Marshall has often mentioned the importance of Ham Radio for emergency communication for what is about to take place.
A great course on this subject (if you can find one in your area) is the AUXCOM class:http://www.arrlstx.org/index.php/ares/auxcom
AUXCOM is a Communication Course developed by the Deparment of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications that focuses on radio communication and provides a broad knowledge of the fundamental principles of communication systems used by emergency management agencies. It aligns with both ICS and NIMS.The course is designed to teach Volunteer Amateur Radio Communicators a number of essential topics that will assist them in working with the Communications Leader (COM-L) and the Communication Technical Lead (COM-T) during a disaster.
It is designed to confirm knowledge of responsibilities, roles, and functions within the Communications Unit, as well as roles and function of the auxiliary emergency communicator.
Identify positions within the Communications unit
Describe responsibilities of positions within the Communications Unit, including auxiliary emergency communications volunteers
Describe the planning cycle
Identify other agencies/organizations responsible for coordination and providing assets
Describe the functions of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
How does this relate to ARES? Our Served Agencies want to know and understand our level of training. Having an Amateur Radio license is not enough. They want/need their volunteers to come to the table with FEMA ICS training and other courses. AUXCOMM is a path to that level of comfort that our training aligns with typical First Responder training.
AUXCOM training is typically done by DSH trained volunteers and as such there are few courses available around the country.
You can read more about this and other training by going to the Public Safety Technical Assistance Tools website at:http://www.publicsafetytools.info/start_index_v2.php
I have taken the course myself and highly recommend it..