Hudson County
RACES Unit

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Overview of operations
Activation and Deactivation

County Staff

Training

Operating Location
Frequencies
Message Handling Procedures
Monthly Nets
How to be a Better RACES Operator

Overview

This page provides a brief overview of Hudson County RACES operations as cited in the official Hudson County RACES plan and its stated goals.

The Hudson County RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services) Unit  provides communications  for the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) of Hudson County, NJ on the amateur radio frequencies. 

Generally, these communications are between the County OEM and:

  • the municipal OEMs in Hudson County
  • the NJ State OEM
  • OEMs in other counties
  • other cooperating units of federal, state or local governments 
  • cooperating private agencies such as the American Red Cross
  • mobile RACES field units and spotters 

The RACES Unit's basic objective is to accurately and efficiently relay information between the Hudson County OEM staff and these entities. The RACES unit is responsible solely for the transfer of information to the appropriate emergency management officials and does not make any operational decisions with regard to that information.

The Unit also take a leadership role in cooperative efforts with municipal RACES units, if any.

Activation and Deactivation

County and municipal Emergency Management Coordinators (EMC), or their delegates, may activate their respective RACES units to assist in a special communication need. This may include an actual emergency or the threat of an emergency (for example, approaching severe weather). Activation is not made by a FEMA or State official, nor does a "State of Emergency"  need to exist for the Emergency Management Office or the RACES unit to activate. RACES units do not, however, self activate.

The same official who activated the RACES unit is responsible for deactivating it at the conclusion of the need. 

County RACES Staffing

Title Name Phone E-mail
County OEM Coordinator Frank Pizzuta (201) 319-3871

fpizzuta@hudsoncountynj.org

Secaucus OEM Coord. Vincent Massaro (201) 864-1061

oem@secaucus.net

Radio Officer Richard Scalzo (N2TQS) (201) 864-1061

NA

Deputy RO/
Team Leader
Tom Mahoney (KC2JFK) (201) 864-1061

NA

Secaucus ARES EC / Sec. OEM & Hud. Co. RACES member Mike Snuffer (KC2JHU) (201) 864-1061

NA

Radio Officer 

The Radio Officer (RO) reports to the OEM Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) or a Deputy EMC. The RO is primarily responsible for all RACES operations, including:

  • recruiting and training the RACES staff
  • recommending and overseeing the installation and use of all RACES equipment
  • communicating with state and municipal Radio Officers about County operations, as necessary
  • conducting periodic radio exercises and drills
  • recalling RACES staff during emergencies
  • making staff assignments
  • coordinating with municipal radio officers the deployment of municipal operators to temporary "mutual aid"  assignments 
  • ensuring proper radio communication procedures and techniques are being employed by all operators 

The Radio Officer is authorized to change or add procedures not specified in the Hudson County RACES Operating Plan when they are required for efficient and effective operation of the unit. 

Deputy Radio Officer

The Deputy Radio Officer (DRO) is appointed by, and reports to, the Radio Officer. The Radio Officer may delegate certain of the RO's responsibilities to the DRO. Either the Radio Officer or the Emergency Management Coordinator will designate the DRO as the Acting Radio Officer when the Radio Officer is not able to act as the RO. 

Team Leaders

Team Leaders are appointed by the Radio Officer and assigned operating responsibilities and radio operators to handle various RACES station activities. In the absence of the RO (or DRO),  the  Emergency Management Coordinator (or acting Radio Officer)  may designate a Team Leader as an acting RO (or acting DRO). 

Operators

Other volunteer RACES operators report to the Team Leaders. Membership requirements and responsibilities are detailed on the Volunteer Requirements page. Operators on the County RACES staff are also permitted to be members of a municipal RACES unit. 

Staff Identification

All RACES operators should have a valid RACES ID to facilitate admission to OEM or RACES locations and, during declared emergencies, to permit travel when it would normally be restricted by emergency officials. Without an ID, a RACES member may be identified by another RACES member in the operation, but only admitted at the discretion of the official responsible for the operation.


Operator Training

Every effort is made to exercise RACES resources as frequently as possible to keep both personnel and equipment in a state of readiness and proficiency. Periodic radio exercises or drills are held by the state. (Such activities are limited by the FCC to one hour per week unless permission has been granted by the chief NJ officer for emergency planning, who can permit drills lasting up to 72 hours no more than twice a year).

RACES members are expected to have a basic understanding of radio operations and a working knowledge of message handling procedures, the Hudson County RACES Plan, RACES policies and procedures, the Incident Command System, and the Communications Annex of Emergency Operating Plan (EOP) of their respective municipality (or county).

The Radio Officer (County and Municipal) is responsible for RACES operator training, although all operators are encouraged to learn as much as possible on their own (see the Volunteer Requirements page). This web site is one source of training materials. 

Additional RACES-specific information can be found on the RACES Library page.  General emergency operating information can be found at the Electronic Library page.

Operating Location and Equipment

The normal RACES operating location is at the County EOC (Emergency Operating Center). Please see the RACES Radio Room page  for more information about the Radio Room, county-owned  RACES equipment, and frequency capabilities. 

The alternate operating location would be Jersey City OEM, 715 Summit Ave., Jersey City, NJ.

The Hudson County RACES also owns and maintains a repeater to extend radio coverage.

Backup and supplementary repeater coverage is provided by local amateur repeater stations owned and operated by either amateur radio clubs or individuals. No formal agreements exist between RACES and the licensees of these repeaters, since most provide unrestricted access. Some repeaters provide for limited interconnection to the telephone system.

Other radio equipment used by RACES, particularly at temporary fixed or mobile stations, is privately owned and maintained by RACES volunteers. Volunteer equipment for temporary fixed and mobile *voice* communication is abundant. Volunteer equipment for temporary fixed and mobile *data* and *television* communications is less common.

Designated Operating Frequencies

Privileged information.

Procedures

On-Air Identification

Hudson County RACES holds station license KC2IES. In addition, the tactical call of the Hudson County Office of Emergency Management is "Hudson County OEM."

Message Handling

It is common and preferred practice to handle tactical traffic without formal, word-for-word documentation, although the date, time and basic information about significant conversations and activities should be recorded in a log. Traffic handled in this manner is more efficient, although it is important that operators use precise and concise language.

Where appropriate, formal messages, including specific requests for action by an OEM or other agency, should be recorded word-for-word on forms established for such traffic. In addition, the date, time, and subject should be entered in the log. 

Message handling procedures generally follow guidelines suggested by the ARRL's NTS (National Traffic System), including the use of prowords and the assignment of precedences on any formal traffic.   

To facilitate the accurate transfer of information and any follow-up response, standard forms for RACES operations have been developed.

Monthly RACES Net

A statewide RACES radio net is held at 8:00 p.m. on the last Monday of every month. All RACES units and Red Cross stations in New Jersey are invited to participate.

The net is held on various frequencies (see your RACES officer for details).  Net control is the State OEM.

After a county roll call, the net control may announce news and upcoming events related to RACES. Other net check-ins may also request time for announcements related to RACES, ARES or other public service events.