WHAT IS RACES?
RACES is an organization of amateur radio operators who volunteer to provide radio communications for State and local governments in times of emergency. Created in 1952 primarily to serve in civil defense emergencies, RACES provides essential communications and warning links to supplement State and local government assets during emergencies.
RACES is a special part of the amateur operation sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). RACES provides emergency communications for civil preparedness purposes only. RACES is conducted by amateurs using their primary station licenses or by existing RACES stations. In the event that the President invokes the War Emergency powers, amateurs officially enrolled in the local civil preparedness group would become limited to certain frequencies, while all other amateur operations would be silenced.
RACES and ARES
ARES is the "Amateur Radio Emergency Service." This is the national amateur radio emergency preparedness organization sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). This organization is completely different from RACES, although many goals are in common. In many cases, ARES will be used as a public service organization to assist with communications during non-emergency events such as parades, foot and bicycle races, and community events. Membership in the ARRL is not required for amateur radio operator to be an ARES member. In general, ARES is organized to serve the public, and RACES is organized to serve the government. It is desirable for RACES members to also be enrolled in the ARES program. The additional training received during ARES public service events can be of great value during times of emergency. In addition to this, there are times of emergency when ARES will be the first organization to activate for communications assistance. As an emergency escalates, the local Emergency Manager may call for a RACES activation. At this time, with radio operators already activated, the operation can smoothly go from an ARES operation to a RACES operation. It must be noted that when this happens, the RACES members are now under the supervision of the County RACES Radio Officer and the County Emergency Manager, and are no longer directly involved with the ARES operation. At this point, operations will usually move to the EOC if the radio operators are not already there. It is suggested that one operator on each shift remain with the ARES operation to act as liaison between RACES and the non-RACES stations which may be involved supporting other agencies or organizations. Whenever possible, RACES and ARES communications should be on different net frequencies. Cooperation between the ARES and RACES organizations is of high importance, and cannot be understated.
How We Will Accomplish Our Mission
- Work within U. S. Government regulations We will provide communications as per Title 47 Telecommunication, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter I Federal Communications Commission, paragraph 97 Amateur Radio Service, Subpart E Providing Emergency Communications, 407 Radio amateur civil emergency service.
- Work with state and local Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) organizations Some of RACES's mission is similar to some of ARES' mission. ARES can provide training because their mission has a larger scope than RACES. Operators with duel membership have greater opportunities to participate in actual events and training exercises. While duel membership is not required it is encouraged.
- Work with other volunteer organizations needing radio communication While we will not perform their duties, we should understand their missions and plan for their operations, or lack of operations, during civil emergencies and war. We should maintain liaison with the National Traffic system (NTS), American Red Cross (ARC), Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN), Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS), Civil Air Patrol (CAP), and all of the certifying civil defense's emergency organizations.
- Maintain cadres of RACES operators We must ensure the number and quality of RACES operators meet the needs of our mission. This may require us to reach out to the existing amateur radio community and to enlist new amateurs to complete our mission.
- Provide resources to the Emergency Operations Center. We must maintain qualified RACES operators to meet the needs of the permanent and remote state operations centers.
- We will train on state equipment and provide technical guidance on procuring communications equipment that we will use to save lives and property.
- Train We will train by taking courses as requested by certifying agencies.
- Provide technical assistance to state and local governments Working with others, will provide technical assistance to the certifying agencies at their request or to their benefit. We will provide guidance documentation on procuring, maintaining, and operating the certifying agency amateur radio equipment located in their EOC or wherever.
- Technical expertise to government requests We will assist our certifying agencies when they are responding to requests from other government agencies. We will consult other amateur radio organizations when time permits.
- Certifying agency/amateur radio community liaison We will communicate the certifying agencys concerns to the amateur radio community and inform the certifying agencies of the concerns on the amateur radio community.
Darrell Sperry, KA4TAR, Sevier County RACES Officer