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The following is a list of frequently asked questions about Oahu RACES, followed by a brief answer to each.
What is RACES' primary mission?
To facilitate communication (not decision-making) for Department of Emergency Management (DEM) communication purposes.
Who sponsors RACES?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and DEM.
When is RACES activated?
When DEM is activated for emergencies such as hurricane, tsunami, earthquake, high surf, or a local disaster.
When there is a possibility that normal communications may be disrupted.
When DEM is deactivated, Oahu RACES is also deactivated. Futher emergency communications would be handled under ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service). Membership in both organizations is encouraged.
How is RACES activated?
The DEM Director instructs the DEM Communications Officer to activate RACES.
He contacts the RACES coordinator (phone, radio) who activates the phone tree to notify key personnel.
Or, the RACES Coordinator is advised by automated paging or phone call alert system.
Who are the Races officials?
Chuck Oh , Coordinator, Operations
Russell Houlton, WH7O, Deputy Coordinator, Shelters
Bart Aronoff, WH6AA, Deputy Coordinator, Hospitals
Ron Hashiro, AH6RH, Coordinator
Robin Liu, AH6CP, Assistant
What agencies/groups does Oahu RACES assist?
Oahu Emergency Operating Center (EOC) and District EOC's
Government agencies such as Police, Fire, Board of Water Supply, Oahu Transportation Services, hospitals, American Red Cross, shelters, etc.
Assistance must be prioritized as the volunteer pool is limited.
Assignments are made by the RACES coordinator as requested by DEM administration.
RACES members may be assigned to a location or to shadow an official.
What should you do when RACES is activated?
Turn on your radio and check into the net (146.88 MHz). Note: If this repeater is not operational, please switch to 146.520 MHz the national simplex frequency and attempt to check in.
Give your availability and any other requested information, then monitor.
Continue your own emergency preparations (family, personal, etc.).
If you have a preassignment, go there, or at least check with officials there.
What frequencies are used?
146.88 MHz - command/info net
146.98 MHz - DEM traffic
146.76 MHz - North Shore
147.06 MHz - State Civil Defense
Oahu RACES also uses various simplex frequencies around the island which are indicated in a plan. You may be assigned to one of these when you check in for availability.
RACES has agreements with several repeater owners who provide access to their repeaters during an activation.
These repeaters are for general use until needed for an emergency.
What about going to preassigned locations?
Some possibilities include:
work with District Coordinators and their teams in your district.
hospitals, shelters, hotels, or elsewhere.
What about message format?
The standard for formal messages is the ARRL radiogram.
Agencies may have their own message forms, so you (or an assistant) may have to recopy a message onto a form for internal use at your agency.
Message handling training and practice are scheduled at intervals throughout the year.
What equipment should you have?
See the checklist for the well-prepared operator.
You may be caught up in an emergency without being able to go home to get equipment. Be as prepared as possible at all times.
Why should you become a RACES member rather than just assist as an individual?
In a large emergency, DEM (and therefore, RACES) will take the lead in communications to get government and essential services functioning. Members are covered by Worker's Compensation when deployed by RACES.
By law, RACES stations can only communicate with other RACES stations during a presidental declared communicaitons emergency;
How do you become involved in RACES?
Contact Chuck Oh, RACES coordinator for Oahu, at 499-7467, for more information or go to the Department of Emergency Management Office, basement of the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building, 650 S. King St. in Honolulu to sign up. The office is open Monday thru Friday from 7:45 am to 4:30 pm except on holidays. Or for more information, send an e-mail to DEM or call 723-8960.
|Last Reviewed: Friday, April 29, 2011|