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"After World War II, when it became evident that the international situation was destined
to be tense and the need for some civil-defense measures became apparent, successive
government agencies designated to head up such a program called on amateur
representatives to participate. In the discussions that followed, amateurs were interested
in getting two points across: First, that Amateur Radio had a potential for and capability
of playing a major role in this program; and second, that our participation should, this time
as never before, be in our own name, as an Amateur Radio Service, even if and after war
should break out. These principles were included into the planning by the formulation of
regulations creating a new branch of the amateur service, the Radio Amateur Civil
Emergency Service

"Recognition of the role of Amateur Radio as a public service means responsibility--this
time in our own name. The RACES regulations are printed in full in the ARRL publication
the FCC Rule Book, along with the rest of the amateur regulations, and are not reprinted
here. Every amateur should study closely and become familiar with these rules; civil
preparedness, now a major function, may become our only on-the-air function if we are
plunged into war. 

What is RACES?

"RACES, administered by local, county and state emergency management agencies, and
supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the United States
government, is a part of the Amateur Radio Service that provides radio communications
for civil-preparedness purposes only, during periods of local, regional or national civil
emergencies. These emergencies are not limited to war-related activities, but can include
natural disasters such as fires, floods and earthquakes. 

"As defined in the rules, RACES is a radio communication service, conducted by volunteer
licensed amateurs, designed to provide emergency communications to local or state
civil-preparedness agencies. It is important to note that RACES operation is authorized by 
emergency management officials only, and this operation is strictly limited to official civil-
preparedness activity in the event of an emergency-communications situation. "

(Source text from the ARRL web site. Click RACES to see the complete text.)


CERT - "Community Emergency Response Team"

"The Community Emergency Response Team concept was developed
and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in
1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the
area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed
the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs. As a result,
the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose
of training citizens and private and government employees. 

"The training program that LAFD initiated makes good sense and
furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in
preparing for disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help
themselves, their family and their neighbors. The Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing
citizens. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National
Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing
them applicable to all hazards. 

"The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it. This individual
will be better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a
disaster. Additionally, if a community wants to supplement its response
capability after a disaster, civilians can be recruited and trained as
neighborhood, business, and government teams that, in essence, will be
auxiliary responders. These groups can provide immediate assistance to
victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had
the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional
responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a
disaster. Since 1993 when this training was made available nationally by
FEMA, communities in 28 States and Puerto Rico have conducted
CERT training." 
(text from the FEMA web site discussion on the CERT program.) 

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