In Marion county Florida, there are three avenues you can participate on to assist with HAM radio communications during and event, or emergency. The first and best known is ARES, the second and most connected in the county is MERT, the third is you are on your own.
The first and oldest team to work with is ARES, part of the ARRL structure. In most counties in the county, ARES is the primary way to set up communications that connects with official emergency services, like shelters and the county EOC. That is not true in Marion County. ARES plays a secondary role, only being officially used if the county sheriff’s emergency services says so. I will explain in more detail in my ARES section on this website.
The second and official way is to belong to the Marion Emergency Radio Team, a division of the county emergency services. MERT has a very complete radio room at the EOC and is part of the overall operations there. To participate in MERT you must join and be admitted into the organization after background checks and training, I will explain in more detail in my MERT section on this website.
The third way is the “You Are On Your Own” method. There is very little, if any, help here. But, fear not, I will be with you.