastern Massachusetts ARES SEC at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will get back to you ASAP. Thank you all for your continued support of Eastern Massachusetts ARES! We hope you will see this new online registration form and database as a huge asset to our section!