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ARES Clothing Standardization

ARRL VestARES® gets official, standardized look

A long-standing public relations concern has been the lack of a unified, "branded" appearance of ARES® volunteers in public service or emergency activities. While the American Red Cross and many other organizations have adopted recognizable, national standards of appearance, Amateur Radio chronically suffered from a wide variety of apparel choices some of which was very poor indeed. Without an easily recognizable, standard "look," the services of amateurs are easily overlooked by the public, media, and civic leaders. There was a need for a standardized and consistent appearance by ARES volunteers which is easily identified, quickly spotted in a crowd, recognizable on TV and in photos, and adopted on a national scale.

A continuing plethora of Amateur Radio garb seen by the public wordlessly made us appear to be amateurs in the worst sense of the word, undisciplined, fractioned, and uncoordinated. A proposal for the ARRL to adopt a set of standards for ARES wear, which are to be worn when deployed in public service events or emergencies, was unanimously passed by the Programs and Services Committee of the ARRL in January 2010. It includes standards for a mesh vest (hot climate use), standard vests and jackets. The standards can be met by many emergency clothing manufacturers and suppliers.

Adoption of these standards as THE ARES® uniform clothing is a major positive step in ARRL/ARES public relations. Here are the specifics:

ARES members, while activated, deployed, in community service activities or otherwise on duty shall wear over their normal apparel, at minimum, a florescent green ANSI Class 2 reflective, 100% polyester vest.

The vest shall be decorated in the following manner:

On the Back:
In minimum 2" lettering, Arial Black font, black in color, imprinted above the horizontal reflective tape:


Those in a leadership position may add their title (SEC, DIRECTOR, EC, PIO, etc) below the words "Emergency Communications" in not less than 3" tall font, black. (Under the lower reflective stripe).

Local jurisdictions may elect to add their organization name above the words "Amateur Radio" with no larger than 1" Arial Black lettering, color black.

On the Front:
On the Left Chest, the ARES logo, minimum 3.5-inch diameter, black in color, negative background.
The Right Chest shall remain blank so as to allow wearer to affix their ARES or ARRL name badge.

Vests may have zip or Velcro type front closures. Members may choose vests with or without pockets, at their own discretion. Other apparel, such as short and long sleeve tee shirts, jackets and coats are approved for member use as long as the garments meet the same color, ANSI Class 2, lettering and decoration standard. A waiver of this standard may be given by an SEC for specific purposes with good cause.

We know that many people already have some form of special clothing they purchased. As these are worn out they should be replaced with clothing meeting the new standards.

Check out the ARRL vests ARES Deployment Vest (
or Google ‘ARES VESTS’ for many options 

Check in with Matt KF0KYZ  - our new ARES Assistant Emergency Coordinator - he may be placing a group order and saving significantly on shipping costs.

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Sean Wilson