- Who has authority to activate (and/or involve)
- When does DSW coverage commence (in those states with it)
- Actual involvement/activation versus investigation to determine possible involvement or activation
- How many to INVOLVE - one, five, or the entire unit
- Mutual aid or assistance (to or from another unit)
A. AUTHORITY TO ACTIVATE (Involve)
Authority will vary by kind of unit, what agency is served and how it is sponsored or organized. General illustrations:
Units such as ARES, REACT, Clubs and others:
- If it serves an agency, such as the Red Cross or the Salvation Army, it may be required to meet their requirements for involvement.
- If it has an MOU to serve a government as ACS or RACES it is by an authorized government official (such as the sheriff, chief of police, fire chief, etc.)
- For situations other than (1) and (2) above it may be activated by specified positions within its organization, such as the SEC/DEC/EC in the ARRL ARES, or a club EC.
ACS or RACES units are a direct function of a government and are activated or involved by authority of the person holding a specified position in the government.
ACS or RACES participants In California register in the DSW "Communications" class to "Install, operate, and maintain various communications systems and perform related service, to assist officials and individuals in the protection of life and property." As a result, they are covered under the DSW rules and regulations should they be injured or killed during AUTHORIZED service.
The Accredited Disaster Council is the public agency to register and direct the activities of DSWs within the jurisdiction's area. Normally there is delegation from that council to a paid-staff position, such as the Sheriff or Emergency Management Agency (EMA) manager. Authority may be further delegated to another person on the paid staff of the jurisdiction. This authority needs to be specified in the local area ACS or RACES unit plan. It may be a Deputy Sheriff or a Communications Coordinator, or an EMA official. In some cases an ACS or RACES Officer has been given authority to involve the unit on stated conditions, such as: a 6.0 or greater earthquake; destruction of the EOC; death or disability of authorizing staff as by explosion.
It is important to document activation authority by a written and published standard unit plan, stating the position title of the person(s) authorized to activate, involve, or use the unit and/or its participants. That becomes vital when the issue of mutual aid arises; see later bulletins. CA State provides a model plan with standard wording and placement of essential data so that other jurisdictions can see that the authority is adequately documented and approved in the local jurisdiction to assure speedier mutual aid when and if needed.
Continues next week - B. When does coverage begin.