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RAC Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS)

Auxiliary Communications (AuxComm) covers a wide range of Amateur Radio techniques and systems that could potentially be used during an emergency or disaster situation.

The new RAC Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) will assume the original function of the RAC Amateur Radio Emergency Service (RAC ARES), but its focus will shift to recognize that disaster response management and telecommunication standards are now mandated by Canadian federal, provincial and territorial legislation and regulations and by international agreements.

While the focus of non-government organizations will continue to be disaster relief operations, the role of the new RAC Auxiliary Communications Service will be to provide certified communications operators to supplement communications for local emergency management groups and non-government organizations and provide backup radio operators when required. ASC teams are in essence an integrated unpaid member of the sponsoring agency.

Hank Koebler, former Chief of Operations for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (Currently, DHS/CISA COMU Instructor/ICTAP SME), described it in this way:

“First of all, I’ll state my premise for volunteers working on behalf of an ‘Agency Having Jurisdiction’. It is simply that anyone, regardless of affiliation, professional or volunteer, who works in the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) during an emergency, works for us.

Their parent organization has no operational control once they set foot in the Ops centre. The parent organization has the responsibility to train and provide communications personnel to the agency. That is where their job ends. They are a functional unit, and do not command operationally in any manner. This avoids any ambiguity in the chain of command.”

As described in the quote, Radio Amateurs of Canada will continue to liaise with national agencies and NGOs to provide sections with the requirements expected from these organizations when working together in the field.

We will provide a foundational guideline of best practices for training to meet the obligations of today’s disaster response management teams. This training program is in development with the education/training committee directed by the National Training Coordinator Peggy Foley, VE3PGY. I will be providing updates as they come available.

RAC’s role today will be to provide a trained Auxiliary Communicator, meeting a minimal standard across the country. These operators will be able to adapt to the obligations locally or if called to assist in other areas throughout their sections or the country.

Connecting communities across the country will be a focus of the Canadian Field Service, with an emphasis on dissemination of information through on-air bulletins, mutual aid training and online meetings to help facilitate new ventures.

This venture will take some time but notices of meetings and other developments will be posted on the RAC website and published in upcoming TCA magazines.

National Traffic System (NTS)

The NTS is the principal facility for medium- to long-range traffic. It is organized on the basis of daily operation, in consonance with the operating habits of the average Radio Amateur. In emergencies, NTS is geared to go into continuous operation in accordance with the needs and the extent of the particular emergency.

Please select the applicable Section Manager (province or territory) from the links provided below. 
Submit monthly Community Services Activity Report (ARES).

Please contact the webmaster to obtain access to post monthly reports (blog format) for your section.

Articles about Emergency Services

Here are some articles about how Amateurs responded to emergencies that have been published in The Canadian Amateur magazine.

 “Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the Fort McMurray Fire: An Inside Look” 

 “Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the Fort McMurray Fire: An Inside Look”  – An article by Al Parsons, VE6RFM Cover story of the July/August 2016 issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine Cover photo courtesy of Al Parsons, VE6RFM: “Fire threatens the Regional Emergency Operations Centre in Fort McMurray on May 4 at 12:30 pm prompting the initial evacuation to a temporary Emergency Operations Centre at Nexen/Long Lake.” Cover plus the complete article (pdf version; 620 kB)

Cover of September-October 2013 issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine
How Field Day became a Reality: The Story of the High River, Alberta Flood of 2013

Cover story of the September/October 2013 issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine. An article by Vince d’Eon, VE6LK – Foothills Amateur Radio Society/ARES, Okotoks, Alberta with contributions from Kerry Atkinson, VE6GG and Ian Burgess, VA6EMS. “What follows are three first-person reports of the happenings in High River Alberta from June 20 to 22 and the support that Radio Amateurs provided. Unprecedented flooding rapidly struck the area after 100 millimetres of rain and above average temperatures in a 36-hour period. High River is located just east from the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is about one hour south of Calgary.” Cover plus the complete article (pdf version; 1.7 MB)