Purpose of ARES®
Amateur Radio Emergency Service, which has developed since 1935, is a part of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Organization.
Part 97 of the FCC's RULES and REGULATION, which covers the Amateur Radio Service ,states under "Basis and Purpose" in 97.1 (a) that: "Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary non-commercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications."
Amateurs have been involved with Public-service communications, emergency communications, since 1913. In the early days the involvement was unprepared and without any coordination. As stated in the PUBLIC SERVICE COMMUNICATIONS MANUAL, published by the ARRL, "As time progressed, the need for and value of organization became evident, resulting in the establishment of organized trunk lines and net systems; later the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the National Traffic System (NTS) were formed to complete the organization."
Today, "The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible for membership in the ARES. The only qualification, other than the possession of an Amateur Radio license, is a sincere desire to serve. Because ARES is an amateur service, only amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership".