101 Emergency Communications (EComm)

Course Overview:

Why do we have an EComm training and certification program?

The REACT Emergency Communications training and certification program will provide the public service community with trained radio operators who will have a consistent level of expertise in Emergency Communications no matter where they live.

What does the program cost?

The training program itself is free! You can download the training course manual from this site at no cost. If you request any printed materials, there is a small cost to cover printing and postage.

Where is this course given?

The primary method for this course is independent self-study. You read the manual and study the material on your own. REACT Teams and Councils are encouraged to set up group-study sessions for their members. Teams and Councils conducting group-study programs may choose whether to include only their own members or to allow others to attend.

Who should take the REACT EComm training program?

This program is intended for all REACT radio operators who are interested in emergency and public service communications. Regardless of whether you are new to radio or an “Old Timer,” this course will help sharpen your skills as an emergency radio operator.
Do I have to be a REACT member to take the course?

The REACT EComm Training and Certification program is designed primarily for REACT members. Anyone is welcome to download and read the course materials, but the Certification aspect of the program is generally limited to REACT members. One reason for this limitation is that we rely on the REACT Team and Council structure to provide support for individuals taking the course. Currently we do not have resources available to support the course outside the existing REACT structure.

We realize that this course may be of interest to members of other emergency communications organizations that use various radio services instead of or in addition to amateur radio; such requests will be considered on a case by case basis. Individuals who want to take the REACT EComm course but who are not already REACT members are encouraged to join a local REACT Team or to consider the REACT Affiliate membership program. Information on the REACT Affiliate program is available from REACT International Headquarters.

What is the difference between Training and Certification?

The REACT EComm program offers both training and certification. You can study the course materials to learn more about emergency communications. Some people like to learn as much as they can, just for their own personal satisfaction. These people may not be interested in tests, grades, certificates, and all the other details of formal training programs. Others want to go a step further to prove their skills. We have tried to accommodate the needs and preferences of all members. If all you want is more knowledge, feel free to take all or even just part of the training. No one will bother you with any tests or other requirements.

If you want to go that next step to prove your new skills, we offer two options. You can complete an optional written test. When you pass the test, we will send you a Certificate of Training showing that you successfully completed the REACT EComm Level I training program. Or if you are one of the people who always wants to excel at everything you do, we offer a certification option. Certification requires that you complete a written test and provide documentation of actual hands-on experience in emergency communications. If you complete these requirements, you will receive a certificate and a wallet ID card showing you as a Certified Emergency Communicator.

What about the tests?

The written test for the Certificate of Training consists of thirty multiple-choice questions with a passing score of 80%. This test is “open book” with no time limit. You may use the course manual and any notes or other references. When you submit your answer sheet, you will sign a statement saying that the test was completed without assistance. Applicants who are entitled to assistance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will attach a statement explaining the kind of assistance provided and that the answers are those of the applicant.

The written test for registration as a REACT Certified Emergency Communicator consists of forty multiple-choice questions with a passing score of 85%. This is a “closed book” test with a two hour time limit, monitored by a Team, or Council officer. No books, notes, or references are allowed during this test. The test itself will be mailed directly to the Team or Council officer who is going to conduct the test. Applicants requesting this test must provide the name and mailing address of the officer who will administer the test. Applicants who are entitled to assistance under the ADA will attach a statement explaining the kind of assistance provided and attesting that the answers are those of the applicant. The time limit may be waived for applicants requiring assistance under the ADA, depending on the nature of the assistance required.

Certification also requires a statement signed by a Team or Council officer and an experience statement signed by a responsible official of a state or local emergency management agency or an emergency response organization attesting that the applicant has successfully performed communications for the agency or organization in an actual emergency or comparable simulated emergency conditions. The nature of the experience is left to the professional judgement of the responsible official based on the needs and expectations of the agency.

Do I have to take both tests?

You may take both tests but you are not required to do so. You may skip the short test, and take only the longer Certification test. If you take the Certificate of Training test, and later decide to apply for registration as a Certified Emergency Communicator, you will still have to take the longer written test.

What if I don’t pass the test?

If you do not pass the test, you may take another test at a later date. The test questions are randomly selected for each test, so your second test will probably contain some of the same questions as the first test and some new ones. An applicant will be allowed only two tries at either level.

If you have not previously been issued a Certificate of Training and you score between 80-84% on the Certification test, that score will qualify you for the Certificate of Training, or you may retake the test as indicated above.

How was this program developed?

Everyone involved in the development of the course material has extensive experience in emergency and public service communications. Input was obtained from amateur radio operators, licensed GMRS operators, active CBers, and other radio operators. The development team included volunteers who are current or former members of REACT, RACES, ARES, SATERN, the American Red Cross, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, and others. This broad input has created a training program that reflects the REACT multi-mode, multi-service approach to emergency communications.
Is the REACT EComm program the same as the ARRL Program?

Parts of this course are similar to the Emergency Communications program developed for amateur radio operators by the ARRL, but the REACT course includes material for radio operators in other radio services. Both courses teach the same procedures for emergency and public service communications. Radio operators who complete the program from either organization will have demonstrated the knowledge and skills needed to provide effective communications support to emergency service agencies.

The ARRL program focuses specifically on amateur radio while the REACT program covers amateur radio, Citizens Band, the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), the popular Family Radio Service (FRS), and the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS). Some of the material in the REACT Course is covered under a cross-licensing agreement reached between REACT and the ARRL under the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations adopted in 1999. Both organizations agreed to cross-license the copyrighted material in their courses so both can use the material. Although the REACT EComm Level I course is accepted as Level I training by various agencies, including the National Registry of Certified EmComm Volunteers (NRCEV), Completion of the REACT Emergency Communications Course” does not qualify an individual to take the higher level ARRL courses.

How can I get more information?

Contact REACT International Headquarters

Download the Course Materials