Definition of Common Terms
Release Date 01/26/96
Updated and Released for the Web 11/01/96
To provide definitions of some terms used in the ARES/RACES
Policies and Procedures Handbook.
Look up terms alphabetically below, or click an
acronym here to bring the term and its definition to the top of your screen:
- Allied agencies
- Any agency, special district or organization, other than public
safety agencies, designated by competent authority. Examples include disaster relief
agencies such as the American Red Cross and CADRE, essential
service providers such as transportation districts or utilities, and hospitals.
- The Amateur Radio Emergency Service, part of the Amateur Radio Relay League's field organization, which
provides organizational structure and training materials. Public service events (bike
races, parades, and so on) are ARES events. (See the FAQ directory
for more information.)
- ARES/RACES Personnel
- Those amateur radio operators (and their immediate family members)
who are known to the city EC/RO and who, in his/her opinion, may reasonably be counted
upon to provide auxiliary communications support during RACES activations.
- California Emergency Services Radio System (CESRS)
- The state government radio system that links the Operational Area EOCs with State OES.
- Command 1
- The inter-EOC voice radio net on 2-meters. This net links city EOCs with the Operational Area EOC and allied agencies
for tactical voice traffic.
- Command 2
- The ARES/RACES leadership net on 440 MHz. This net links EC/ROs
and serves as a travel net for the leadership. (See Emergency Coordinator
(EC) and Radio Officer (RO).)
- Community Agency Disaster Relief Effort (CADRE)
- A coordinating body for agencies such as the Salvation Army and
Second Harvest Food Bank to which ARES/RACES provides auxiliary communications.
- Competent authority
- A disaster council or its public safety agency command personnel.
- Control 10
- The county local government radio system, which is used by County OES and other agencies.
- County ARES/RACES staff
- The County-level ARES/RACES leadership consisting of the District
Emergency Coordinator/Chief Radio Officer (DEC/CRO); Assistant District Emergency
Coordinators/Deputy Chief Radio Officers (ADECs/DCROs) for Operations, Technology,
Training, Planning, and Staffing; and other appointed staff. The overall leadership
develops County-wide policies and procedures, coordinates training, develops and conducts
exercises, represents ARES/RACES to the County Emergency Managers'
Association, and coordinates mutual aid.
- County Communications ("County Comm")
- The County's central communications dispatch facility.
- The District Emergency Coordinator and Chief Radio Officer for the
Santa Clara County Operational Area, including Stanford and NASA/Ames.
- Disaster Council
- Usually the elected governing body of a jurisdiction (for example,
the Board of Supervisors or City Council).
- Disaster Service Worker (DSW)
- A volunteer who is registered with a disaster council and who, if
activated and employed during an emergency, is covered by workers compensation insurance
by the employing government agency. Some cities and the County register DSWs. All
responders during RACES activations must be DSWs who are
registered in the Communications Class. (See the FAQ list for
- Duty Officer
- The member of the County ARES/RACES Staff who is on duty during RACES activations. Duty Officers serve 24-hour shifts and carry
Control-10 pagers and radios to allow them to be away from the Operational Area EOC during
their shifts. Duty Officers and Staff members use the tactical call signs OES-10 through
- The Emergency Coordinator and Radio Officer for a jurisdiction
within the Santa Clara County Operational Area, including Stanford and NASA/Ames.
- Emergency Bulletin Board System (EBBS)
- A stand-alone packet BBS that provides inter-EOC data
communications. See also: Packet data.
- Emergency Communications Center (ECC)
- A facility whose primary function is emergency communications
management. In Santa Clara County, the ARES/RACES ECC is located at the Santa Clara Valley
Chapter of the American Red Cross.
- Emergency Coordinator (EC)
- An ARES leadership title. There is a Section EC for the
five-county Section, District ECs in each County, Assistant DECs to aid the DECs, ECs in
each city, and Assistant ECs to aid the ECs. In Santa Clara County, ECs have parallel
appointments as the RACES function and uses the combined name
ARES/RACES. See also: Radio Officer and the FAQ
- Emergency Digital Information System (EDIS)
- The state government broadcast packet system by which
jurisdictions and agencies can send press releases and advisories to the media.
- Emergency Manager's Association (EMA)
- A committee whose membership consists of the managers of all city
Offices of Emergency Services in the County, the manager of the County Office of Emergency
Services, and the Emergency Managers of allied organizations.
ARES/RACES is represented to the EMA by the District Emergency Coordinator/Chief Radio
- Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
- A facility operated by each city, the county, the state and some
disaster response agencies to house its emergency management coordination function. The
Operational Area EOC, sometimes called the County EOC, is located at the Sheriff's Office
in San Jose.
- Emergency Services Coordinator
- The government employee in each jurisdiction who manages the
ARES/RACES program including Stanford but not NASA/Ames.
- EOC radio system
- The local government radio system, which links city EOCs with the Operational Area EOC. ARES/RACES responders may be asked to operate
this and other government radio systems.
- Expanded Response Procedure
- A procedure for use within Santa Clara County by which city EC/ROs
can request RACES mutual aid without further government-to-government
communication. The procedure includes a worksheet by which the EC/RO can estimate his/her
auxiliary communication needs and compare them to available resources. The reverse of the
worksheet contains a request form to be signed by the Incident Commander (or his/her
designee) and procedures for contacting the County ARES/RACES staff
to obtain additional RACES resources.
- Incident Command System (ICS)
- A standardized organizational structure for managing emergency
events which can be scaled to meet incident requirements. There is a single Incident
Commander (IC) and up to four branches (Operations, Logistics, Plans and Finance).
ARES/RACES reports to the Logistics Branch. Incidents names take the form "Vasona
Command" or "Vasona IC."
- Initial Response Team (IRT)
- The County ARES/RACES Staff and certain other ARES/RACES members,
authorized by their home city Emergency Coordinator/Radio Officers, who will staff
designated county communications facilities (the Operational Area EOC, the ARES/RACES ECC
at Red Cross, County Communications and the Resource Net) immediately following any of a
number of events described in the County RACES Plan and the IRT
- Office of Emergency Services (OES)
- The name often given to a jurisdiction's emergency preparedness
agency. Cities, the County, and allied agencies all have OESs.
County OES sponsors ARES/RACES at the County level.
- Operational Area
- A State OES definition of the entire county, including the
unincorporated county land together with all the cities.
- Operational Area Resource Data System (OARDS)
- The planned County-wide broadcast packet system by which
jurisdictions can list their resource needs during emergencies.
- Operational Area Satellite Information System
- The state government satellite communication system which links
Operational Area EOCs with State OES.
- Packet data
- The inter-EOC digital net, which operates on the Emergency
Bulletin Board System on 2-meters and 220 MHz. This net links city EOCs with the
Operational Area EOC and allied agencies for damage assessment and logistic traffic.
- Plain text
- The policy of using plain English for radio communications, with
no 10-codes or Q-codes (for example, using the word "Copy" instead of 10-4 or
QSL). Amateur radio transmissions are in plain text.
- The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, a unit of state and
local government, is an auxiliary communications function for emergency preparedness and
disaster response. RACES requires activation by competent authority and provides workers
compensation insurance to responders during activations. In Santa Clara County, ARES
provides the RACES function and uses the combined name ARES/RACES. (See the FAQ list for more information.)
- RACES operators
- Individuals licensed by the FCC in the Amateur Radio Service who
are registered as Disaster Service Workers (DSW) in the Communications
Class and who serve in RACES during an activation.
- RACES Plan
- The document which authorizes the RACES in a jurisdiction, usually
prepared in a State recommended format.
- Radio Officer (RO)
- A RACES leadership title. The County
ARES/RACES Staff consists of a Chief RO, an Assistant Chief RO, three Deputy Chief ROs for
Operations, Planning and Technical Services, and staff ROs for special assignments. Each
city has its own RO. In Santa Clara County, the Chief RO is the District EC, the Assistant
Chief RO and Deputy Chief ROs are Assistant DECs, and the city ROs are the city ECs. (See
also: Emergency Coordinator (EC) and the FAQ list
for more information.)
- Resource net
- The 2-meter net that is used for ARES/RACES activation and
resource management, including responder recruiting and dispatching.
- Resource Net Control Operator
- The responder to whom authority is delegated to recruit and assign
ARES/RACES personnel via the Resource Net.
- Santa Clara County ARES/RACES
- The collective term that includes the County ARES/ RACES Staff,
the fourteen city ARES/RACES groups, Stanford ARES/RACES and those County ARES/ RACES
members at NASA/Ames. (See the FAQ list for more information.)
- A responder assigned to a particular public safety officer or
organization VIP to provide them with auxiliary communications.
- Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)
- The SEMS law, effective January 1, 1993, incorporates the use of
the Incident Command System (ICS); the Fire Fighting Resources of
California Organized for Potential Emergencies (FIRESCOPE) agreement; existing
multi-agency and interagency programs; the State's master Mutual Aid agreement and mutual
aid program; the Operational Area concept; and the Operational
Area Satellite Information System (OASIS) into a single program.
There are several modules of information about SEMS, with later modules
building on the information provided in earlier modules. As of December 1, 1996, personnel
in all city, County, and State OESs, and in the allied agencies that
interact with such government entities (as does RACES), must have the
minimum basic understanding of SEMS conveyed in the SEMS Student
Reference Manual for Module I, included as part of this website for your convenience.
- Shift Supervisor
- The ARES/RACES responder who has responsibility for overall net
management. Shift Supervisors serve 6-hour shifts at the Operational Area EOC or the ECC.
The Shift Supervisor always uses the tactical call sign OES-19.
- Tactical callsign
- An identifier used by all radio operators at a specific location.
They may include jurisdiction names ("Santa Clara County"), agency names
("Palo Alto Red Cross"), location names ("Milepost 7"), ICS names
("Vasona Command"), individual names ("EMS Shadow"), or net names
("Resource"). All calls are made with tactical call signs (for example,
"Vasona Command, this is Santa Clara County"). Use operator call signs (W6XYZ)
only to meet FCC requirements (that is, every ten minutes or at the end of a series of
Approved for release in this format:
Anne C. Barrett, KC6PFS
ARES District Emergency Coordinator
RACES Chief Radio Officer
Santa Clara County, California