Office of Emergency Management
RACES in Morris County NJ
What is RACES?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, requires every state and local government to develop an Emergency Operating Plan (EOP) to cope with man-made and natural disasters. Such a plan has been developed for the county by the Morris County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), while similar municipal plans have been developed by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in each Morris County municipality.
RACES -- Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services and pronounced "Ray-seize" -- provides amateur radio emergency communications support for these OEMs. Created in 1952 primarily to serve in civil defense emergencies, RACES provides essential communications and warning links to supplement State and local government communication resources during emergencies. FEMA sponsors the formation of RACES units for each OEM by providing planning guidance, technical assistance, and funding.
RACES activities are conducted by volunteer amateurs using their primary station licenses. RACES operations in the amateur radio service are governed by the Federal Communication Commission's ( FCC) Rules and Regulations 47 CFR Part 97.407. Of important note is that, in the event that the President invokes the War Emergency powers, all amateur radio operations would be silenced, EXCEPT for amateurs officially enrolled and operating as RACES stations, who would be limited to certain frequencies.
Relationship between the County RACES and Municipal RACES
In New Jersey, each municipality has primary responsibility for coping with any disaster affecting the municipality. The County's role is to provide support and coordination in the event a disaster overwhelms the capabilities of the municipality. The County OEM can make available County resources to municipalities on a priority basis and also help arrange for other municipalities to lend resources to an affected municipality. The County OEM also coordinates activities with the State OEM on behalf of all Morris municipalities.
RACES units are sub-organizations of their respective OEM. Each RACES unit reports to the Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC), or a Deputy EMC, within the OEM. Just as the municipal EMCs work with -- but do not report to -- the County EMC, so too do the municipal RACES units work with -- but do not report to -- the County RACES unit.
In their role as coordinating bodies, both the County OEM and the County RACES unit also provide guidance to the municipal OEMs and RACES units regarding planning and preparedness. This includes a leadership role in occasional tests of county-wide response plans, procedures, and equipment.
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|Last Updated: 01/12/2010|