Of even deeper concern by agency officials is the Radio Officer who can't discern one from the other, and confuses the call-up, causing embarrassment to an official or the jurisdiction; exceeding authority or creating liability problems for administrators. Once 'burned', such officials can become reluctant or refuse to utilize the unit again.
Once activation is authorized, it should be properly announced as to beginning and ending. This can be complex for the person who is both the ARRL Emergency Coordinator (EC) and the local government's RACES Radio Officer, for it should be clear which unit is in activation. For example: On an official activity a RACES person begins at 0800 and ends at 1122; his or her ARES activity starts at 1123 and ends at 2100. Disaster Service Worker protection ends with the closure of the RACES activity at 1122 and all members are entitled to know precisely when that occurs, even though they may choose to continue to participate on an unprotected basis thereafter by their freedom of choice.
There are literally hundreds of opportunities to activate a RACES unit other than the perceived 'big ones'. Some of the activities where RACES personnel can be utilized include the following:
- Meetings, training, weekly nets, administrative, and other work at the EOC, office, or elsewhere; including installation and work parties.
- Holiday/special event traffic reports. Communications for government during races, parades, marathons, fairs, and other public events.
- Hospital nets.
- Radio link between the EOC or Incident Command and the primary Emergency Broadcast System station(s).
- Hazardous material spill or incident.
- Rainfall/stream level observation and reports during a storm. Severe weather observations and reports. (Prior training from the National Weather Service is required.)
- ATV (Amateur Television) from the National Weather Service forecast office to the EOC for periodic briefings during severe weather incidents.
- Hostage situation. (ATV transmits high resolution color pictures back to the EOC or law enforcement HQ for training pur- poses.)
- Forest and wild fires.
- Point-to-point links during telephone outages.
- Interstate mutual aid missions: forest fires, etc.
- Landslides with long detours in remote areas: provide phone patches for the inconvenienced motorists.