In 1949 the ARRL created the National Traffic System to handle medium and long haul formal message traffic through networks whose operations can be expedited to meet the needs of an emergency situation. The main function of NTS in an emergency is to link various local activities and to allow traffic destined outside of a local area to be systematically relayed to the addressee. In a few rare cases, a message can be handled by taking it directly to a net in a state where the addressee lives for rapid delivery by an amateur there within toll-free calling distance. However, NTS is set up on the basis of being able to relay large amounts of traffic systematically, efficiently and according to an established flow pattern. This proven and dependable scheme is what makes NTS so vital to emergency communications. The ARRL published several publications on this subject. The Public Service Communications Manual, the Emergency Coordinator's Manual and The ARRL Net Directory. Their website also has a very detailed coverage of the NTS and its many facets. You can find it located at http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/pscm/Sec2-ch1.html Click Here for a link to information on how to complete and transmit formal message traffic during a declared or simulated emergency. Thanks to the Wake County North Caroline ARES for the above link. Thanks to the ARRL and the ARRL Operating Manual for the above information on the National Traffic System.