Training is the heart of the REACT program. REACTers should train to be prepared to render assistance to others in times of disaster or emergency. The motto of REACT is “Public Service Through Communications”. Communications is the life blood of any community and reliable backup emergency communications are needed in times of disaster or emergency.

Amateur Radio
Amateur Radio

Amateur radio often called ham radio, is both a hobby and a service in which participants, called “hams”, use various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public services, recreation, and self-training.

Amateur radio operation is licensed by an appropriate government entity (for example, by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States as coordinated through the International Telecommunication Union.

An estimated two million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio.

The term “amateur” does not imply a lack of skill or quality, but rather that the amateur radio operator is not paid for his or her efforts.

The initial licensing level is Technician Class. In order to receive a Technician Class license, you must first pass a 35 question multiple choice test.

Tampa Bay REACT Inc. partners with the Hillsborough County ARES / RACES Inc. organization to offer training and testing for Amateur Radio Licensing.

Amateur Radio Licenses are valid for 10 years, and there is no cost to renew your license. If you decide you want to upgrade to a higher class of license, a testing fee is generally required.

ARRL Level 1 Amateur Radio Emergency Communications

ARRL Public Service Communications Manual


The CERT National Program Office is pleased to announce that a new set of CERT training videos has been posted to the national CERT website. The eight new videos are described below. In addition to their primary use by CERT instructors during delivery of the CERT Basic Training course, the videos can used for review by individuals and teams who have completed their basic training. The CERT in Action video can also be used by CERT coordinators/managers to help promote the program. Three of the videos depict effective trainer techniques in demonstrating and coaching CERT skills in the classroom. These are intended for use in the CERT Train-the-Trainer course. To ensure they are accessible to a broad audience, each video is also available in closed-caption format or with Spanish subtitles.

Please visit the national CERT website at to view more information. The videos can be downloaded and viewed at your computer, or copied onto a DVD. Whether for your own use, CERT training in the classroom or for a community preparedness event, we hope you find these new resources useful.





In 2004, the Department of Homeland Security released the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as required by Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-5, Management of Domestic Incidents and HSPD-8 Preparedness.

HSPD-5 established and designated the National Integration Center (NIC) Incident Management Systems Division as the lead federal entity to coordinate NIMS compliance. Its primary function is to ensure that NIMS remains an accurate and effective management tool through the refining and adapting compliance requirements to address ongoing preparedness needs.

What is the National Incident Management System?

  • Comprehensive, nationwide systematic approach to incident management
  • Core set of doctrine, concepts, principles, terminology and organizational processes for all hazards
  • Essential principles for a common operating picture and interoperability of communications and information management
  • Standardized resource management procedures for coordination among different jurisdictions and organizations
  • Scalable and applicable for all incidents

Key Benfits of NIMS.

  • Enhances organizational and technological interoperability and cooperation
  • Provides a scalable and flexible framework with universal applicability
  • Promotes all-hazards preparedness
  • Enables a wide variety of organizations to partcipate effectively in emergency management / incident response
  • Institutionalizes professional emergency management / incident practices

NIMS Audience

NIMS is applicable to all incidents and all levels of stakeholders, including levels of government, private sector organizations, critical infrastructure owners and operators, non-governmental organizations and all other organizations who assume a role in emergency management. Elected and appointed officials and policy makers, who are responsible for jurisdictional policy decisions, must also have a clear understanding of NIMS to better serve their constituency.

NIMS Components

Built on existing structures, such as the Incident Command System (ICS), NIMS creates a proactive system to assist those responding to incidents or planned events. To unite the practice of emergency management and incident response thoughout the country, NIMS focuses on five key areas, or components. These components link together and work in unison to form a larger and comprehensive incident management system.

NIMS Componets include:

  • Preparedness
  • Communications and Information Management
  • Resource Management
  • Command and Management
  • Ongoing Management and Maintenance

What NIMS is not

  • A response plan
  • Only used during large-scale incidents
  • Only applicable to certain emergency management / incident response personnel
  • Only the Incident Command System (ICS)

Suggested NIMS / ICS Courses for REACTers

IS-100.c Introdution to the Incident Command System, ICS-100

ICS-100, Introduction to the Incident Command System, introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

Prerequisites: None

IS-200.c ICS for Single Resources and Inital Action Incidents

ICS-200 is designed to enable personnel to operate efficiently during an incident or event within the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS-200 provides training on and resources for personnel who are likely to assume a supervisory position within ICS.

Prerequisites: ICS-100

IS-700.b NIMS An Introduction

This course introduces and overviews the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS provides a consistant nationwide template to enable all government, private-sector, and non-governmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents.

Prerequisites: None

IS-800.c National Response Framework, An Introduction




This course introduces participants to the concepts and principles of the National Response Framework.

Prerequisites: None

NWS encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN® program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.
Links to Great Info on the Web

Did You Know…

  • that storm spotters were first used during WWII to alert the military artillery plants of approaching lightning?
  • that after WWII spotter networks were maintained for military installations?
  • that after the May 25, 1955 tornado in Udall, KS killed 80 people, the NWS decided to train their own severe weather spotters?
  • that the first spotter training course was held March 8, 1959 in Wellington, KS for 225 weather spotters?
  • that the Skywarn™ program was officially created in 1965?
NWS has 122 local Weather Forecast Offices, each with a Warning Coordination Meteorologist, who is responsible for administering the SKYWARN® program in their local area. Training is conducted at these local offices and covers:
  • Basics of thunderstorm development
  • Fundamentals of storm structure
  • Identifying potential severe weather features
  • Information to report
  • How to report information
  • Basic severe weather safety
Classes are free and typically are about two hours long. To find a class in your area:

Although SKYWARN® spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a SKYWARN® spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States. These events threatened lives and property.

SKYWARN® storm spotters are part of the ranks of citizens who form the Nation’s first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time–seconds and minutes that can help save lives.

Training and Resources