Deployment Kit (DRAFT for comment)

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Emergency Communication Deployment Kit

Version 4 (9/14/2021)

Personal Equipment, Clothing, and Sustainment

Carry On Your Person

  • Drivers License OR other REAL ID [i]
  • ARES, ACS, Served-Agency Identification Card, [ii]
  • Copy of amateur radio license
  • Watch, consider adding watch band compass;
  • Whistle, “Pea-less,” non-metallic [iii]
  • Cash, coins, and Travelers Checks. [iv] 
  • Individual[v] first aid kit, [vi]
  • Hard Hat, Wide Brim W Sun vale OR Thermal Liner.
  • Back up corrective glasses.
  • Dust tight googles. [vii]

Carry in Chest Harness or Holster

Carry in or on Day Pack OR Waist Pack

  • Headset, Noise Canceling, OR speaker/microphone with earphone and hearing protectors,
  • 2 Additional charged XL secondary batteries, [ix]
  • Primary battery shell for portable radio with batteries for 2 refills,
  • Roll up VHF/UHF Antenna,
  • External antenna adapter cable,
  • Throwing halyard to hoist J-Pole up to elevated point,
  • 2          Water bottles with nested cups
  • 2 quart collapsible canteen
  • Spare Glasses Or Contact Lenses (contact solutions), [x]
  • Goggles [xi]
  • Hi Visibility Vest, ANSI Type 3, Mesh for all weather use.
  • N95 Mask / Respirator
  • Toilet Paper/Kleenex
  • Sun screen (winter or summer)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Maps of the area (Topographic and street) [xii]
  • Cellular Telephone and Recharging block with cord. (Program with Fire Chat prior to deployment)
  • Head Lamp, Flashlight, and extra batteries,
  • Rain Suit and space blanket OR Rain Poncho and Poncho Liner,

Optional based on assignment.

  • Tripod supported mast to height appropriate to assignment;
  • Coaxial cable, RG-8X (LMR-240) length appropriate to assignment.

Carry In Deployment Pack Or Bag

  • Sleeping Mask
  • Ear Plugs
  • Moist Towelette Packets
  • Wash cloth, Microfiber preferred
  • Bath Towel, Microfiber preferred
  • Shower shoes
  • Personal grooming kit
  • Folding Stove & Trioxane fuel bars OR Sterno stove and 9 small cans Sterno
  • Mess Kit,
  • Identification Vest [xiii]

48 Hour Sustainment Extension Module


Personal Sustainment Supplies

  • Personal Medication, expected deployment duration + 3 days! [xiv]
  • 2 Day Supply Of Water, 1gallon per day minimum. 2 Gallons per day in hot weather. Plus 1 additional gallon.
  • Electrolyte dry mix packets, Sugar free if possible,
  • 2 Day Supply Of Food, non perishable, edible without heating.




Carry One Change In Day Pack. Remainder In Deployment Bag.


Danger, Warning The use of cotton, or any other water absorbing fabric, in your clothing or bedding exposes you to a risk of Hypothermia. Hypothermia can kill at temperatures well above freezing!

  • Two full changes of seasonally appropriate clothing (bright colors for shirts and jackets)
  • Shoes, Fully enclosing and puncture resistant,
    • Spare laces
  • Hat, Seasonally appropriate, Broad brimmed, Ball caps are inappropriate, No Logos or affiliations other than ARES or Served Agency,
  • Gloves, work protective,
  • Mittens with flip off ends, Cold Weather,

Shelter & Bedding

  • Sleeping Bag or Bags
  • Sleeping Mat,
  • Travel pillow,
  • 1 Person Shelter,
    • Shelter floor protector,
    • Awning, Poles, Cord, Stakes,

Tool Kit:

Carry in small tool bag (Heavy GI Canvas Bag or equivalent)

  • Screw Drivers (Straight, Phillips, Roberts and Torx)
  • Pliers; needle nose,  6 inch utility, 9” lineman’s, 7” diagonal cutting, flush cutting
  • Crescent Wrench; 4 inch, 8 inch
  • Socket Set, SAE & Metric with ¼ inch Ratcheting Drive Handle and straight driver handle
  • Volt Ohm Meter (Multimeter)
  • Fence Tool (includes hammer)
  • Set of Allen wrenches bolted into handle
  • Set of Torx drivers bolted into handle
  • Crimp Tool Frame
    • Crimp dies for; Coaxial, Ethernet, and Anderson Power Pole Crimp Connectors.

Office Kit

 In Computer Bag OR Brief Case

  • 1          Steno Pad, Write in the rainR
  • 1          Pen, Waterproof ink,
  • 2          Ink refills, waterproof,
  • 1          Pencil, mechanical,
  • 1          Marker, Sharpie Retractable
  • 1 each Highlighter, Green, Pink, Yellow;
  • 10        Pencils, ½ length
  • 1          Clip Board, waterproof, multi compartment,
  • 2          Clip Boards, Plastic with low profile paper clamp, and hanging loop,
  • 2          Bound paper pad/s, 8-1/2 X 11, Rite in the rainR
  • 20         Message form blanks,
  • 1          Stapler, In hand, usable without supporting surface, 
  • 1          Staple puller,
  • 1          Lightweight 3 hole punch, clips into binder form factor
  • 1          Small container of paper clips,
  • 10        Assorted paper binder clips,
  • 1          Ruler, 6 inch/15 CM OR 12 inch/30 CM,
  • 1          Copy of section ARES operations manual,
  • 1          List of served agency phone numbers in your area (not just your district),

Supplies and Spares

  • Assortment of crimp on connectors
  • 1 Roll each: Clear page repair tape, Gaffers tape, Silicon Repair Tape.
  • Paracord 100 feet.
  • Fasteners, spares for equipment external screws, mounts, covers.
  • 10 each                            4″, 8″ and 12″ plastic cable ties.
  • Type SJOOW[xv] Cord, Black/white, 10 feet of #12 American Wire Gauge (AWG) for DC cord replacement.
  • In line fuse holders, ATC, 4 pairs (8 Total) Red and black if possible.
  • Large trash bags,
  • Anderson Power Pole Kit,
  • Coaxial Connectors,
  • Coaxial Connection Adapters,
  • Fuses, assorted.
    • One spare fuse for every one you will use for your equipment. 2 spares for critical things such as your power supply and radio.

Vehicle Maintenance

  • Tool kit,
  • Supplies:
    • Lubricant,
    • spark plugs,
    • Air Filters,
    • Fuel Filters,
    • Fix-a-Flat.
    • Engine belts.

Radio Equipment:


VHF/UHF Station

  • Power Supply, 12V Nominal
  • VHF/UHF Transceiver > 30 Watts power output
  • Laptop or Tablet computer, all software loaded and all updates done
  • TNC, W connecting cables
    • Software OR Hardware type
  • High capacity battery or battery array. [xvi]
  • Audio adapters, assorted.
  • Headset (Preferred), Noise Canceling OR Headphones and noise canceling desk microphone[xvii]
  • Foot Operated push to talk switch, [xviii]

HF Radio equipment may be needed if deployed out of county or for regional communications outage.



  • J-Pole antenna, Dual band
    • Arrow Antenna Open Stub J-Pole with 2 part radiating element.
    • Roll-up J-Pole OR Slim Jim type
  • Beam Antenna, VHF / UHF bands, hand held, common polarity, with mast bracket.

Antennas Mast

  • 10ft or more, preferably non-conductive, Based on RF exposure separation from uncontrolled area. [xix]
  • Mast Sections,
    • Optional Tripod OR Tripod Adapter and additional mast sections
  • Ground plate AND Anchor Pin OR Ground plate and Pivot Stake,
  • Anchor weight/s and hold down strap OR Guy collars, Guy lines, Guy Anchors, Guy markers,
  • Halyard loop (Endless Reeve) w pulley and attachment link,
  • Barrier Tape, Danger Keep Out.
  • Barrier Tape Supports, Step On Pickets, 36 inch traffic cones and tape clips, Driven Fence Posts in soft soils.
  • RF Radiation Keep Out signs. [xx]

Mark your Equipment

There are very few people that would knowingly relieve you of your equipment but during an emergency there is a lot of confusion. If you have each piece of your equipment marked with your name and call it will be much easier to ensure your equipment is returned to you at the completion of the event. Marking equipment with a distinct bright color or colors will help you to keep track of your equipment and easily see when it is getting put out of position before it can get confused with another operators or another groups equipment. As one example of how well this can work wildland firefighters can often recognize were another crew is from, right down to which station, by the color codes on their tools.                                                                                            

[i]A Real ID is one that meets the standards for security imposed by the federal government on the State agencies which issue Government Identification documents. If your drivers license or other State issued identification document has not yet come up for renewal were the transition to this standard would occur in the routine course of renewal you may want to consider using the mechanism provided by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and many other State agencies to speed up the transition to the new standards. Your old drivers license is fine for driving a car but it is not adequate for boarding airplanes or Amtrak trains nor some other less obvious uses.

[ii]Wear in Your access pass in an ID carrier clipped to your collar. Do not use a lanyard. Security people appreciate your making the effort to comply with the rules of site access and making their job easier by wearing the very ID they need to see, including a photograph if included, up right next to your face. Little things like that really do oil the skids for your work in the area they are supposed to keep some folks out of. Using a lanyard inevitably holds the ID too low and often backwards. Making it easy for whoever is providing security to pass you through to the work area is in all of our interest and worth putting such a tiny amount of effort into.

[iii]              “Pea” will freeze or become waterlogged. Metal Whistle will freeze to lips.

[iv]              Electronic transactions are not likely to be available within the operational area. 

[v]A casualty is initially treated using the contents of their own first aid kit so that the other members of the team will still have a complete first aid kit during continued operations. 

[vi]Minimum contents ARES-MAT list. Minimum contents will assure that your coworkers will be able to assist you using the supplies that they used in training until the team first aid kit can be brought into use.

[vii]Dust tight googles will protect your eyes from foreign objects getting underneath contact lenses.

[viii]Getting the antenna away from really close proximity to your body improves the effectiveness of your transmitted signal a lot. A properly adjusted harness or holster will help you do that.

[ix]Primary batteries generate current flow by direct chemical reaction and are not rechargeable. Individual operators should standardize their battery operated devices on the AA form factor primary and / or secondary types.

  • [x]If you use Contact Lenses a back up pair of glasses should be included.

[xi]Unfiltered exhalation valves in protective filter masks are not acceptable in a contagious disease environment. Masks with an exhalation valve are more comfortable to wear for long periods. It is prudent to bring both types.

[xii]An electronic mapping device is not a complete substitute for printed, up to date, maps.

[xiii]Use only identification vest issued by Incident Staff, Served Agency, or your ARES vest. An ARES Vest is not a substitute for the ANSI Class 3 traffic safety vest listed below.

[xiv]It is extremely difficult to acquire prescription medicine during a deployment to an area with compromised communications infrastructure.

[xv]Service, Junior (< 300 volts), Oil resistant jacket, Oil resistant conductor insulation, Weather resistant.

[xvi]Lithium Iron Phosphate Chemistry is the lightest per watt hour has the lowest cost of ownership and the best discharge curve. Initial cost is quite high at present.

[xvii]Hand microphones deprive you of the use of both hands but are a compact and lightweight spare.

[xviii]Some radios can still be switched to transmit with a foot switch when using a hand microphone. Consider adding a microphone hook clip to the front of your radio kit box to use hand microphone hands free.

[xix]It is the radio operators responsibility to assure RF safety of the public and coworkers! 

[xx]If operational necessity will result in a dangerous Radio Frequency Energy exposure hazard within even in a relatively brief intrusion into a cordoned off controlled area consider using plastic fabric barrier fencing to guard against the undetected entry of children and / or the arrogant into the controlled area. Many persons will lift barrier tape and pass under it for their personal convenience but very few will do the same with a 4 foot fabric fence. This same type of person will push a shorter fence down to step over it but a properly supported 4’ fence will not depress enough for most persons to step over it.