Founded in 1952, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) is a public service provided by a reserve (volunteer) communications group within government agencies in times of extraordinary need. During periods of RACES activation, certified unpaid personnel are called upon to perform many tasks for the government agency they serve. Although the exact nature of each activation will be different, the common thread is communications. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for the regulation of RACES operations. The Monroe County RACES is administered by the Monroe County Emergency Management Agency which is responsible for disaster services in Monroe County.
RACES is an organization of Amateur Radio operators who have joined a local or state emergency management organization for the purpose of providing tactical emergency support radio communications to federal, state and local governments in time of emergency, and to supplement, augment or replace radio communications wherever and whenever needed.
RACES is not a club or special interest group, but an organization that is called upon by the Governor and/or state, and local emergency management directors when, in their judgment, RACES services are deemed necessary for response to and management of an emergency.
The legally appointed director of the EMA or his/her authorized representative for a particular area activates RACES in accordance with an approved EMA communication plan in any emergency concerning:
- Safety of life
- Preservation of property
- Alleviation of human suffering and need
- Dissemination of warning of enemy attack to civilian population
in case of an actual or impending attack
- Any disaster or other incident endangering the public welfare
Natural disasters often cripple or destroy communication facilities and equipment. RACES members are often asked to handle messages for police, fire, public welfare, public utilities, and other emergency services during emergencies.
RACES personnel receive training from the local or state EMAs to which they are attached. Operating skills are sharpened through participation in frequent EMA sponsored exercises, tests, drills, programs, and special events.
Non-emergency messages and traffic may be transmitted during RACES training and drill periods.
Already a licensed Amateur Radio operator or want to become one? To join the Monroe County RACES group and be able to participate in RACES and other government emergency communication activities, contact the RACES Officer, Carl Zager, KB9RVB at 339-4437 or email@example.com.
Bloomington Amateur Radio Club: www.bloomingtonradio.org/
Indiana State RACES: www.in.gov/dhs/2686.htm