Amateur Radio Support for Emergency Operations

Amateur Radio Support for Emergency Operations

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) Program

The State of Texas is susceptible to the effects of both natural and man-made disasters.  At times, state and/or local government resources are inadequate to effectively respond to such incidents.  This can be especially true in the area of communications when normal day-to-day systems are used in support of widespread emergencies or disasters.  Because of system outages or overcrowding by emergency traffic, normal communications systems may become unusable or inadequate to meet emergency or disaster response needs.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorized emergency management organizations to officially organize and employ radio amateurs to supplement state and local government communications systems during emergencies or disaster operations.  The FCC advocates the principle that a fundamental basis and purpose of the Amateur Radio Service is to provide voluntary noncommercial emergency communications to the public. Amateur radio operators are often needed to assist in communications during an emergency.

For State of Texas specific info on Amateur Radio support, contact the State Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) Officer (SRO), Kevin Lemon at (512) 424-2451 or (512) 424-2208

RACES Forms

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services Logo

Amateur Radio Support

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)

Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS)

National Organizations and Information

Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)

Severe Weather Related Radio

Amateur Radio Clubs (ARC)

North Texas

South Texas

West Texas

State Employee Amateur Radio Operator Services (SAROS) Registry

The State of Texas is susceptible to the effects of both natural and man-made disasters. The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), as directed by the Governor, is responsible for coordinating state resources in response to these threats and for advising local governments in their preparations toward meeting these situations.

During communications outages, amateur radio operators are often needed to assist in providing emergency communications. Previously, there was not a mechanism to allow state employees who are amateur radio operators to take paid leave in order to assist in disaster response operations, as there is for other needed state employees. In response, Senate Bill 11, Article 2, directed by the 81st Texas Legislature, authorized state employees who are Amateur Radio Operators, with some limitations, to take paid leave to support disaster relief operations within the State of Texas. The State Amateur Radio Operator Service (SAROS) was created to facilitate and manage the amateur radio operators that wish to participate during disaster relief operations.

The State of Texas, through TDEM, manages the SAROS program as an official resource of the State in support of emergency or disaster operations. The TDEM Chief tasked the State Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) Radio Officer (SRO), to be responsible for organizing and managing the SAROS program and for providing guidance to state agencies that have employees who wish to participate in the SAROS program.

For State of Texas specific info on Amateur Radio support, contact the State Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) Officer (SRO), Kevin Lemon at (512) 424-2451 or (512) 424-2208 or submit an email to soc2@dps.texas.gov.

State Employee Amateur Radio Operator Registry Texas Government Code, Sec. 661.919 states that “a state employee who holds an amateur radio station license issued by the Federal Communications Commission may be granted leave not to exceed 10 days each fiscal year to participate in specialized disaster relief services without a deduction in salary or loss of vacation time, sick leave, earned overtime credit, or state compensatory time if the leave is taken: (1) with the authorization of the employee’s supervisor; and (2) with the approval of the governor. The number of amateur radio operators who are eligible for leave under this section may not exceed 350 state employees at any one time during a state fiscal year. The Texas Division of Emergency Management shall coordinate the establishment and maintenance of the list of eligible employees.”

State Employee Amateur Radio Operator Service (SAROS) Registration
Spell complete name

FAQ’s

1.Question: How will I be activated?

Answer: Registrants should become familiar with local agencies that would be helped by their service. TDEM will not activate or deploy persons on the registry. 1) Should the Governor authorize use of the registrant list, those registrants could participate in a specialized disaster
relief service for up to ten days leave if 2) that local agency requests their help and 3) the registrant’s supervisor authorizes them to participate.

2. Question: How will I know if the Governor authorizes activation of the Registry?

Answer: If the Governor authorizes the activation of the registry then a blanket email will be sent to the registrants.

3. Question: If I get to participate in a specialized disaster relief services how will I claim my time?

Answer: You will need a letter from your supervisor stating you were allowed to participate. You will also need a letter from the agency you assisted indicating when, and for how long, you assisted. You will need to provide these letters to your HR department.