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Lincoln County New Mexico, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency

Services (RACES) and Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Plan




a.         SCOPE.     This plan provides guidance for the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES)  to support state and local government officials during certain emergency conditions.  The  Department of Emergency Management, under direction of the Governor, is responsible for coordinating State resources in response to natural and man-made disasters and for advising local governments in their preparations toward meeting these situations.  At times State and/or local government resources may be inadequate to effectively respond to such incidents/disasters.  This can be especially true in the area of communications when normal day-to-day systems are used in support of widespread emergencies or disasters.  Because of system outages or overcrowding by emergency message traffic, normal communications systems may become unusable or inadequate to meet the demand.


1.         Lincoln County is a very large county located in South Central New Mexico.  It has many villages within its boundaries and varied geographic layout, ranging from mountains to planes.  The Southern part of the county has extreme variation of population, with major tourist actions in the area. There is two major tourist seasons, the summer has horse racing and the winter has winter sports, with an all season gambling season close by.  Because of this the South end of the county has major changes in population depending upon the season.  


2.         The following villages and communities are in Lincoln County:


               Alto                         Arabela                Captain

               Carrizozo                Corona                Glencoe        

               Hondo                Lincoln                Nogal        

               Picaho                Pine Lodge                Ruidoso                

               Ruidoso Downs        San Patricio                Tinnie

               White Oaks


3.         Within the County there are Emergency Operating Centers (EOC) in the following locations:


                       Carrizozo                 Ruidoso                Ruidoso Downs


4.         Nearby we have Otero County with EOCs at the following locations:


                       Alamogordo        Mescalero Indian Reservation



5.         Because of the geographic size of this county, VHF/UHF repeaters are required for normal governmental communications.  Some three or so repeater sites are used for this purpose.  A failure of these repeaters will reduce the ability of the Lincoln County governmental radio networks to cover the complete county and will reduce the ability to maintain communications to outside agencies as well.  The county, like most in the US does not have High Frequency Radio capability.    


6.         During a disaster or major emergency, communications within and external to the county may become overloaded and may require supplemental communications support.


7.         The Federal Communications Commission  (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have developed a special radio service for just such events.  This is  subpart E of the Amateur Radio Service, and is titled Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) the service is regulated by the FCC rules and is managed and controlled by the State, or City / County government, with volunteer licensed Amateurs providing the manpower for the program.  See Appendix A.  


8.         As the RACES program is a governmental program, RACES membership has specific membership requirements, including possible back ground checks of RACES members.  This allows the State, or City / County to control the membership and utilize the RACES members in operation of governmental radio networks, both on the Amateur bands and on other official radio networks.


  1. b.         PURPOSE.  This plan is intended to provide coordinated communications operations for the State of New Mexico and City/County government officials by the RACES/ARES organizations during times when there are extraordinary threats to the safety of life and/or property and ordinary communications fail or need to be supplemented.  Maximum benefit from RACES/ARES organizations can be obtained only through careful planning which identifies the organizations, agencies, and individuals concerned and assigns a definitive role to each.  This plan is designed to enable agencies and organizations of government which have emergency responsibilities to include the RACES/ARES organizations in their local emergency plans and programs.


  1. c.         The Amateur Radio Service has rules, see FCC Part 97, that allow public service and emergency communications support as well.  This program is called the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and is managed by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) this allows a less formal program to be utilized for similar support to the State, and local government.  This may be utilized for non governmental programs such as public service programs supporting the local community, and community organizations.  


  1. d.         Many very effective programs are run with a joint RACES/ARES programs.  This allows the best of both worlds, as many of the members will be joint RACES/ARES members.  The ARES program may have a number of members that are not RACES certified, as the ARES program will be utilized for some events that may not qualify as a RACES level event.  Also the ARES program will be responsible for Health and Welfare radio networks, that have a much higher level of radio traffic.  The RACES program will only support the needs of the governmental agency(s) and will have a much lower level of message traffic.


  1. e.         During most events, the RACES network will be shut down as soon as the governmental networks are returning to full service.  At this time there may still be a large amount of Health and Welfare messages still needing to be processed, so most of the RACES members will the move to ARES responsibility while the event continues to wind down.  


  1. f.         RACES is operated under the Amateur Radio Service Part 97 subpart 97.407, RACES is a formal governmental controlled service, an can only operate during a declared emergency / disaster event.  The RACES program is managed and controlled by the State, or City/County government.  Very strict rules apply to RACES operation.  The State or City/County government officials can require background checks and other requirements prior to certifying a RACES member.  Because of this RACES members can perform communications duties of a sensitive nature.  See Appendix A for FCC Rules referred to in this plan.


  1. g.         ARES is a separate Emergency response organization maintained by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) it operates under general Amateur radio rules and regulations ARES may be utilized prior or with no declaration of an Emergency.   The ARRL has appointed a County Emergency Coordinator to manage the ARES program.  


  1. h.         ARES / RACES Program Operation


  1. 1.         RACES MEMBERSHIP.  Each jurisdiction will issue identification cards to their members.  Identification cards are the property of the state or local governmental jurisdiction.  Membership is at the pleasure and control of the Director of Emergency Management/Civil Defense.


a.         Minimum  requirements for membership in RACES:


  1. 1.         Must possess a current amateur radio license issued by the U.S.  Federal  communications Commission.


  1. 2.         Must be aware he/she may be the subject of a background check by an appropriate official/agency of the State or local government to determine that he/she is free of  any felony convictions.


  1. 3.         Must be a U.S. citizen.


b.         Causes for dismissal/revocation of membership:


  1. 1.         Fraud in securing appointment.


  1. 2.         Dishonesty.


  1. 3.         Drunk  or under the influence of an illegal/controlled substance while on duty.


  1. 4.         Conviction of a felony or conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.


  1. 5.         Misuse of government property, including an identification card.


  1. 6.         Discourteous treatment of supervisors, employees, the public or other volunteers.  


  1. 7.         Willful disobedience of a supervisor.


  1. 8.         Unlawful discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, physical handicap, sex or age, against the public, employees or  volunteers while acting in the capacity of a RACES member.


  1. 9.         Consistent failure to perform as required.


c.         Membership Appointment Responsibility/Authority.



1.         The Director of Emergency Management /Civil Defense for each jurisdiction is responsible for:


  1. a.         Obtaining approval of this plan by appropriate officials of the jurisdiction.


  1. b.         Certifying all RACES members in their jurisdiction.


  1. c.         Appointing a RACES officer for the jurisdiction.


2.         The RACES Officer is responsible for:


a.         Developing and maintaining local Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to implement this  plan.


  1. b.         Assigning other RACES members to positions of responsibility as deemed necessary  such as HF, VHF and DATA NET managers, etc.


  1. c.         Maintaining supervisory control over other RACES members in his/her jurisdiction.


  1. d.         Providing advice and assistance to the Director regarding the RACES program and Amateur Radio communications capabilities.


  1. 3.         Identification.  The Director of Emergency Management for the Lincoln County Operational Area will issue identification cards to RACES members.  These cards are the property of the Lincoln County.  Membership is at the pleasure and control of the Director of Emergency Management.




  1. a.         ARES membership Is open to any licensed Amateur and is managed by the American Radio Relay League.  ARES members are not subject to a background check such as the RACES members are.  


  1. b.         ARES EC, the ARRL has appointed a County Emergency Coordinator, the person will coordinate with the County Emergency Management Official, County RACES Officer and will provide Amateurs to support the communications needs during an emergency or public service event.  The ARES EC will provide the County Emergency Management Official a call up list to activate the ARES when needed.


  1. c.         ARES members will be issued an ID card from the ARRL, ARES program.  This will be signed by the ARES County EC.


  1. 3.         Operations.  This plan becomes official when signed by the personnel listed on the Approvals page at the beginning of this plan.  Under this plan, the Director of Civil Emergency Management/Civil Defense at the State, county or city level is empowered to request the use of available volunteer communications facilities and personnel of their RACES/ARES organizations.  Acceptance of or participation in this plan shall not be deemed as relinquishment of license control, and shall not be deemed to prohibit an Amateur Radio Service licensee from exercising independent discretion and responsibility in any given situation under the terms of his/her license


  1. 4.         Authority.  Part 97, Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations.


  1. 5.         Implementation procedures.


a.         ARES Activation,

  1. 1.         ARES Activation may be at any time the Director of Emergency Management deems that a emergency or non emergency event will need communications support.  No formal declaration of an emergency or disaster is required.  


  1. 2.         ARES may be activated by contacting the ARES EC or his her designated representative.  The EC will contact the ARES members and assign locations of the ARES members.  The EC shall maintain staffing as needed and will rotate staff as needed to insure that no one works too long without proper rest.  The ARES Standard Operating Procedures will be followed.  


  1. 3.         ARES may be activated by the EC upon information that an event exists or may exist that may require ARES support.  


  1. 4.         Upon ARES activation the EC shall contact the ARES members and alert them to the event, he or she will also announce the activation on the 146.920 Ruidoso Repeater, and may also use any other radio networks as necessary to complete the activation.  


  1. 5.         ARES members shall contact the EC for assignment to locations needing support communications.  


  1. b.         RACES Activation:  For government officials:  RACES may be activated by the President of the United States, the  Governor of New Mexico and/or any person authorized to do so by one of  these.  Activation may occur in the event of an emergency involving any of the following:


  1. 1.         Safety of life.

  2. 2.         Preservation of property.

  3. 3.         Alleviation of human suffering and need.

  4. 4.         Acts of sabotage.

  5. 5.         Testing and drills.


c.         Upon notification or determination of an emergency condition or situation requiring RACES activation, the appropriate jurisdiction Director of Emergency Management/Civil Defense will notify the RACES officer for that jurisdiction.


  1. d.         The Director of Emergency Management for the jurisdiction will use the following format when contacting the RACES Officer:

This is (name), Director of the (State/County/City) Department of Civil Emergency Management.  I request that the RACES organization be activated/deactivated for (State/County/City)  because of (describe the emergency situation).

  1. e.         In order to speed personnel activation during emergency conditions or provide other announcements, an authorized official may contact the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) station for their operational area and request that a public service announcement be made to assist quick activation of the RACES  organization.



EMERGENCY VOICE NET LOCAL                                


       EMERGENCY VOICE NET (REPEATER)                146.32/92         MHz          REPEATER

       ALTERNATE VOICE NET                                                146.14/74        MHz         REPEATER

       ALTERNATE VOICE NET                                                146.01/61        MHz                REPEATER

       EMERGENCY VOICE NET                                                146.580                MHz         SIMPLEX

       ARES VOICE NET                                                                146.550                MHz         SIMPLEX

       EMERGENCY UHF VOICE NET                                        446.500                MHz         SIMPLEX

           EMERGENCY PACKET RADIO (VHF)                        145.01                MHz         Data

                                                                                               144.390                 MHz         APRS


STATE-WIDE HF VOICE NET (DAY)                                7245                kHz LSB

STATE-WIDE HF VOICE NET (NIGHT)                                3939                kHz LSB


Any other FCC / RACES authorized radio frequency may be utilized if required.


RACES members who miss an initial activation should check in on one of the above EOC voice nets.  In the event that assistance is offered by RACES members not living within the immediate area, these amateurs should contact the EOC on one of the previously listed EOC frequencies for assignment and dispatch if needed.


  1. 6.         Concept of Operations


  1. a.         HF Voice Nets:


  1. 1.         High Frequency Radio Nets should be primarily used for communication between EOCs, i.e. from the Local EOC to the State EOC or to other EOCs.  


  1. 2.         These nets  should be used to request assistance, resources and for coordination of effort with other  jurisdictions.  


  1. 3.         Generally, there will be a need for only one RACES HF station in operation from any EOC.  Alternate RACES HF stations, connected by VHF/UHF to the EOC, may be utilized away from the EOC to increase the number of HF circuits available into/out of a jurisdiction.  


  1. 4.         HF Radio Operators should monitor the frequencies of 3939 kHz and/or 7245 kHz as the primary calling frequencies as much as possible and certainly during periods of inclement weather or whenever alerted by the news media or other means of determining there may be an emergency.



  1. b.         VHF/UHF Voice Nets:



  1. 1.         Very High Frequency and/or Ultra High Frequency voice nets should be used primarily for local area communication support.  

  2. 2.         Several nets may be set up to support various requirements.  

  3. 3.         Simplex operation should be planned and exercised as the primary mode of communication, rather than relying upon repeaters which may become inoperative in the emergency.  

  4. 4.         Repeaters may be used as backup and as a means of communicating with neighboring jurisdictions.  

  5. 5.         Likewise, simplex frequencies may be used to relay information between EOCs if sufficient stations, located strategically, are available.  

  6. 6.         Simplex frequencies may also be assigned to act as hot lines between high-level government officials to replace inoperative primary communications links such as telephones or government radios.

  7. 7.         The 146.32/92 repeater should be  monitored by RACES/ARES  stations in the Lincoln County operational area during periods of inclement weather or other situations which may become serious.  If the repeater becomes inoperable,  the repeater transmit frequency 146.92 MHz, should be used in the simplex mode.


  1. c.         DATA Nets:


  1. 1.         These may utilize HF, VHF and UHF frequencies.  

  2. 2.         Use the same general guidelines as for Voice nets above.  

  3. 3.         Packet Radio frequencies for the Lincoln County Operational Area are listed above


  1. d.         At the cessation of the emergency, as declared by responsible officials, the Director of Emergency  management will contact the RACES officer who will initiate a termination message to all RACES participants followed by a roll-call of all stations for their acknowledgements.  The EOC nets will not be closed down until all participating RACES members and teams have acknowledged the termination message or otherwise been accounted for.



  1. 6.         Training.  Standard Operating Procedures will be developed and utilized for training throughout the   State of New Mexico to insure efficient, rapid communications techniques are used by all RACES operators.


  1. 7.         Tests.  Tests of  RACES/ARES operations will include:


a.         HF NET.  All RACES/ARES members with HF capability should check into the State-wide ARES/RACES net which meets the first and third Saturday of each month at 1830 local time (winter), 1930 local time (summer) on 3939 kHz LSB.


  1. b.         VHF NET.  Will be established by ARES County EC and County RACES Officer.  


  1. c.         State-wide or other emergency exercises as required.  The time/date will be announced.  Normally these tests will be conducted in conjunction with a State/National Emergency/Civil Defense exercise sponsored by the State or Federal Emergency Management Agency.






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