Amateur Radio has its founding roots in public service. Amateur Radio Emergency Service, ARES, and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, RACES, are two nationally recognized public service organizations whose mission is to protect life and property during events and emergencies.
We do this by working closely with federal, state, and local officials during event planning and execution to facilitate communications between departments and organizations. History has shown that during a large event or disaster, traditional communications will become saturated. Additionally, the mechanism for inter-departmental (i.e. Police to National Guard and Forest Service) is problematic and difficult.
This is where the Amateur Radio service comes into the picture.
- Running local, state and national traffic nets for relay traffic and information passing.
- Utilize digital technology allowing shelter lists, medical supply lists, etc. to be passed with 100% accuracy.
Typically ARES and RACES members are one and the same, the difference is in who activates the group and what jurisdiction they have. For more information, please read on.
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service is administered through the American Radio Relay League. This group can be activated by any member of ARES. More information is available at the ARRL WEB site.
RACES may be activated by the appointed director of an emergency management office, or authorized representative, for a particular area. In most counties the county emergency management office or the state emergency management office would start the process.
RACES gets its jurisdiction directly from the FCC Part 97 rules. For more information, please follow the link.
RACES may be activated during times of war. At such a time all other amateur radio activity is silenced and only registered RACES HAMS are allowed to operate on specified frequencies.
RACES may also be activated during peacetime disasters such as fire, floods, chemical spills, earthquakes and other large-scale disasters.
For more information see the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA Web site.
Membership in both organizations is open to any licensed amateur radio operator. If you are interested, please contact: N2OBW