WHAT DOES CERTIFICATION MEAN?
It means you have successfully passed the required
educational courses necessary to become a reliable,
informed and productive volunteer and participant in any
emergency or support event within the Lake County
Emergency Management Agency, our sponsor. It also
demonstrates your commitment and dedication to serving
the community most efficiently and effectively by
investing time in learning how emergency events will
operate in the county and your part in those events.
Finally, certified operators also assist the Lake County
EMA in obtaining and qualifying for funding, which
ultimately helps support the Lake County RACES/ARES®
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO BECOME CERTIFIED?
You must successfully complete the courseware defined by
the ARRL/ARES® or the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) or Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA)
and Lake County Emergency Management Agency (LCEMA).
WHY ARE THERE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF CERTIFICATION?
There are three levels of certification in effect,
designed to accommodate the various needs for trained
personnel in any emergency deployment, as well as to
allow you to focus on the areas of volunteer service and
amateur radio focus you prefer.
ARES® – This certification is an excellent entry point
into becoming a fully certified Lake County RACES/ARES®
emergency communication resource. Certification is easy!
Just pass the Introduction to Emergency Communications
(EC-01) course, as defined by the ARRL ARES®
organization and complete FEMA IS 100 and IS 700.
RACES Level 2 – The focus of this certification is on
compliance with FEMA, IEMA and LCEMA training
requirements. This level is the way to go if you are
interested in focusing your time with serving the LCEMA
with communications during emergency events. You should
successfully complete IS-100, IS-200, IS-700 and IS-800
online classes for certification.
RACES Level 1 – The ultimate level of certification
delivers the most rewarding RACES/ARES experience. Once
you have completed ARRL EC-01, IS-100, IS-200, IS-700
and IS-800, and successfully pass a criminal background
check, you have reached the highest level of LCEMA
certification. At this level, you will be one of Lake
County RACES/ARES® organizations finest, relied upon as
a knowledgeable emergency event communications expert.
WHICH CERTIFICATION PATH IS BEST FOR ME?
There are two paths to certification. You can select the
one you are most comfortable with completing. You may
elect to follow the ARRL/ARES® certification path by
taking Introduction to Emergency Communications Course
(EC-01). You may elect to follow the LCEMA certification
path by passing IS 100, 200, 700 and 800 classes. Once
you have ARES® or RACES Level 2 certification, you can
then elevate yourself by completing the remaining
training and become a RACES Level 1 certified
HOW MUCH TIME WILL IT TAKE TO BECOME CERTIFIED?
That depends upon you. Most all mandatory and optional
courseware is available on line and can be completed at
your leisure in the evenings, on weekends, etc. To
supplement this online courseware, from time to time
Lake County RACES/ARES® organization conducts classroom
courses for those who prefer this method. The time
investment is not extensive, but does require a
commitment to learn and complete the assigned courses.
ONCE I AM CERTIFIED, DO I HAVE TO RENEW ANNUALLY?
Once you have completed a certification class, it is not
necessary to retake that class on an annual basis. As
the requirements for certification are refined and
advanced by FEMA, IEMA and LCEMA, it may require
additional or new class certifications in the future in
order to remain in step with their event operations
WHAT IF, I AM NOT CERTIFIED, CAN I STILL PARTICIPATE
IN THE RACES/ARES® ORGANIZATION?
Most certainly, YES we urge every licensed amateur radio
person of any age to participate and contribute to the
Lake County RACES/ARES® organization and our numerous
activities. Non-certified hams are welcome and urged to
participate as we assist several non-emergency events
annually. However, if you are ARES®, RACES Level 1 or
Level 2 certified, and then you can be assigned to
operate communications equipment within any LCEMA
emergency event. Also, consider that RACES Level 2
certification is required to qualify for a Lake County
EMA-R.A.C.E.S. ID card. Only individuals with EMA -R.A.C.E.S.
ID cards will be granted access to some controlled areas
during emergency deployments. In almost every instance,
communications support staff will need access to
restricted areas in order to perform their assigned
duties. If you are not certified, you are encouraged to
participate in any emergency event. However, it most
likely will be in support of activities in a non-secured
area. Volunteers may receive day passes for clearance to
secured event areas, but event management always makes
WHY IS CERTIFICATION NECESSARY?
Certification to both LCEMA and the Lake County
RACES/ARES® organization was adopted for several
reasons. It establishes a well-trained team of
volunteers who not only are amateur radio capable, but
also are trained and aware of the organization,
procedures and operational guidelines and policies used
during all emergency events managed by IEMA and LCEMA.
Additionally, since certification is a requirement of
FEMA and IEMA, it is a key element to demonstrate local
resources during issues of funding, readiness assessment
and personnel capacity estimations. Finally, as
mentioned earlier, most emergency support situations
that we will be in secured and controlled areas. Access
to these controlled areas requires you to have access
credentials, such as the Lake County EMA -R.A.C.E.S. ID
card. To obtain a card, you must complete the required
RACES Level 1 certification process.
WHY IS THE LAKE COUNTY EMA RACES ID BADGE NECESSARY?
It is not if you wish to volunteer to assist with an
emergency event. However, only those with valid Lake
County EMA -R.A.C.E.S. ID credential will be granted
access to some secure event areas. Much of the amateur
radio centric work we perform will require access to
secure areas. If you are not certified and issued an ID,
assignment to a communications or amateur radio
assignment is less likely. However, you can still
volunteer and participate in other capacities without
ALL THESE NEW ACRONYMS (NIMS, ICS, IAP, ETC.) ARE
CONFUSING, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?
The acronyms and phrases are all part of the emergency
event organization structure and policies that apply to
programs, procedures and policies of all FEMA, IEMA and
LCEMA managed events. In order for you to participate
and contribute to these events most efficiently and
effectively, it is important for you to have a good
general understanding of the programs, event
organization and policies that apply. This is what the
certification training supplies you, the knowledge to
understand and contribute to the operations, which
follow the FEMA guidelines.
MUST I BECOME CERTIFIED TO REMAIN A MEMBER OF THE
LAKE COUNTY RACES/ARES® ORGANIZATION?
Certification in either ARES® or RACES training programs
is not a mandatory requirement. You are welcome to join
the Lake County RACES/ARES® organization and participate
in the numerous non-emergency activities, attend
meetings, etc. Some join our organization to support the
operation of the repeaters and do not intend to become
certified. The door is always open, should you decide to
make the step to contribute your time and knowledge in
support of emergency operations in our area. While the
focus of our organization is in support of emergency
communications tasks and the Lake County Emergency
Management Agency, you will always be welcome,
certification or no certification.
I RECENTLY RECEIVED THE DIGITAL MODE CERTIFICATION; DOES
THIS QUALIFY IN THE MINIMUM CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS?
No. The education and certification requirements we
outlined are mandates of Federal, State and County
authorities. The Digital Mode certification is valuable,
but an optional offering of the Lake County RACES/ARES®
organization. We urge you to become certified in any of
the Digital Modes that the Lake County RACES/ARES®
organization will use, but it does not act as a
prerequisite or alternate for this certification
IS THERE A DEADLINE FOR CERTIFICATION?
There are no deadlines for certification. As soon as you
complete your training, and copies of your certificates
are provide to the organizations secretary, your
training record is updated and certificates/ID issued if