Kalamazoo County ARES/RACES Group


Activate Calling Tree as needed.

Have a control operator put the repeater into net mode.

Gather necessary keys, ID, radio equipment, safety gear and clothing.

Start a net on the appropriate repeater or channel. You may wish to separate disaster functions by frequency. 

Deploy an AVCOM/MCP advance team (if necessary). Make sure you have vehicle keys, airport ID, hangar key, and trailer keys. 

Send an operator to the EOC to run the primary net. Access to EOC radio room requires a keycard.  Telephone numbers, contact information and resource directories are kept there. There may be a partial or full activation of the EOC in the briefing room. A second and third operator may be necessary. You should use the headphones if possible.

Send an operator to the American Red Cross Chapter House. Several members have after-hours access. If a major disaster is in progress, the Chapter House will be staffed by ARC personnel.

Send an operator to the EOC to act as accountability/safety officer.

Notify Lt. Paul Baker or dispatch center if deploying Avcom or MCC .

Make certain the EM sends a  "Flash Report"  to MSP asap.


If this is a terrorist incident: Be extremely concerned with safety. Natural disasters do not "try" to kill us.  Request  law-enforcement personnel to protect our operations. The Sheriff reserve or mounted division may be available to do this. Terrorists may have secondary devices ready to harm first responders.  A  chemical, biological or radiological incident may not cause immediate health issues. People may become contaminated and carry the contamination into other areas. 

If this is a Multiple Casualty Incident, Have RACES personnel report to the following locations as needed:


A. Hospital Disaster Control Center.

B. EMS dispatch centers I.E. Mall City, Life, South County, Etc.

C. Medical Control Dispatch Center (WM Aircare)

D. Fire Stations

E. Local Gov't Offices.

F. American Red Cross Chapter House. Activate the KARC club station.


 Print a detailed map of the area.

Establish contact at the scene with the incident commander. Locate the staging area.

Deploy the AVCOM/MCP team and send them to staging area or scene.

Send all available RACES personnel to the staging area.


Start a duty roster. (important)

Verify that a flash report has been sent to MSP EMD.

If this is a MAJOR disaster, assign a liaison station to the state disaster frequency 3932KHz LSB or 7232KHz alternate. Also QMN on 3563/7068 cw may be activated. The QMN packet network on 145.760 may have incoming H/W traffic.

Assign an accountability officer to track RACES participants.

If RACES operations are expected to continue for more than 4 hours, acquire operators for the next shift.

Assign a  RACES station to conduct a MUTUAL-AID net, on an available 2-meter frequency. Contact the DEC. If he is not available, notify the SEC. Contact adjacent county EC's for assistance if needed.

Establish a technical-troubleshooting team from available resources, to solve radio problems. Have them assist with installation of equipment as needed.

Establish specialized nets on available frequencies. i.e. It may be appropriate to move all scene operations to a simplex channel.

If specialized teams (US&R, FEMA, NTSB etc.) will be arriving, send an operator to assist them.

Deploy damage-assessment teams as requested by the Official in charge. Remind teams to be concerned with their safety. 

This list is not going to cover all contingencies. Try to come up with creative solutions to problems while keeping these thoughts in mind.

1. Many disasters are initially viewed as not being very serious or long-term. Every hour or so,  step back and try to get a "Big Picture" perspective. Try to determine whether the situation is going to put our responders at risk of injury. Consider experience, demeanor, and physical ability when assigning individuals to a task.

2. There are situations called "escalating emergencies" that may be hard to identify. A small incident will continue to grow over time, consuming all available resources. A good initial indicator is when EMS becomes overloaded. (Their term is Code 5 on the radio).

3. A large number of "Communications Problems" during a disaster are not the result of inadequate or malfunctioning radios, rather they are caused by people not responding to their radio. This problem may be caused by carelessness, improper training, or just being "too busy" to respond to radio calls.  This is where we can make a HUGE difference. Our service as "personnel locators" and "portable communicators" make amateur radio extremely valuable during a disaster. Better organization and planning seems to reduce the need for radio communications.  This is one reason that communications is almost always cited as a problem area during a disaster.

4. ARES/RACES is the one of the few agencies in our community that only specializes  in disaster operations.  GOOD LUCK! and HAVE A NICE DAY!