A Letter of Understanding

between the

Provincial Emergency Radio Communications Service

represented by the

British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program

and the

Amateur Radio Emergency Service

represented by the

Field Services Organization

of

Radio Amateurs of Canada Inc.

 

The Provincial Emergency Radio Communications Service (PERCS) provides emergency radio communication capability through the services of volunteers. PERCS operates in support of the British Columbia Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) and local authorities in BC. The PERCS concept was developed to create a unique sense of identity and source of information for amateur radio volunteers.

 

The national organization that is recognized by the Canadian government and internationally as the representative of all amateur radio operators in Canada is the not-for-profit Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) Incorporated.

 

The purpose of this Letter of Understanding (LOU) is to clarify the relationship, roles, responsibilities and terminology between the Field Services of Radio Amateurs of Canada Inc. and the Provincial Emergency Radio Communications Service. This document is not intended to create, does not create, and should not be interpreted as creating, any contractual or other enforceable legal relationship between the parties.

 

PERCS and the RAC/ARES agree to work jointly to develop, support and provide an emergency radio communications capability to the BC emergency response structure and in the service of the public. This may be achieved through a number of coordinating functions and is not limited to the following:

 

        sharing of resources;

        development of training materials and conduct of training activities;

        development, conduct and evaluation of emergency amateur radio communications exercises.

 

Beyond amateur radio, the PERCS structure includes other forms of radio communications undertaken by emergency management volunteers. The level of technical knowledge and skill inherent in licensed amateur radio operators will ensure their leadership role within PERCS and the RAC/ARES.

 

Background:

 

Amateur radio operators throughout Canada and elsewhere have historically volunteered their time, equipment and expertise in support of emergency management activities.

 

In times of an emergency or disaster amateur radio may be required to facilitate emergency management communications and to pass formal Health and Welfare traffic.

 

Amateur radio has been recognized by many agencies nationwide and/or worldwide for its ability to provide an alternate communications capability.

 

 

RAC/ARES and PEP/PERCS agree that:

 

1.         The Provincial Emergency Radio Advisory Committee, organized by PEP and responsible for the coordination of PERCS, will include a senior Field Services member of the RAC/ARES in the province and will endeavour to maintain and improve a province wide emergency radio communications capability;

2.         Emergency radio communications activities in BC will operate under the principles of the British Columbia Emergency Response Management System (BCERMS), a standardized model for emergency management adopted by all BC government agencies;

3.         The RAC/ARES will endeavour to ensure compliance with PEP policies relating to the conduct and support of volunteer emergency management training in BC;

4.         The RAC/ARES will encourage BC volunteers to support and assist PERCS in the fulfillment of its emergency radio communications responsibilities and all other volunteer activities by becoming registered volunteers of the ARES unit in their respective areas and renewing that registration annually or as otherwise required in order to keep it current;

5.         The RAC/ARES will notify PERCS of ARES appointments in BC and, where applicable, PERCS will assist to facilitate the integration of those appointees into BCs provincial emergency radio communications structure;

6.         Under the issuance of a task number and/or at the discretion of a PEP Regional Manager, registered volunteers of the RAC/ARES will be eligible for reimbursement by PEP for provincial rates for out-of-pocket and travel expenses incurred while conducting approved business on behalf of PERCS;

7.         Where different terms are used, a vocabulary list will be developed jointly by PERAC and the RAC/ARES to assist volunteers by providing definitions of corresponding terms and their applicability within the PERCS and/or the RAC/ARES organizations. Wherever applicable, terminology will be in accordance with BCERMS;

8.         Message handling practices, procedures and standards developed through BCERMS will conform to RAC/ARES standards for the transmission of radio message traffic;

9.         At the discretion of a PEP Regional Manager, PEP may provide training task numbers to BC-based RAC/ARES volunteers handling message traffic or providing other radio communications assistance to eligible emergency situations outside of provincial boundaries. RAC/ARES training manuals and message forms will be promoted by PERCS;

10.    PERCS commits to involving the RAC/ARES in the development of emergency management radio communications training material;

11.    The RAC/ARES will allow ARES course materials to be made available to all PEP supported amateur radio volunteer groups and training centres and other amateur radio related emergency providers including the Justice Institute of British Columbia;

12.    All BCERMS training and documentation developed to facilitate the transmission of emergency management information using commercial or amateur radio may be shared with RAC/ARES for use by other jurisdictions;

13.    PERCS will promote membership in RAC and support of the RAC/ARES;

14.    The RAC/ARES will promote and support PERCS;

15.    This LOU will remain in effect provided that either party may terminate the LOU by giving the other party three months notice in writing of its intention to so terminate.

 

Signed by:

 

Jim McAllister, A/Deputy Director, Provincial Emergency Program,

Province of British Columbia Dated: July 14, 2006

R. D. (Bob) Cooke, VE3BDB, Vice President for Field Services,

Radio Amateurs of Canada Inc. Dated: July 26, 2006