Radio Amateur Civil
Emergency Service (RACES)
When cell phones, land line phones, the internet and other systems are down or overloaded, Amateur Radio still gets the message through. Radio amateurs, often called “hams,” enjoy radio technology as a hobby. It's also a service –a vital service that has saved lives when regular communication systems failed.
NEMCo RACES Spring Drill
On May 30, 2020, NEMCo RACES will be conducting a drill, coinciding with the Washington State "Fifth Saturday Drill.”
The Washington Emergency Management Division (EMD) holds quarterly exercises to test emergency and disaster plans spanning many areas of National Incident Management System (NIMS) concepts and processes. Usually the amateur community is invited along with the Military, FEMA, and many other agencies and districts across Washington State.
NEMCo RACES is planning to exercise internal and field communication operations, as well as inter-operate with other regional ARES, RACES, and ACS groups, and the WA EMD at Camp Murray.
Currently, the NEMCo Steering Committee is planning primary goals that are likely to include:
* Deploying "Field Agents" to exercise voice and packet communications
* Confirming radio programming at EOCs, especially for the 6-meter band
* Demonstrating skilled radio operation and message handling
* Practicing use of ICS form 213 by voice
* Exercising formal and informal message traffic via packet
We will also be looking for feedback on the "Radio Room Resource Guide" to learn what needs to change and what is working well.
RACES members are amateur radio (ham) operators with Technician, General or Extra privileges, who may be activated in emergency situations to provide radio communications. They are governed by the rules and regulations (Part 97) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
RACES members train, develop, and refine their skills in a variety of ways:
Weekly. NEMCo conducts a resource net where a net control operator initiates a roll call of members and guests. The purpose of the net is to practice radio communications, make announcements, provide training, and conduct drills. In the event of an emergency, the resource net frequency will be used to determine volunteer availability and make assignments.
Monthly. Regular meetings are held to provide information, announcements, mini-training workshops, and discussions of interest to participants.
Monthly. Checks of the four Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) test the gear and initiate contact between the EOCs using voice and packet (email) radio.
Biannually. NEMCo participates in state-wide exercises known as “Fifth Saturday Drills” where EOCs around the state contact each other via voice and packet radio.
Periodically. RACES members may be deployed as the communications component of a Community Emergency Response Team. CERT members participate in a variety of activities including damage assessment, urban search and rescue, and shelter operations.
Periodically. RACES members provide communications assistance for community events such as fun runs organized by the Cities and/or various charities.