RADIO AMATEUR CIVIL EMERGENCY SERVICE (RACES) POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONS MANUAL CITY OF HOUSTON

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1 RADIO AMATEUR CIVIL EMERGENCY SERVICE (RACES) POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONS MANUAL CITY OF HOUSTON

2 ii APPROVAL AND IMPLEMENTATION RADIO AMATEUR CIVIL EMERGENCY SERVICE (RACES) Craig A. McDowell Emergency Management Coordinator Date RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-ii

3 iii RECORD OF CHANGES RADIO AMATEUR CIVIL EMERGENCY SERVICE (RACES) POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONS MANUAL Change # Date of Change Entered By Date Entered RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-iii

4 iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Approval & Implementation...ii Record of Changes...iii Table of Contents... iv Authority... 1 Reference... 1 Purpose... 1 Background... 1 The Role of State and Local Government... 2 Emergency Communication... 2 RACES Eligibility... 2 Local RACES Coordinator... 2 Recruitment and Retention... 2 Level of Participation... 3 Dismissal... 3 RACES Mobilization... 3 Limitation of the Use of RACES Stations... 3 Training and Exercise... 3 Attachments... 4 A. Texas RACES Frequency Allocation and Assignment... 5 B. Net Preamble... 7 C. RACES Membership Application... 8 RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-iv

5 1 RADIO AMATEUR CIVIL EMERGENCY SERVICE (RACES) COMMUNICATION I. AUTHORITY A. City of Houston Basis Emergency Management Plan B. Executive Order 12472, Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Telecommunication Functions C. The Communication Act of 1934, Section 606, as amended II. REFERENCE Title 37 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 97, Subpart F, and RACES III. PURPOSE To provide an operational framework from which amateur radio operations can function effectively in support of the City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during a major emergency or disaster (natural, technological, nuclear, terrorist, and chemicals). By definition, an amateur operator is a person holding a written authorization (FCC license) to be the control operator of an amateur station. IV. BACKGROUND There are several forms of Amateur Radio communications, and numerous organizations that provide public service and emergency communications in support of their community, disaster relief organizations, and various government agencies. A. A.R.E.S. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (A.R.E.S.) is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (A.R.R.L.), Members frequently conduct routine communications as a public service for the benefit of the community, and are also active during emergencies, primarily providing communications via Amateur Radio wherever needed. B. SKYWARN is a program sponsored by the National Weather Service (NWS). SKYWARN members are trained by the local NWS Office staff to observe and report specific data from their weather observations back to the NWS and Emergency Management organizations. This information exchange between the SKYWARN Spotters and supported entities is usually conducted via Amateur Radio. C. RACES is an organization of amateur radio operators who volunteer to provide radio communications for State and local governments in time of emergency. RACES provides essential communications and warning links to supplement State and local government assets during emergencies. RACES provide emergency communication for civil defense purposes only. RACES is conducted by amateurs using their primary station license or by existing RACES stations. In the event that the President invokes the War Emergency Power Act, amateurs officially enrolled with local government entities could become limited to certain frequencies, while other amateur operations could be silenced. RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-1

6 2 V. THE ROLE OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT A. Local Government. The role of local government is to establish and train a RACES organization designed to provide or supplement essential emergency communication within their local jurisdiction and act as communications link to other jurisdictions or disaster district. B. State Government. The role of State government is to establish and train a RACES organization designed to provide or supplement emergency communication between elements of State Government and between State and local governments. VI. EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION (Part 97, Subpart E) (Operations during a disaster) When normal communication systems are overloaded, damaged or disrupted because a natural disaster has occurred or is likely to occur in an area where the amateur service is regulated by the FCC, an amateur station may make transmissions necessary to meet essential communication needs and facilitate relief actions. VII. RACES ELIGIBILITY The City of Houston requires RACES applicants to be: A. United States citizen B. 18 Years of age C. Hold a valid FCC Amateur Radio License VIII. LOCAL RACES COORDINATOR The RACES Coordinator must be licensed as a General Class Amateur operator or greater, thoroughly knowledgeable of FCC Rules and Regulations. The Coordinator is to have strong organizational abilities, good verbal and written communications skills, and experience in emergency operations and general knowledge of the City. IX. RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION A. Each prospective member must complete a RACES Membership Application and return it to the RACES Coordinator. The RACES Coordinator recommends acceptance or non-acceptance to the City s EMC. The EMC will notify the applicant by mail regarding the applicant status. B. In order to serve effectively as a certified member of the Houston RACES, access to restricted areas such as the EOC, FEOC, disaster scene, or critical facility may be afforded the RACES member in order to perform and complete his/her assignment(s). Similar requirements exist for other members of the EOC staff with access to restricted areas. A limited background check for RACES applicants may be performed. Background checks will be done in accordance with City Personnel Policies. RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-2

7 3 X. LEVEL OF PARTICIPATION Reliability must be the mainstay of the Houston RACES program. Reliability can only be shown by an individual s activity. Therefore, in order for an individual to maintain membership in the program, minimum participation is required. An acceptable standard of participation is to be actively involved in a least one (1) local RACES activities each quarter of a fiscal year. Participation may be in the form of, but not limited to, training activities, exercises or meetings. Other activities may constitute participation if the RACES Coordinator approves them. XI. DISMISSAL The EMC will revoke membership for the following just causes: A. Fraudulent representation on the application B. Failure to maintain current personal information C. Failure to maintain the standards of eligibility requirements D. Failure to meet minimum participation standards E. Failure to complete the assigned tasks safely F. Failure to demonstrate professional competency G. Usage of inappropriate language H. Failure to follow direction of the RACES Coordinator I. Failure to maintain personal decorum and hygiene J. Breech of confidentiality XII. RACES MOBILIZATION Upon notification or determination of an emergency condition or situation posing an extraordinary threat to life and/or property exist, the City s EMC or his/her designee may mobilize RACES. RACES will operate primarily on the City s 2-meter repeater ( MHz.) XIII. LIMITATION ON THE USE OF RACES STATIONS (WARTIME EMERGENCIES) A. While performing duties as a RACES operator, members may not communicate with amateurs who are not RACES members. Only emergency communications may be transmitted as defined in FCC Rules and Regulations. No amateur radio station shall be operated in the RACES unless it is a registered station with a disaster service organization (i.e., Houston Emergency Management). B. No RACES station shall be used to transmit or receive message for hire, nor for communications for compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised. XIV. TRAINING AND EXERCISE A. Training The City shall establish practice nets, EOC training and home study courses to enhance the knowledge of the Houston Emergency Management organization and operations as well as communication technique and ability as an operator. RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-3

8 4 XV. B. Exercise The City shall use RACES radio operators when exercising emergency preparedness plans where appropriate to meet the objectives of the exercise. This will determine the abilities and limitations of the RACES network, and enable members to develop and practice skills necessary during an actual disaster. ATTACHMENTS Attachment A List of Authorized RACES Radio Frequencies Attachment B Preamble to declaring RACES operations Attachment C Application for RACES Membership RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-4

9 5 Attachment A Texas RACES Frequency Allocation and Assignments All Texas RACES programs will comply with the frequency allocations and assignments. Although the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) authorizes all frequency band and emissions allocated to the Amateur Radio Service under Part 97 of its Rules and Regulation, it then limits RACES operations to a lesser spectrum under Part in the event of an emergency which necessitates invoking of the President s War Emergency Powers. The RACES allocation table under Part (b) is inclusive of all authorizations for every class of amateur operator. Using as a base the RACES allocation table and General Class operator privileges, the following allocation table is derived for Texas RACES: A. Texas State RACES Frequency Allocation Table: Bands Frequencies Note 160 Meters Mhz Mhz 80 Meters Mhz Mhz Mhz See Note #1 40 Meters Mhz Mhz 30 Meters Mhz 20 Meters Mhz Mhz Mhz 15 meters Mhz Mhz 10 Meters Mhz Mhz Mhz 6 Meters Mhz Mhz See Note #1 2 Meters Mhz Mhz 1.25 Meters Mhz 0.70 Meters Mhz 0.23 Meters Mhz Note #1: The frequency Mhz and Mhz may be used in emergency areas when required to make initial contact with a military unit and for communications with military stations on matters requiring coordination. RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-5

10 6 B. Texas State RACES frequency assignment table: Bands Frequencies Modes/Note 160 Meters MHz LSB MHz LSB 80 Meters MHz CW, RTTY MHz LSB MHz LSB/USB (see Note #1) 40 Meters MHz CW,RTTY MHz LSB 30 Meters MHz CW,RTTY 20 Meters MHz CW,RTTY MHz USB MHz USB 15 Meters MHz CW,RTTY 10 Meters MHz USB MHz USB 6 Meters MHz MHz See Note #1 2 Meters MHz PACKET - DX MHz PACKET - LOCAL MHz VOICE - SIMPLEX 1.25 Meters MHz VOICE - SIMPLEX 0.70 Meters MHz VOICE - SIMPLEX 0.23 Meters MHz VOICE SIMPLEX The specific frequencies listed in this table are for scheduled and unscheduled State RACES operations. Upon activating a State RACES network, the Net Control Station may designate alternate frequencies than those listed to offset interference or poor propagation. When alternate frequencies are used they must be derived from the Texas RACES Frequency Allocation Table in subparagraph A. Note #1: The frequency MHz and MHz may be used in emergency areas when required to make initial contact with a military unit for communications with military stations on matters requiring coordination. Local government RACES and repeater frequencies: Local government frequency assignments will be determined at the local level in accordance with the Texas RACES Frequency Allocation Table in subparagraph A. Repeater operations in the 2-meter, 1.25-meter and 70-centimeter band will comply with established band plans of the Texas VHF-FM Society with the former band plan having precedence. RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-6

11 7 Attachment B Net Preamble Instruction: The Net Control will open a voice net using the following Preamble: This is (call sign), City of Houston Net Control Station in the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, operating on (frequency). This is a directed net, (date and time), alert for the purpose of (a training exercise/emergency). Those not directly concerned with this RACES (exercise/emergency) are requested to keep this frequency clear. Stations checking into this net should identify their station, location of operations and advise the Net Controller of your traffic. RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-7

12 8 Attachment C City of Houston RACES Membership Application Instruction: Please, complete the application and return to the RACES Coordinator. Must meet eligibility requirements and limited background check to become a member of Houston RACES. Name: Resident Address: Zip Code: Resident Telephone #: Pager #: Cell #: Work #: *Call Sign: Class: Expiration Date: *Drivers License: #: DOB Please answer the following questions: 1. Are you available for service? Days Nights Weekends Holidays 2. Are you willing to work in the EOC? Yes No 3. Are you willing to work in the FEOC? Yes No 4. Are you willing to work at a disaster site? Yes No 5. Are you willing to work at a critical facility? Yes No 6. Are you willing to serve as Net Controller during an operation? Yes No 7. Do you have personal communications equipment to operate with?: VHF UHF HF Applicant Signature: Reviewed By: Date: RACES Coordinator Date: Approved By: EMC Date: *APPLICATION MUST BE COMPLETED IN ITS ENTIRETY FOR CONSIDERATION* *PLEASE PROVIDE A COPY OF YOUR DRIVER S LICENSE AND HAM RADIO LICENSE* RACES POLICIES/PROCEDURES AND OPERATIONAL MANUAL 11/25/02 B-8

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