Santa Clara County, California

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 more information.)
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 OES-18.
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 list.
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 Officer.
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 Handbook.
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 (OASIS)
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.
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 transmissions).

Approved for release in this format:

Anne C. Barrett, KC6PFS
ARES District Emergency Coordinator
RACES Chief Radio Officer
Santa Clara County, California

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