The nature of Mobile Ad hoc NETworks (MANETs) makes them suitable to be utilized in the context of an extreme emergency for all involved rescue teams. We use the term emergency MANETs (eMANETs) in order to describe next generation IP-based networks, which are deployed in emergency cases such as forest fires and terrorist attacks. The main goal within the realm of eMANETs is to provide emergency workers with intelligent devices such as smart phones and PDAs. This technology allows communication “islets” to be established between the members of the same or different emergency teams (policemen, firemen, paramedics). In this article, we discuss an adaptive and secure routing protocol developed for the purposes of eMANETs. We evaluate the performance of the protocol by comparing it with other widely used routing protocols for MANETs. We finally show that the overhead introduced due to security considerations is affordable to support secure ad-hoc communications among lightweight devices.