On Sept. 4, 1979 the FCC issued a mimeograph letter titled "Guidelines for developing Emergency Communications Plans available from FCC." Three years later, 11/9/82,
It read: "A local emergency support plan developed in Tacoma Washington, and a state plan for Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) developed in Connecticut, has been reviewed by the Amateur Radio Service Subcommittee of the FCC's National Industry Advisory Committee (NIAC) and are now available from the FCC's Emergency Communications Division."
The NIAC subcommittee determined that a modified version could serve as a GUIDE for development of similar plans elsewhere and approved distribution of it and related developmental worksheets.
"Spearheading the effort to enable the Amateur Radio Service to improve its already significant assistance during emergencies are:
- The FCC, which establishes rules and procedures under which segments of the communications industry voluntarily participate in the EBS and other communications emergency plans.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency which assists state and local civil defense agencies with financial aid, policy guidance and various emergency communications systems."
(end of quote.)
The decline of aid and guidance from FEMA and the FCC had already begun as evidenced by that delay. It accelerated in the years that followed. Over the decades FEMA has lacked money (or priority for it) to update its guidance for RACES.
That Tacoma Plan was languishing in the files at State OES when Stan Harter was employed in l985 as the State RACES program coordinator. He was tasked with bringing more FCC amateur licensees into use by local governments. Based on his own years of hands-on experience with RACES in Hawaii he knew what it took to make--and keep--a RACES unit viable. He quickly realized the lack of guidance, and started what became known as the "RACES Bulletins" in l985 which continued as such until l994. In 1994 their focus changed to broader applications than just the RACES, hence the EMCOMM Bulletins.
Stan knew the 1979 Tacoma plan was out of date and inadequate. Therefore, he developed a model RACES plan and updated it over the next decade. He also created a guidance package on starting and keeping a RACES unit. Called the "RACPAC," he provided it to anyone on request. In the mid-1990s we made that into a manual titled "Establishing and Maintaining an Emergency Communications Unit." It is still available today, but it needs to be updated.
In view of this, in 1992, when FEMA sent out its 1991 reissue of its CPG 1-15 based on a 1979 Tacoma Plan, perhaps we can see why Stan Harter was adamant that it was flawed guidance, long out of date and quite archaic. He refused to use it in California. We still have a copy of his statewide notice in our history file.