This article is a repost from February 2007. The issues still have not been resolved with the Emcomm community and face the Radio Amateur.
The original article with comments is at:
PLEASE NOTE THAT LAWS & THE AGREEMENTS YOU SIGN SHOULD BE RESPECTED. THIS ARTICLE IS A DISCUSSION POINT AND IS NOT ADVICE OR ENCOURAGEMENT TO DO ANYTHING MORE THAN PERSONALLY THINK ABOUT THIS ISSUE IN RESPECT TO YOUR PERSONAL SITUATION & TRAINING.
WHETHER YOU CHOOSE TO GO UNARMED OR ARMED IS YOUR DECISION ALONE.
A quick look through most Emcomm (Emergency Communication) MOA/MOU (Memorandum of Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding) with served agencies didn’t find an answer to a question a group of Radio Amateurs on-line were recently discussing.
Is it the done thing to go armed when responding to an Emcomm call out?
Reviews of the on-line MOA/MOU didn’t discern a documented official stance – actually no mention of Firearms, Mace, Weapons or Self-Defense could be found. The issue simply is never addressed.
The decision to go armed or not is not just personal security against violence issue, but displaced hungry/diseased aminals could well be an issue.
Though unless duely authorized by the government, an Emcomm volunteer may NOT be a law enforcement person legally. This can affect your options for self-defense choices.
Usually though a Served Agency expects that an Emcomm responder will be able to take care of themselves.
In other words, the served agency expects that Emcomm (ARES / RACES / Skywarn / REACT and so on) volunteers will not by design knowningly become additional victims during the call out.
If you are a dual-hat – such as a dual ARES/RACES & Red Cross volunteer, you may have compromised your self-defense options by the agreement with the secondary “convience membership.”
The exact type of personal protection a situation calls for will greatly vary with the type of call out, the ability of the volunteer and the foreseeable needs.
Where an urban situation where an Emcomm volunteer is being assigned to a stable community with the maximum foreseeable risk being problems with stray dogs and displaced vermin, a personal MACE or teargas dispenser may be more than enough.
For a responder who will be dealing with a remote area of woodland, perhaps as part of a search & rescue, where the wildlife includes significant dangers (Wolves & Bears) something serious in the way of a rifle may be considered a bare minimum of protection.
The pros & cons will be covered in a future article here at “With Varying Frequency – Amateur Radio Ponderings”
Whether to go Armed or Unarmed is a Personal Decision no matter what Emcomm Leaders say, specially if there is no mention in the operating MOA/MOU or SOPs. It is YOUR life as a volunteer on the line.73