Query: “Are there any training standards for communications units that serve government?”
Response by Stan Harter, based on 45 years experience with volunteer communications units in support of government:
As to standards of training, I know of none. Each agency creates (or fails to create) their own. Since every government does everything different, there are very few “basics” when it comes to communication training, except for these:
- The proper radio calling procedure.
- Use plain English; no codes, no ham codes, no 10-codes, etc.
- Maximize tactical calls, minimize ham radio calls.
The standards of deportment, appearance, behavior, performance, minimum required training, etc. are generally policies estab- lished by the local government. If not, they should be; and if it’s worth doing right it’s worth writing it down.
There are, however, related standards to learn, such as:
- The unwritten protocol and nuances of an agency. Since these are unwritten these are part of what the unit officers learn by working IN the agency in some on-going capacity.
- Applicable local or state laws, such as in California where the Standardized Emergency Management System takes effect 12/1/96. This involves five basics: ICS, Mutual Aid, MACS, OA and OASIS. See RACES Bulletin 418 dated 2/19/96.
- Thorough working understanding of the Incident Command System (ICS) and how it is used by your government. See RACES Bulletin 416 issued 2/5/96. Also see also EMCOM Bulletins 001-020.
- How the communications Mutual Aid system works in your area. Who is authorized to activate or call out the unit and under what circumstances. See RACES bulletin 414 dated 1/22/96.
- The mission statement of the local communications unit.
- California jurisdictions see RACES Bulletin 413 on the Operational Area (OA), issued 1/15/96 and 417 on OASIS, issued 2/12/96.