Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service

The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, or RACES, is a standby radio service provided for in Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) regulations. In approximately 2010, the RACES program was broadened to the Auxiliary Communications Services (ACS) program. ACS is a volunteer-based emergency communications reserve program that has both operational and educational components.

ACS volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, including radio, information technology, telephone, microwave, satellite, medical, law and other professional backgrounds.  Personnel may or may not hold FCC licenses. Skilled and dedicated people, licensed and unlicensed, can be recruited to serve in one or more of four categories:  administrative, management, technical, and operations.

The Pennsylvania ACS Program provides the mechanism to support county and regional disaster response organizations and their resources on a statewide basis.  ACS is available to support not only disaster response, but also exercises, drills and other “significant” events.

An important element in the ACS model is its use in support of government communications. Resources include but are not limited to: GMRS radio, citizens band radio, microwave and digital communications.

RACES in Erie County

When needed, the network will be activated in Erie County by Emergency Management.

If you are interested in participating, you can fill out an application for appointment. Members are required to complete ICS 100, 200, IS700 and IS800 training from the Federal Emergency Management Agency; information can be found on the FEMA Emergency Management Institute website.

Weekly training and information is held on Sundays at 9:00 p.m. on the 146.700- WA3UC repeater in Union City, 146.61- W3GV in Erie and 146.820- W3GV in Waterford. Erie County RACES members are invited to check in; visitor check-ins are accepted.