|The Comm Room||
The Mission of the RACES (RB293)
The mission of the RACES is basically to provide needed communications in emergencies for the government that sponsors the RACES unit. Its communications are governmental in nature, that is between government units and not third party health and welfare messages --- although it may be used for liaison from government to non-government disaster relief organizations.
Why does this occur? Why do some agencies say "No" to communications volunteers and refuse to call them out? Why does an auxiliary communications unit by whatever title --- ECS (Emergency Communications Service), DCS (Disaster Communications Service), ARES or RACES --- wither and die for lack of agency support or inclusion in its on-going activities?
One real possibility is that the agency administrator may need help in working with a group of people he/she is not accustomed to having around. Not that he/she isn't a professional in their own field, but that the person has little experience working with unpaid professionals with an abiding interest in emergency communications. Perhaps the key response here is one of inter-personal relationships, chiefly between the agency people and the Radio Officer. With the right personality and skill, the Radio Officer CAN establish the liaison and relationship.
In some areas of the country volunteers call out their own operators without having a "higher authority" to which they report in order to be activated or mobilized.
In other areas of the country --- possibly with completely different government agencies --- volunteers whether fire, search and rescue or communications, report to a sponsoring agency before responding to an event. There may be little opportunity for Amateurs to self-activate if there is a government agency assigned responsibility in that area.
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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