ARES/RACES

Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES)

A program of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). ARES consists of amateur radio operators who volunteer to provide emergency communications when needed. ARES groups are structured at the county level and often closely aligned with emergency management functions.

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES)

RACES is a volunteer organization of licensed amateur radio operators registered with the local (county) emergency management organization to provide auxiliary emergency communications on behalf of local, state or federal government.

Although the FCC is responsible for the creation and regulation of RACES operations, management is the responsibility of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

Each local RACES group is administered by a local government agency responsible for disaster services. RACES may be activated by the director of an emergency management office, or authorized representative, for a particular area. The activation is in accordance with an approved civil defense communications plan.

Illinois, through IEMA, in early 2010 formalized a State of Illinois RACES plan. As part of that plan, counties are encouraged to develop local RACES programs in accordance with the state plan.