By: Dan Kern W0DFU

Park County Amateur Radio Emergency Services, Emergency Coordinator


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ARES (pronounced “airease), is Park County’s Amateur Radio Emergency Services.  It is a group of Amateur Radio Volunteers with the main intent to provide emergency communications should a catastrophic condition disable our County’s emergency services communications.  All ARES members have a Go Bag, as well as field-ready equipment to deploy should they activate.

ARES has now started a Park County wide “Go Bag Campaign”. 

With a recent event in Park County,travelers or residents could not make it home and had to shelter in the Fairplay High School Gym.  Needless to say, the 750 stranded travelers impacted the town’s food supply as well as other essential needs and resources.  

This event  is what inspired the launch of the Go bag Campaign.

Living in Rural Colorado, as you know may, can, and will present many life challenges that some in the flat lands never even considered, especially with regards to your survival, health and comfort. 

At one time or another, a Code Red has been issued in Park County for your area in preparation for a standby, or to evacuate, or for an immediate evacuation order because of an emergency that may affect you, the lives of your family, pets and neighbors.

What is Code Red?  

It is county-provided emergency service that notifies you via phone or a text message, alerting you to a situation in your area or eminent area.  Not registered?  

Go here to register:

What is a Go Bag? 

A Go Bag is a bag you ideally take with you every time you leave your house, even if it is going to the grocery store, or to travel outside of your immediate residence.

Go Bag Contents:

  • Enough emergency food and water that can assist two persons for three days.
    • 2 2,400 Calorie food bars
    • 12 Water Pouches 4.2oz
    • 2 Emergency Ponchos
    • 2 Light sitcks
    • First Aid Kit
    • 2 Survival Blankets
    • Pocket Tissue
    • Emergency Communication Plan
  • A Life Straw
  • 33 pieces of essential emergency items, which include vital survival tools such as a flint striker, First Aid supplies, and more.

Imagine those times when you left the house and had several hours delay returning home due to a traffic situation or another condition.  Add to this, there is an emergency evacuation order and you can not return home! This is one case where having your Go Bag on hand pays off. Everyone in your family should have access to a Go bag and have your own emergency plans in place.

By no means is it complete.  It is the starting point for a discussion which you may need to expand upon in order to taylor it to your own individual needs.  Everyone has different ideas of what should be in their go bag. Bottom line – put in what you need. For example, medicines, special information, copies of passports, Birth Certificates, insurance documents and so on in the event your home should be consumed in a fire.  Think about the residents of Northern California, in the city of Paradise where 10,000 homes were consumed! 

Have your own emergency plan. 

Your plan should not depend on having local services rescue you as this would impede the progress of emergency workers to handle or tend to priority situations.  If you have special needs, devise your own plan: involve neighbors or friends to come and assist you with your Go Bag and any special need, such as oxygen tanks and so on.

We are not exempt!  Take action today and become better prepared.

Go Bags are also available at the Bailey Library each 2nd Saturday of each month from 10:30 – 3:30.  Other locations throughout the county are coming soon.

ARES is a non-profit organization and here is the best part of this campaign:

  • This is a win-win for our county.
  • All Profits from the Go Bag sales will go back into the community.
  • Every two sales provides 60 meals for community members who are in need during a catastrophic event.  
  • You are better prepared!
  • As a rural county, we can hold strong and know that we are doing our best to be self-sufficient.

The suggested Tax deductible donation for the Go Bags is $125 each, payable by cash in person, or via Paypal below.

All donations to ARES are tax deductible, including your old junker car or RV.  We are a registered 501c3 charitable organization.

Don’t stop with the Go Bags and with being prepared.  Ask your local fire protection folks for ideas or ask for an inspection to see what suggested improvements could be made to your property.  Seek out first aid and CPR classes.

“ARES, When all else fails.”