Emergency Communications Support
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES)
The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services Unit is the emergency communications arm of the Office of Emergency Management. RACES members may provide communications support using amateur radio, cellular and regular phones, computers, e-mail, facsimile, Internet, microwave, public service radio (police, fire, law enforcement), satellite, television, and video-conferencing systems; as well as field and in-office support of personnel. The RACES Unit is authorized by Part 97.407 of the FCC Rules and Regulations and is a volunteer organization of licensed amateur radio operators who donate time, energy, skills, and use of personal equipment for public service.
In order to maintain the highest possible level of staff and equipment readiness, RACES volunteers are required to participate in an in-depth training program which consists of Incident Command System training, severe weather identification and response, and more. RACES members also operate radio equipment installed in all three of our Emergency Operations Centers and other strategic locations.
- To provide emergency communications as needed and as requested in the event of a disaster.
- To maintain readiness to provide communications in the event of a failure of emergency communications systems.
- To support emergency services in gathering information about potential hazards to life and property.
- To support emergency services in disseminating information to the public.
- To improve skills, knowledge, and abilities of RACES members through training’s, seminars, and information.
An efficient communications system is an integral component of an emergency operation. Amateur radio plays a vital role in emergency communications during disasters. It is, therefore, essential for an amateur radio communications system to exist that can support and back up the needs of disaster services.
RACES supports all government services and agencies as requested, but remains, at all times, under the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Management.