In California, DSW coverage during activations begins upon the government's request and coverage is portal to portal, except for unauthorized detours. In other non-emergency situations (training, exercises, etc), coverage begins on arrival at the event or the government facility and ceases on leaving that facility or event. It is NOT portal to portal in these instances and does not cover travel time.
C: POTENTIAL INVOLVEMENT, INVESTIGATION OF:
What about situations when there is an emergency and the unit has NOT been activated, involved, or notified.
- What about going in and being around should the need occur? That would NOT be covered in California unless the unit has a standing policy where one or more persons are requested (authorized) to come in and that is well documented. In all other cases, although not covered under DSW regulations, we believe it is the responsibility of the person who holds the Radio or ACS Officer title to willingly go into the government agency and find a way for the unit to become involved and "activate" those so needed with authority.
- What about staging the unit so it is ready for mutual aid? That would definitely NOT be covered in California until there was a specific (and documented) request to stage. That does NOT mean that the unit could not be alerted and something set up to be prepared to respond if and when the authority is forthcoming.
A few ACS and RACES units are so well integrated into local or state government that their actual presence is "expected as a direct unit responsibility" without a formal "activation". With units with an MOU it may be complex due to the need for the specific request to respond as the RACES (or ACS) instead of their normal unit structure.
Caution: There are varying perspectives on whether or not DSW coverage is important. To some it is vital, to others it may not be, but in a state that is heavy on litigation, the ACS or RACES officer needs to be certain the unit is activated before calling anyone out. If that officer is not CONCERNED, then that unconcern should be clearly known to the unit personnel so they can decide for themselves whether to become active or involved. In this state, liability could be extensive. Perhaps in other places it is a very different situation.
Continues, next bulletin, on how many to involve.