The Western Tidewater Radio Association supports ARES and RACES Emergency Communications support for the Virginia District 5 counties of Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry and the City of Franklin, also referred to as the Western Tidewater subdivision. WTRA membership is not required to participate in ARES and RACES and all amateurs are welcome. The District is managed by a District Emergency Coordinator (DEC) assisted by an Assistant District Coordinator (ADEC). The District Leadership provides support and coordination for the locality teams. Each locality team is managed by an Emergency Coordinator (EC), who works with the Emergency Manager of the respective locality. The EC works with ARES/RACES volunteers to obtain the necessary training and he/she coordinates the activities of the team. Teams may have one or more Assistant Emergency Coordinators (AECs) to assist the EC in managing the team and ensuring continuity in the event the EC is not available for a request for service. See the District 5 page for contact information in the various jurisdictions.
In January of 2020, Virginia ARES elected to reorganize the geographic structure of the Section from 15 Districts to 5 Districts, aligned geographically with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Regions. So our new District 5 area is the same as the VDEM Region 5. This was done to be aligned with FEMA / NIMS guidanance on span of control. The former districts where re-aligned under an Assistant District Emergency Coordinator (ADEC). Each District has no more than 7 subdivisions and each subdivision has no more than 7 jurisdictions in compliance with NIMS span of control guidance.
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) is a program formed and operated by the American Radio Relay League. It has a formally defined, hierarchical structure and is ultimately managed in each ARRL section by the Section Manager.
The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service is a service, much like the Amateur Radio Service itself, defined in the FCC rules and is not a formally constituted organization.
In Virginia, the ARES® organization is used to execute the Civil Defense functions defined in the FCC rules regarding RACES.