Briefing Room: amateur radio operators provide emergency communications

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Hi Seal Beach!

This week Sgt. Brian Gray asked me to write about a volunteer organization that helps us at the PD.  Sergeant Gray is the Emergency Services Coordinator, and part of his duties are to supervisor various volunteer organizations that give their time to help make Seal Beach a safer place.

This week we are highlighting the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES).  RACES is a public service by dedicated amateur radio operators that provides communications personnel to government agencies in times of extraordinary need.  Basically, if we have a major event such as an earthquake, we can expect the cell phone towers to become overloaded, and cellular service to go down.  When all other forms of communication fail, RACES can come in and help our officers communicate with dispatch and each other.

Our RACES team is administered by both Seal Beach and Los Alamitos Police Departments.  There are about 30 FCC licensed amateur radio operators on the team.  RACES operations includes two main areas, observing and reporting on local conditions during an emergency, and emergency messaging handling on Amateur Radio Service frequencies.

Other tasks that RACES personnel are involved with may not necessarily involve amateur radio communications.  For example, RACES communicators may become involved in public safety or other government communications, Emergency Operations Center staffing, and emergency equipment repair.  They also are able to assist with special event exercises and public service events.

RACES members train during bi-monthly meetings.  If you are interested in the program, please contact Sergeant Gray at (562) 799-4100 ext. 1145 orbgray@sealbeachca.gov.

Keep your questions coming Seal Beach.  Email me at askacop@sealbeachca.govtoday.

Briefing Room: amateur radio operators provide emergency communications