Morris County
Office of Emergency Management
RACES Unit

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Morris County RACES Operations

Quick Index for this page

Overview of operations
Activation and Deactivation

County Staff

Training
Frequencies
Message Handling Procedures
Monthly Nets
Operating Location

Overview

This page provides a brief overview of Morris County RACES operations and it's stated goals.

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

Generally, these communications are between the Morris County OEM and:

bulletthe 39 municipal OEMs in Morris County
bulletthe NJ State OEM
bulletOEMs in other counties
bulletother cooperating units of federal, state or local governments 
bulletcooperating private agencies such as the American Red Cross
bulletmobile RACES field units and spotters 

The RACES Unit's basic objective is to accurately and efficiently relay information between the Morris 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 the municipal RACES Units .

Activation and Deactivation

County and municipal Emergency Management Coordinators (EMCs), or their deputies, may activate their respective RACES units to provide communications. This may include an actual emergency or the threat of an emergency, for example, approaching severe weather. Activation normally is not made by a FEMA or State official.  A "State of Emergency"  does not need to exist for the RACES unit to activate. RACES units normally do not, however, self-activate.

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

Morris County RACES Staffing

Title Name Phone E-mail
Radio Officer (RO)
Harvey Klein, WS2Q
973-538-1768 (home)
732-921-2608 (cell)
908-688-8900 (work)
ws2q@arrl.net

 
Deputy RO & Team Leader Kathy Thee, KT2F 973-586-0678 kt2f@arrl.net
Team Leader Karl Fenton, N2OYU

973-768-5400

n2oyu@arrl.net

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:

bulletrecruiting and training the RACES staff
bulletrecommending and overseeing the installation and use of all RACES equipment
bulletcommunicating with state and municipal Radio Officers about County operations, as necessary
bulletconducting periodic radio exercises and drills
bulletrecalling RACES staff during emergencies
bulletmaking staff assignments
bulletcoordinating with municipal radio officers the deployment of municipal operators to temporary "mutual aid"  assignments 
bulletensuring proper radio communication procedures and techniques are being employed by all operators 

The Radio Officer is authorized to change or add procedures when they are required for efficient and effective operation of the RACES unit. 

Deputy Radio Officer

The Deputy Radio Officer (DRO) is appointed by, and reports to, the Radio Officer. The Radio Officer may delegate certain 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 county and each municipal RACES unit. (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 member are expected to have a basic understanding of radio operations and a working knowledge of message handling procedures, 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 MCARV Electronic Library page.

RACES operators should be familiar with the incident Command System (ICS) , and NIMS, the National Emergency Management System. All operators are encouraged to take the basic level courses. Both are available on-line:

bullet IS-100.a: Introduction to the Incident Command System
bullet IS-700.a: NIMS Overview

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 Morris County RACES also owns and maintains a repeater to extend radio coverage. You can read more about this on the WS2Q/R page.

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

See Frequencies Page

 

Procedures

On-Air Identification

The Morris County RACES unit uses the call sign of the RACES operator. In addition, the tactical call is "Morris County Office of Emergency Management".

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 County RACES Net

The Morris County Emergency RACES radio net is held at 8:00 p.m. on the first Monday of the month.  It is held on the second Monday when the first Monday is a legal holiday. All municipal RACES units and other designated operators are invited to participate.

The net is held on the WS2Q/R repeater on 146.895 MHz (input 146.295, PL tone of 151.4 Hz).  Net control is either the County Radio Officer or a designee.

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

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Last Updated: 06/02/17