"Question: What makes RACES unique from other amateur radio groups?
"Answer: FCC Rules and Regulations, Part 97 Subpart E 97.07, the overall Federal authority implemented through a state or local governments 'Civil Defense' or 'Emergency Services' responsibility.
"A civil emergency, disaster, or other occurrence which threatens the public safety, national defense, or security provides the stage for RACES activity.
"As a requirement to participate, RACES volunteers become an integral part of governmental operations and, in many cases, the response to the impending or actual condition. In California RACES registrants are given: a specific personal identification as Registered Disaster Workers; coverage under Workers Compensation Indemnity Insurance; and assignment to a position of trust and utilization.
"Our primary strength then is this inclusion into a recognized government agency, the special training we receive, the rapport developed with the agency, all falling under the authority of Part 97.047.
"Training requirements will vary depending upon the nature of the specific agency and its intended or planned utilization of the RACES contingent. While most hams believe they have all the requisite knowledge to operate their 'ham' radio, radio communications is like a tango. IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO! Being able to employ your talents to the benefit of your agency and others requires more than dancing. It's that additional dedication to proficiency with communications for the agency and developing the necessary rapport with the agency and its mission that sets (the) RACES apart.
"Just as you in your business or place of employment will suspect the walk-in who sits down beside you to work, so must the agency suspect the 'Johnny-come-lately' with his ham-gear under his arm who shows at the command center to save the day. Most agencies are not permitted or desirous to risk the potential damage of using unskilled, untrained walk-ins.
"RACES, like dancing, requires dedication, training, and practice".
With deference to Bruce, it's possible for any EMCOMM unit to do what he calls unique to the RACES. The value of what he wrote is the perspective of working in and with the agency, and that of establishing rapport. An EMCOMM unit that can do that can be as successful as his description of a RACES unit. However, in California to have Workers Compensation Coverage there must be a unit plan with a RACES element on file with State OES. Then, the unit must operate under that plan to activate the Disaster Service Worker coverages. State OES provides a model plan for that purpose.