RACES

RACES stands for “Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service” and exists as a partnership between FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) under FCC Part 97, Section 407.

RACES was founded in 1952 to provide for a reserve (volunteer) communications group within government agencies in times of extraordinary need. During activation by an authorized government agency, certified and trained unpaid volunteers perform many different types of tasks for the government agencies they serve. Most often these tasks are communications related.

FEMA provides planning guidance and technical assistance for establishing a RACES organization at the state and local government level while the FCC provides for the regulation of RACES operations.

RACES volunteer operators are:

  • Licensed Radio Amateurs
  • Certified by a civil defense agency
  • Able to communicate on Amateur Radio frequencies during drills, exercises and emergencies
  • Activated by local, county and state jurisdictions and are the only Amateur Radio operators authorized to transmit during declared emergencies when the President of the United States specifically invokes the War Powers Act.

Sources: usraces.org and qsl.net

Hurst RACES

Hurst RACES volunteers are often, but not required to be, members of the Hurst Amateur Radio club and are trained, supported, and vetted by the City of Hurst Fire Department Emergency Management. Many members of Hurst RACES are also members of the Tarrant County RACES/ARES organization.

Training

To qualify as a Hurst RACES or NCS member, you must complete a minimum amount of designated training:

Required:

Hurst RACES now functions as a multi-tier system. We have three levels in which someone can participate.

ARES (Open Net):

  • Basic understanding of ARES nets; how they work, proper net etiquette, and a keen ear to what conditions the NCS is requesting to be reported. (Blue sky reports are not particularly beneficial.)

RACES (Restricted Net):

  • All ARES Requirements.
  • Skywarn Basic Spotter Training (training schedule)
  • FEMA IS-100.B – Introduction to the Incident Command System (link)
  • FEMA IS-700.A – National Incident Management System (link)
  • Regular participation in Hurst RACES Continuing Education Training (RACES CE)

RACES Net Control Station (RACES-NCS):

  • All ARES Requirements
  • All RACES Requirements
  • FEMA IS-775 – EOC Management and Operations (link)
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Notarized Application Form

Additional Recommended Training:

ARRL Introduction to Emergency Communication Course #: EC-001 (link)

This is a revision of the former Emergency Communications Basic/Level 1 course. This on-line course is designed to provide basic knowledge and tools for any emergency communications volunteer. The course covers: The Framework: How You Fit In; The Networks for Messages; Message Handling; What Happens When Called; Operations & Logistics; Safety & Survival; and What to Expect in Large Disasters.

Recommended prerequisites that are beneficial, but not required:

  • Incident Command System for the Single Resource and Initial Incident IS-200.a (link)
  • Introduction to the National Response Framework IS-800.a (link)
  • Red Cross or AHA combined course in Adult CPR/First Aid/AED Basics (link)

Application for RACES/RACES-NCS Membership

Once you complete the required training, you must complete a RACES application. Once the application is complete, the background check consent form must be notarized. This can be done at the Fire Administration building at Fire Station #1 at 2100 Precinct Line Road Precinct Line Road Hurst, TX.

You can request a RACES membership application from the Hurst Amateur Radio Club RACES Liaison. For 2017-2019, the Liaison is Beth Ballard, KG5KDO, at .

W5HRC ARES/RACES/NCS Application (PDF)

Interoperability

The DFW Area Ham Radio Interoperability Group promotes the sharing of resources and technology for the achievement of amateur radio emcomm interoperability in North Central Texas. They publish a standard channel list of repeaters used for emergency communications in the four counties that make up the DFW area and the bordering counties.

Hurst ARC has adopted the standard list and filled in the first 20 channels that are available for local use. It’s recommended that all members program their radios as close to this standard as possible (within the limits of individual radio features). The radios in the EOC are programmed to this standard.

The file you need is here: HARC_EOC_20130805

To use this files, it’s recommend to use the free CHIRP radio programming software. The file is CSV (comma-separated values) so you can import it into CHIRP, manually program your radio,  or import into another radio programming software.

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