Mission: Providing Emergency Communications Support
Delaware County Amateur Radio Emergency Service is an organized unit of trained, FCC-licensed volunteer Amateur Radio operators dedicated to providing back-up, auxiliary emergency communication support to the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services (DES). Support is also provided to local, county and state agencies including PEMA and federal agencies including FEMA during disasters and other emergencies. The unit also provides communication support for public service events, widespread health emergencies and important exercises and drills.
About Delaware County ARES-RACES: When All Else Fails... Amateur Radio Works
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) personnel are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and are trained in emergency communications procedures. They drill frequently to maintain readiness. Members are also certified in emergency management protocols, such as the National Incident Management System and receive training through FEMA courses. In addition to providing reliable voice communication for local, county and state governments, ARES-RACES is capable of transmitting email for served agencies using Amateur Radio digital links such as the WinLink 2000 system and D-Star repeaters. The unit also maintains portable HF radio capability for communicating with the state capital in Harrisburg and the federal government in any national office. The ability to communicate from the field in remote locations with no outside power requirement is one of the unique features of ARES-RACES. It was this valuable capability during Hurricane Katrina that demonstrated the importance of Amateur Radio in emergency management. The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is activated for national service when requested by the federal government.
Delaware County ARES-RACES is an affiliate of the American Radio Relay League and comes under the jurisdiction of District 1 of the Eastern Pennsylvania Section. The unit maintains a close working relationship with the Delaware County Department of Emergency Services and has an office and communications station at the 911 Center in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania. The Delaware County unit also works closely with sister units in Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties and provides mutual aid when requested.
Delaware County ARES-RACES serves a critical role in a heavily populated industrialized area of suburban Philadelphia. Within its jurisdiction more than half a million people live and work. Most of Philadelphia International Airport lies within Delaware County as do major refineries at Marcus Hook, where ocean-going tankers offload crude oil. Major highways traverse the county including Interstate 95, Route 1 and Route 476. A major river, the mighty Delaware, conveys considerable tonnage through Delaware County to the Port of Philadelphia. The potential for both man-made and natural disasters is real and Delaware County ARES-RACES stands ready to assist with auxiliary emergency communications services should the need arise.