What are ARES and RACES?
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) both have very similar goals: to protect life and property during an emergency. Membership in the ARRL or any other organization is not required for either, just a valid Amateur Radio license (Technician or higher for RACES).
In Brevard County FL, the ARES and RACES are organized as essentially one group of people. There are technical and legal differences between the two services, outlined below, but, by and large, it is the same group of Amateurs. Following is a brief description of ARES and RACES.
Participation in ARES and RACES is voluntary and you may quit at any time. You must be pre-enrolled in RACES in order to participate in RACES activities. While it makes sense to join ARES before you are needed, there is nothing to prevent you from offering your services at any time to aid in an ARES emergency response. Joint membership in both ARES and RACES is encouraged.
ARES - The Amateur Radio Emergency Service
The American Radio Relay League administers ARES (although you do not have to be a League member to participate). Any member can activate the ARES group. ARES provides emergency radio communications to a number of client groups, including local government, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and others.
RACES - The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can provide matching funds to support a local or state government's use of RACES. However, RACES is a local or state government service -- there is no Federal RACES. Only the RACES Radio Officer of a local government civil preparedness agency can activate RACES in times of emergency. In our case, the local government agency is the Westchester County Office of Disaster and Emergency Services (ODES).
During times of war (when the President invokes War Emergency Powers), normal Amateur Radio Service operation is silenced and RACES stations are limited to a pre-defined set of operating frequencies that are within the normal Amateur bands. RACES may also be used for non-wartime emergencies which can include natural or technological disasters such as fires, floods, earthquakes, chemical spills, and nuclear power plant accidents.
During all times that Amateur stations are operating under RACES rules, they may only communicate with other RACES stations, and only for the purpose of conveying official civil-preparedness emergency communications.
If you are a licensed Amateur Radio operator, live or work in Brevard County, and are interested in becoming an ARES/RACES volunteer, please contact: Ricky Deluco, K4JTT  ARES Emergency Coordinator,  North Brevard County Florida. Click HERE to send message
How Does My Organization or Agency Request ARES/RACES Services?
If your organization's emergency preparedness planning includes the need for emergency communications, please contact either the ARES EC/RACES Radio Officer above. Or, public service communications for events such as walkathons and parades in which the safety of members of the general public participating in or viewing the event could be aided, please click here and contact us.