Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES/RACES)
Our mission is to provide a viable response to local or regional communications system outages or overloads. Using Amateur Radio equipment and operators as directed by the county Office of Emergency Management or other served agency such as the American Red Cross. We provide back-up communications to designated agencies until normal communications are restored. We also provide communications services for public service events and support the SKYWARN program of the National Weather Service.
Local Emergency Assistance:
Our group serves county government under the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES). In a declared emergency, RACES is authorized under FCC rules to provide backup civil defense communications services. In this role we work with the Albany County Emergency Management Office, under the Office of the Sheriff.
Our members are also part of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) which is a program of the American Radio Relay League. Through ARES our members provide communications services to several groups that need communications support. This includes the American Red Cross and other non-profit groups that need communications services on an emergency or public service event basis.
We assist the National Weather Service through its SKYWARN program by providing weather spotting across the county as well as staffing the Weather Service Forecast Office amateur radio station during storm events.
Members should possess a valid Amateur Radio license, of any class, issued by the FCC. We recommend that members complete free online FEMA courses IS-100 and IS-700. SKYWARN training is also encouraged. Further formal classroom training in Amateur Radio Emergency Communications is offered periodically and is also conducted during programs at monthly meetings held at the county Emergency Operating Center in Clarksville.