Activation – Ready, Set, Go

Denver ARES is a response based organization and as such we have standard guidelines that we follow. This enabled everyone to know exactly how to prepare, what to do, and when to do it.

All members are required to be ready to respond by keeping a simple ‘go-kit’ prepared to be used during an activation.  But what exactly happens when a call comes in?

Ready Set Go model

The Ready, Set Go model of staged activation. Ready: Be prepared. Set: Activation is likely. Go!


An incident can be for a planned event, an exercise, or for deployment to an incident.

Denver ARES Members will not self-activate!

Members will be activated through one of the methods below. For most incidents this activation will come in from the served agencies to the EC and members will be activated by the EC or the AEC using the CVM system*. The requestor will provide situational awareness and specific communication needs (Know Before You Go

Denver ARES uses a three stage activation process: Ready, Set, Go!


The Ready stage is often 24 to 48 hours in advance of an activation. This can be triggered by a scheduled exercise, a planned event, or a ‘heads up’ from a served agency. Notification is done via email or during a regularly scheduled net. This may only be a ‘stand-by’ notification and may not result in an activation. The ready state does not call for any changes to a member’s daily routines.

Upon receiving a Ready Activation the members should:

  • Review equipment needs and expected activity
  • Confirm their Go Kit status, gather any expected forms.
  • Charge backup batteries, replenish any consumables.
  • Confirm correct programming of radios.


The ‘SET’ stage is typically 4 to 24 hours in advance of the activation. This can be triggered by expected weather conditions (Storm Prediction Center of Weather Watches), scheduled stage for pre-planned events or exercises, or expected needs from a partner agency. This indicates that there is a high probability of full activation.

Activities should include:

  • Notify school, work, etc. of possible absence.
  • Charge primary batteries
  • Review (practice) skills, confirm capabilities.
  • As much as possible, monitor primary radio frequencies for updates.


The Go stage notification is typically done 0 to 1 hour before activation via CVM notification service. In the case that there are communications disruptions, phone trees or direct radio notification may be used instead.

This notification will include specific information about when and where to expect an Incident Briefing, and may include specific task assignments.

Specific activities include:

  • Arrange travel, gas up the car.
  • Load your Go Kit.
  • Complete (if possible) the Know before you go form.
  • Check into the Resource / Command Net.
  • Dispatch to Incident Briefing location or to assigned station.


  • In the case of an activation by the Denver Office of Emergency Management (OEM) the specially trained EOC team will receive an activation notification directly from the EOC activation system.
Posted in Response.