In preparing ourselves to assist our served agencies in times of emergency, many people take a somewhat myopic view of that preparation. We look toward the equipment and some training. There is one other consideration we must make. Are we physically ready?
Let's look at what we must do to actually be ready to support out Served Agencies.
For a lot of us, the equipment is a major contributor in the fun of Amateur Radio. To those that are not as technical as we would like to be, it is still a lot of fun to get new equipment (a.k.a. toys) and learn to use it properly. Equipment is but one third of the equation.
Training ourselves, not just to be able to operate the equipment, but to handle messages expeditiously and with minimal impact to our surroundings is also a challenge. ECom material helps a bit there.
The item that many overlook is the physical conditioning that we really need to be able to handle the stress of emergency operations. Does that imply that each of us must be ready to run a marathon? Hardly. There are a few simple guidelines we need to follow to be better prepared to physically support ARES operation.
The other half of that equation is *regularly*. That means virtually every night. The occasional night with minimum sleep is not a problem, as long as it is occasional.
Many will whine that there is "not enough time". If you are planning on being dead in six months or a year, I agree. Go for it. For the rest of us, take the time. Plan on a slow, steady, evolutionary change in how you make yourself ready to support the life style you have chosen. If you are physically active, properly rested and have eaten properly, you are far better prepared for the stress of emergency operation.