WHAT IS AUXCOMM
AUX iliary COMM unications
1. AUXCOMM is the term used by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to identify adjunct and volunteer communication resources that augment the full time paid staff of an Emergency Management Agency (EMA). Volunteers, Hams and non-Hams can perform any communication related task that their training and experience has prepared them for.
2. Members of volunteer emergency and disaster communication groups such as ARES, MARS, RACES, REACT, and SATERN, as well as non-affiliated individuals, can use their skills and training to support local government EMA’s in time of need. The local EMA authority directs the utilization of the communication resources. They alone are in the best position to identify and prioritize needs in their jurisdiction.
3. The Incident Command System (ICS) must utilized by both Government and Non-Government (NGO) agencies that receive federal funding of any type. Developed in the mega-disasters of California it is an organized, defined and scalable operational framework that can be used to manage any size incident, event or disaster.
4. The first principle of AUXCOMM is that “all badges come off” when an individual, not normally a part of that agency, is working under the authority of the local EMA. It doesn’t matter if you are a MARS, ARES, RACES, or non-affiliated volunteer, under the principles of AUXCOMM you are a Technical Specialist (THSP) for that agency. You are a part of THAT EMA and must follow their instructions, guidelines, and directives. There is no third party management. It cannot exist in the ICS structure.
5. The Incident Command System (ICS) structure recognizes and places AUXCOMM THSP’s as needed. Development of relationships between the EMA personnel and the AUXCOMM volunteers is critical to efficient use of the volunteer resource. The THSP’s should be part of the regular exercises, and where possible day to day activities of the EMA.
6. In order to be considered for an AUXCOMM assignment, you must be registered with the emergency management agency having jurisdiction. Registration that identifies you and your skills and training is required by DHS and FEMA in order for the agency to qualify for applicable federal funding. The documented training must include courses in the Incident Command System (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the National Response Framework (NRF).
7. The key to utilizing a resource is to know what that resource can do. Assignment of an individual must be within the scope of their skills and training, with the agency liable for situations arising from improper placement. The agency is responsible for the actions of the volunteer and directed to provide for the safety and welfare of that individual as though they were a regular employee. Documented training and certification is absolutely necessary for emergency management to consider placement of the volunteer, both to protect the volunteer and the agency.