Before you even think about commiting to emergency communication,
you should ask yourself Sould I be in ECom?
The idea behind the statement "Amateur Radio is the hobby. Emergency Communication is a commitment." is that so many people will not spend the time to learn communication and when urged to do so will reply with "It's just a hobby." The hobby is Amateur Radio and we EXPECT people to treat the hobby portion as a hobby.
The difference is that when you volunteer for ARES or RACES you need to understand that it IS a commitment. That means that if it is humanly possible (this is where family and job fold in) you will support training, Public Service Events AND (notice the big and there) Emergencies. Does that mean or imply that any one person will support all of these activities? NO it does not. It DOES mean that each person will support as many activities as their other commitments will allow. It does mean that they WILL make an honest assessment of how much time they can contribute and should that time be less than twenty-five hours per year, will go back to the hobby.
Let me assure you that not one served agency will call you a second time if your reply to their request for aid is "We'll be there if we can find someone that can make it." They clearly understand that you will have people that will be unavailable for family or job reasons but they expect, and I say reasonably, that you will have some people available in times of need. Does that mean everyone in your group? No, just some.
There are many districts with over one hundred people on their roster that have consistently failed to field more than thirty people, even in times of emergency. Why are these people on the roster if they fail, year after year, to do ANYTHING? None will say over the air but many will comment, when they think no one is listening, "Gee, I didn't know I would actually have to DO something." There are far too many people that only want their name on a list. We do not need peoples names on a list, we do need workers.
If a person can only commit to one or two hours per month, that's fine. That is help we didn't have before. Even those "out of town" for extended periods of time can remain active, simply by using the ECom material and studying or participating in the local nets, where ever they are at. That IS participation, even if it does not contribute directly to your district. That person is enhancing their training and or polishing their skills and THAT is the commitment!