Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) website for St. Croix County, Wisconsin.Welcome to the
What are these two amateur radio organizations? They are two separate but very similar organizations, combined in administration and direction within the State of Wisconsin.
The primary focuses of ARES/RACES are to develop communications “networks” to serve the agencies that are in need. The local organization would be called upon for sustained communication outages that are taxing the capabilities of the agency needing assistance. Examples may include 911 outages, supplemental communications to towers that have fallen in wind events, pandemic flu vaccinations sites, special events such as parades and other large gatherings, or as personnel that can be trained to operate on County equipment as Auxiliary Communications Services.
St. Croix County has provided equipment in both the primary emergency operations center and the mobile communications van for RACES. Capabilities with the County’s equipment include capabilities in the local county as well as intra and inter-state “HF” communications that would allow for contact to be made with Madison or Washington DC. In addition to the county provided equipment, the member volunteers would provide their own equipment either from their homes, their vehicles or portable to setup at the designated location in the time of need.
RACES stands for "Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service," a protocol created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC Part 97, Section 407). Many government agencies across the country train their Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) volunteers using the RACES protocol. The volunteers serve their respective jurisdictions pursuant to guidelines and mandates established by local emergency management officials. Protocols embraced by RACES volunteers across the nation include the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which provides a consistent nationwide template to enable federal, state and local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together to protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents.
In many jurisdictions, ARES and RACES are separate organizations. In Wisconsin, they are a combined organization with the same leadership at the State level. The primary difference between the organizations is that RACES is a civil defense organization under FEMA and the local county, and ARES is a private organization supporting non-governmental programs such as the Red Cross, Hospitals, National Weather Service’s Skywarn program, Salvation Army and other non-profit entities. Memos Of Understanding are established with Hudson Hospital, Westfield’s New Richmond Hospital, River Falls Hospital and the St. Croix Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross under the ARES organization.