Emergency Communications

Amateur Radio Copy

Temecula Citizen Corps ACS/RACES

Auxiliary Communications Services (ACS)
Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (R.A.C.E.S.)

Purpose

The purpose of the ACS/RACES program is to provide vital communications and support during emergency incidents and routine events and activities. The Temecula ACS/RACES is a program administered by the City of Temecula’s Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management. Utilizing state-of-the-art technologies such as portable repeaters, packet radio, and advanced communication tools, the ACS/RACES program provides emergency communications support to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), activated mass care and shelter sites, and the Temecula Valley Hospital. Additionally, the ACS/RACES program provides rapid response assessments of field conditions and damages during emergencies or severe weather conditions and establishes an amateur radio communication network for public access even when conventional means of communication fail or are limited. 

Non-emergency communications support is a critical element of this program because it enhances preparedness and coordination as well as the testing of essential communications links. Non-emergency events that involve ACS/RACES include city and regional disaster exercises, parades, safety fairs, celebrations, and training with other organizations and groups within the operational area.

Authority

The Amateur Radio Service in the United States is governed under the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), Part 97, specifically, Part 97.1.a. The FCC rules recognize that a fundamental purpose of Amateur Radio Services is to provide voluntary noncommercial communications service to the public with respect to emergency communications.

ARRL membership, while desirable, is not a requirement for TCC ACS/RACES membership. Additionally, the FCC in part 97.407, authorizes such Amateur Radio stations to also be enrolled with their local Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) to provide emergency communications support to local, county and state governments. As a member of TCC ACS/RACES, members are functioning and considered members of RACES when in an emergency environment, even though they are not individually registered with RACES.

Membership 

Membership in the TCC ACS/RACES program carries with it a personal commitment to public service. This commitment is extremely important in responding to and recovering from any emergency. For more information check out our “Join TCC” webpage. 

All amateur radio operators and those interested in becoming licensed amateur radio operators are encouraged to join TCC, it is a great place to learn and use amateur radio in a meaningful way

Emergency Radio Positions

  • Net Control (or Relay) Operator – Monitor and control communications on their assigned frequency; may be required to run a separate net on a secondary frequency; and maintain logs of radio traffic and assignments. Any Temecula ACS/RACES operator may initiate Net Control until such a time that a more qualified operator becomes available. 
  • Temecula ACS/RACES EOC Radio Communications Unit Operator – Manage all City of Temecula Emergency Operations Center Radio Communications operations; maintain logs; provide written copies to EOC Director as needed; perform as the main point of contact for Temecula ACS/RACES; liaison with other agencies; and provide the EOC Director with an after action report detailing: (1) Temecula ACS/RACES involvement; (2) personnel who participated; (3) any incidents that may present a liability or reflect poorly on the City; (4) any injuries of personnel; and (5) suggestions for areas of improvement.
  • Field Command Post (CP) or Overland Trail Compound (OTC) Operator – Provide backup emergency communications support to the incident command post or other locations as required; and maintain logs of radio traffic and assignments.
  • Temecula ACS/RACES Communications Trailer Operator (s) – Several operators may be requested to staff the mobile communications trailer. Operators provide field support to the EOC; serve as a communicator for the for an incident command post; and maintain logs of radio traffic and assignments.
  • Shelter Radio Operator(s) – Provide emergency communications between the shelter and EOC, County EOC, American Red Cross; report any requests for assistance and logistics support requests to EOC Communications Unit Operator; and maintain logs of radio traffic and assignments.
  • Shadow Operator – Shadow an assigned person; provide communications support; and maintain logs of radio traffic and assignments.
  • CERT Communications Team Operator – Provide emergency communications between CERT teams and the CERT incident command post; and maintain logs of radio traffic and assignments.
  • Hospital Radio Operator - Provide emergency communications for the hospital during emergencies and conduct monthly hospital nets and participate in required drills.
  • Mutual Aid – Respond to mutual aid requests as directed by the Emergency Manager, provide emergency communications; and maintain logs of radio traffic and assignments.

Future Emergency Radio Plan

We are building a team to provide a resilient means of emergency communications in support of our city's Office of Emergency Management and City Emergency Services.

EM Comm Plan Diagram

ACS/RACES Warning & Response Levels

The TCC ACS/RACES Team shall utilize the I Am Responding cellular telephone application to alert the team in the event of an emergency. Additionally, the City of Temecula Alert & Warning System can be utilized to alert members of an activation.

  1. Emergency Alert (Level 1) – TCC ACS/RACES personnel place themselves in an alert status whenever they become aware of a developing situation that may lead to activation within the next 12-to-24-hour period.
  2. Emergency Stand-By (Level 2) – A ‘standby status’ is a notice of impending TCC ACS/RACES activation. Personnel are encouraged to ready themselves by assuring that they have sufficient fuel and have loaded recommended gear into their vehicle. Use this opportunity to test equipment to ensure they are in working order.
  3. Emergency Call-Out (Level 3) – The Temecula Emergency Manager or designee will notify the TCC ACS/RACES Chief Radio Officer to initiate the emergency call-out. The TCC ACS/RACES Chief Radio Officer or designee will contact the TCC Volunteer Coordinator or TCC Manager to activate the team via the I Am Response App. Additionally; the Chief Radio Officer or designee will announce the activation on a designated 2-meter frequency every ten minutes. Members who are not automatically monitoring the 2-meter frequency will be notified by telephone. Personnel will be responsible for advising Net Control of their availability over the next 24 hours as well as the status of their equipment. During EOC activations, Temecula ACS/RACES will be asked to provide at least (1) person to staff the EOC Communications Unit.

Winlink

Winlink is a powerful tool during emergency events for sending email messages and attachments, situation reports, and large volumes of data via radio without the internet. Temecula ACS/RACES utilizes the Winlink system. Whenever routing traffic or other non-emergent traffic (e.g., detailed communications, lists, and relayed messages) are sent between non-mobile radio stations (e.g., command posts, Overland Trail Compound, Relay Operators, Shelters, Hospitals, and the Emergency Operations Center) Winlink messages should be used.

Radio Networks (Nets)

An amateur radio net (Ham net) is an on-the-air” gathering of amateur radio operators. There are many casual and friendly nets, some are called “rag-chew nets”. Other nets are more structured and provide on-air training, practice, and a way to check of your equipment. All TCC ACS/RACES members are encouraged to participate as often and in as many of the following “Directed” nets as time permits. One hour of TCC participation credit is accumulated each net listed:

Temecula ACS/RACES Check-in Nets

  • 2nd Wednesday of the month: 0830 to 1000 hours 
    • For TCC Winlink Check-in
      • Use “TEM-EOC” as the tactical call-sign
      • Use “Packet P2P” on 144.970
        • If no contact with TEM-EOC, coordinate on a voice frequency
    • For Voice Check-in
      • Use “TEM-EOC” as the tactical call-sign
        • Use 146.805 (-) 100.0 (GTARC 2m repeater)
        • Use 147.510 (simplex) 

Riverside County RACES Sponsored Nets

  • Every Wednesday
    • For Winlink Wednesday: 0001 to 2400 hours
      • Use RMS (TELNET not permitted)
      • Address Line: “WB6DIK”
      • Subject Line: “WL2K RIVCO Winlink Wednesday Check-in”
      • Text: Call sign, first name, city, county, state
    • Southwest ARES/RACES (roll call voice) at 1930 hours 
      • Use 144.895 (+) 156.7 (Elsinore Peak)
      • First time on this net wait for Guests to be invited

Golden Triangle Amateur Radio Club (roll call voice) 

  • Every Thursday at 1930 hours at 1930 hours
    •  Use 146.805 (-) 100.0

Any licensed amateur radio operator is welcome to participate on these nets. 
Unlicensed radio operators are welcome to listen.