|The Comm Room||
It takes an unusual volunteer to provide dedicated and competent service to emergency management agencies, EMA. Such volunteers must be ready to appear on short notice, stay at their assigned post and duties until relieved, be willing and able to travel where needed. They may even provide the necessary equipment at their own expense. They cannot be "amateurs" in the sense of pursuing a hobby. Instead they must devote a great deal of time and energy to become as proficient as paid staff. The agency they work with must be able to depend upon their availability when needed, their skill at assigned tasks, and their ability to mesh into the overall disaster response exactly as is expected of paid staff. Fortunately there are people, ready, willing and able to serve in such capacity.
Question: Doesn't FEMA Run the RACES?
Response: FEMA has certain responsibilities, but "running" RACES (in the sense of control) is not included. The RACES is a LOCAL or STATE governments emergency communications reserve, sponsored and controlled by that government which sets up the unit. FEMA has NO jurisdiction or authority over the local or state government, including that of its RACES, except in the area of matching funds. In the past FEMA did provide a "Guide" to assist local governments in establishing the RACES. The operative word is "guide".
CA State OES began the Bulletins in the early 1950's to assist agencies and radio operators to become more familiar with RACES. They were issued periodically until 1985, at which time they began to be issued weekly over voice and digital radio systems of Amateur Radio and in print. Originally intended for California, increased demand, and a 1988 request by the ARRL for national distribution, led to their eventual worldwide distribution.
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