Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) is a volunteer organization of amateur radio operators who are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide essential communications for State and local governments in time of emergency. Created in 1952 to serve in civil defense emergencies, RACES provides essential communications and warning links to supplement State and local government operations during emergencies.
As a secondary function, RACES is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide emergency communications for civil preparedness purposes. RACES members use their primary stations or desiganted RACES stations to conduct emergency communications on specific frequencies.
The DEMHS RACES program continues its efforts to establish a comprehensive emergency communications network utilizing the Vermont amateur radio community. The primary mission of the program is to provide health and welfare emergency communications during disasters or significant failures of telecommunication systems. Our enhancements to the DEMHS-RACES system continue to strengthen our mission and capabilities to provide registered operators and multiple modes of communications to the areas we serve. In accordance with this mission, in 2012 our membership has increased to over 200 registered operators. Currently, we have also established 40 fixed RACES stations and have the capability of deploying 15 mobile Command Centers stations throughout the State. These stations include:
- 1 Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security EOC (HF/VHF/UHF/Digital)
- 16 Vermont Hospital based EOC Stations (HF/VHF/UHF)
- 11 Vermont Department of Health Offices (HF/VHF/UHF/Digital)
- 10 Entergy Vermont Yankee EPZ locations (HF/VHF/UHF)
- 1 Vermont Army National Guard Joint Operations Center (HF/VHF/UHF)
- 1 National Weather Service – Burlington (HF/VHF/UHF)
- 14 VEM-RACES / CERT Trailers (VHF/UHF)
- 1 VEM-RACES Mobile Communications Trailer (HF/VHF/UHF)
- 1 Vermont Agency of Transportation Operations Center (VHF/UHF/HF)
Additional stations are under development including:
- 1 Vermont Agency of Agriculture mobile office (HF/VHF/UHF)
- 10 Vermont Agency of Transportation District Offices (HF/VHF/UHF)
Our communication capabilities are additionally expanding to utilize PACTOR III digital communications technology providing HF based email and internet capacity between emergency centers within Vermont and New England.
For more information on RACES, please contact DEMHS at 800-347-0488.