Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE MISSION OF FRESNO EMCOMM?

Fresno Emcomm consists of licensed amateur radio operators who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public interest.

To collaborate with community based organizations to develop emergency operations plans within the Central Valley

To educate the general public on disaster preparedness emergency communications with via workshops and through community outreach programs/events.

WHAT SERVICES DOES FRESNO EMCOMM PROVIDE?

Education:

    • Preparedness training
    • Emergency communications
    • Emergency operations
    • workshops on topics relating to: simulated disaster training, field exercises, communications go kit

Public Service Events:

    • Marathons
    • Bike Rides
    • Parades
    • Festivals
    • Community events to educate the public on disaster preparedness

Localized Disaster:

    • Flooding, tornado, or any substantial weather event, where it might not disrupt major areas of communications, but there is still a need for communications to be set up
    • Search, rescue, and traffic needs during the local disaster.

Major Disaster:

    • Wide-spread weather events, such as hurricane, tornados, snow storms, earthquakes.

IS THE FRESNO EMCOMM A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION? 

We are in the process of organizing our 501(c)3 public benefit charity. Any monetary or amateur radio related donations can be directed to Fresno Salvation Army at this time.

WHY WAS FRESNO EMCOMM CREATED?

Fresno Emcomm was created to be single point contact to provide amateur radio emergency communication support for Fresno community based organizations and Fresno County municipalities during an event or incident.

Fresno Emcomm is a conglomerate of Fresno Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®), Fresno County Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES), Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN), and SKYWARN®

Other key areas of support include but not limited to:

  • Fresno Emcomm Coordinates with local amateur radio clubs for the purpose of providing community support in the form of auxiliary communications for nonprofit community events.
  • Emergency public safety communications in support of served agencies operating within Fresno County and surrounding counties (Kings, Madera, Mariposa, & Tulare) that have an established Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with American Radio Relay League (ARRL).
  • Maintain collaborative partnership with Fresno County Office of Emergency Management through Fresno County Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Volunteers by means of membership of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES).
  • Reliable primary and secondary communications links for governmental agencies and/or non-profit organizations when needed.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RACES AND ARES?

Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES)

ARES® consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.

Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization is eligible to apply for membership in ARES.  Because ARES is an Amateur Radio program, only licensed radio amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.

ARES manual

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)

Founded in 1952, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is a public service provided by a reserve (volunteer) communications group within government agencies in times of extraordinary need. During periods of RACES activation, certified unpaid personnel are called upon to perform many tasks for the government agencies they serve. Although the exact nature of each activation will be different, the common thread is communications.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides planning guidance and technical assistance for establishing a RACES organization at the state and local government level.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for the regulation of RACES operations. RACES is administrated by a local, county, or state civil defense agency responsible for disaster services. This civil defense agency is typically an emergency services or emergency management organization, sometimes within another agency such as police or fire. RACES is a function of the agency’s Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS), sometimes known as DCS (Disaster Communications Service), ECS (Emergency Communications Service), ARPSC (Amateur Radio Public Service Corps), etc. Many ACS units identify themselves solely as RACES organizations, even though their communications functions and activities typically go beyond the restrictions of RACES operations. Other ACS units combine government RACES and non-government ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) activities and identify themselves as ARES/RACES organizations. Yet other ACS units who use amateur radio for emergency government communications identify themselves solely as ARES organizations, whether or not they activate under FCC RACES Rules.

Can any licensed amateur volunteer for RACES? How about ARES?

Yes on both counts. You can volunteer for RACES by enrolling with Fresno County Office of Emergency Services. To volunteer for ARES, register with local ARRL Emergency Coordinator.

IS FRESNO EMCOMM AFFILIATED WITH ANY LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS?

No. Fresno Emcomm is an independent, soon to be non-profit organization.  We are not affiliated or “under the umbrella” of any local amateur radio club.  We are recognized by the national American Radio Relay League and Salvation Army’s SATERN team.

HOW DOES FRESNO EMCOMM PROVIDE SERVICES DURING A DISASTER?

The Fresno Emcomm never self-deploys.  We notify those that are active in Fresno Emcomm ONLY upon request by the city/county Office of Emergency Services, emergency response agencies (i.e. fire departments, law enforcement), or Red Cross Central Valley.

HOW CAN I BECOME A FRESNO EMCOMM VOLUNTEER?

Visit the FRESNO EMCOMM website (FCEMCOMM.org) and click on the “Volunteer Info” pages.  This page has the Volunteer Positions, application, liability and image waiver forms, and training requirements.