Measure Makes Amateur Radio Part of Emergency Communications Community
NEWINGTON, CT, Oct 4, 2006 -- A section of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 2007 Appropriations Act,
<http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.05441:>HR 5441, formally includes Amateur Radio operators as a part of the emergency communications community. Congress approved the measure before adjourning for its pre-election break. President George W. Bush <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061004-2.html>signed
the bill into law today.
Amateur Radio is included within the legislation's Subtitle D, Section 671, known as the "21st Century Emergency Communications Act." Radio amateurs are among the entities with which a Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group (RECC Working Group) must coordinate its activities. Included within the DHS's Office of Emergency Communications -- which the measure also creates -- RECC Working Groups attached to each regional DHS office will
advise federal and state homeland security officials.
House Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairman Rep Harold Rogers (R-KY) sponsored HR 5441. The final version of the legislation incorporates language from both House and Senate bills and was hammered out in a conference committee.
An earlier version of the 21st Century Emergency Communications Act, HR 5852, sponsored by Rep David G. Reichert (R-WA), included Amateur Radio operators among the members of the RECC Working Groups.
In addition to Amateur Radio operators, RECC Working Groups also will coordinate with communications equipment manufacturers and vendors -- including broadband data service providers, local exchange carriers, local broadcast media, wireless carriers, satellite communications services, cable operators, hospitals, public utility services, emergency evacuation transit services, ambulance services, and representatives from other private sector entities and
According to the bill, the RECC Working Groups will assess the survivability, sustainability and interoperability of local emergency communication systems to meet the goals of the National Emergency Communications Report. That report would recommend how the US could "accelerate the deployment of interoperable emergency communications nationwide."
RECC Working Groups also will be tasked with ensuring a process to coordinate the establishment of "effective multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency emergency communications networks" that could be brought into play following acts of terrorism, natural disasters and other emergencies.
At the state and local level, RECC Working Groups will include state officials; local government officials; law enforcement; local fire departments; 911 centers; state emergency managers, homeland security directors or representatives of state administrative agencies; local
emergency managers or homeland security directors, and other
emergency response providers.
At the federal level, RECC Working Group members will include representatives of the DHS, the FCC and other federal departments and agencies responsible for coordinating interoperable emergency communication with or providing emergency support services to state, local and tribal governments.
In the wake of the bill's passage, the ARRL plans to follow up to determine how it can interact with the DHS and its Office of Emergency Communications.
(tnx ARRL Web)
SEC. 1805. REGIONAL EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
We are there but what it means in practice remains to be seen. See Section 1805, Part (c) 11 below
SEC. 1805. REGIONAL EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATION.
`(a) In General- There is established in each Regional Office a Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group (in this section referred to as an `RECC Working Group'). Each RECC Working Group shall report to the relevant Regional Administrator and coordinate its activities with the relevant Regional Advisory Council.
`(b) Membership- Each RECC Working Group shall consist of the following:
`(1) NON-FEDERAL- Organizations representing the interests of the following:
`(A) State officials.
`(B) Local government officials, including sheriffs.
`(C) State police departments.
`(D) Local police departments.
`(E) Local fire departments.
`(F) Public safety answering points (9-1-1 services).
`(G) State emergency managers, homeland security directors, or representatives of State Administrative Agencies.
`(H) Local emergency managers or homeland security directors.
`(I) Other emergency response providers as appropriate.
`(2) FEDERAL- Representatives from the Department, the Federal Communications Commission, and other Federal departments and agencies with responsibility for coordinating interoperable emergency communications with or providing emergency support services to State, local, and tribal governments.
`(c) Coordination- Each RECC Working Group shall coordinate its activities with the following:
`(1) Communications equipment manufacturers and vendors (including broadband data service providers).
`(2) Local exchange carriers.
`(3) Local broadcast media.
`(4) Wireless carriers.
`(5) Satellite communications services.
`(6) Cable operators.
`(8) Public utility services.
`(9) Emergency evacuation transit services.
`(10) Ambulance services.
`(11) HAM and amateur radio operators.
`(12) Representatives from other private sector entities and nongovernmental organizations as the Regional Administrator determines appropriate.
`(d) Duties- The duties of each RECC Working Group shall include--
`(1) assessing the survivability, sustainability, and interoperability of local emergency communications systems to meet the goals of the National Emergency Communications Plan;
`(2) reporting annually to the relevant Regional Administrator, the Director for Emergency Communications, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information of the Department of Commerce on the status of its region in building robust and sustainable interoperable voice and data emergency communications networks and, not later than 60 days after the completion of the initial National Emergency Communications Plan under section 1802, on the progress of the region in meeting the goals of such plan;
`(3) ensuring a process for the coordination of effective multijurisdictional, multi-agency emergency communications networks for use during natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters through the expanded use of emergency management and public safety communications mutual aid agreements; and
`(4) coordinating the establishment of Federal, State, local, and tribal support services and networks designed to address the immediate and critical human needs in responding to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.
NEWINGTON, CT, Oct 25, 2006 -- ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, is urging Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and other ham radio volunteers to tread cautiously when submitting information for background checks the American Red Cross (ARC) now requires. The ARC, with which the ARRL has a Statement of Understanding (SoU), this summer notified local chapters that volunteers and staff members must submit to criminal background checks by October 31. Harrison says the requirement extends to ARES volunteers who support Red Cross disaster relief efforts. In a statement October 24, Harrison said the League recommends that anyone submitting personal information for a background check very carefully read what they are giving the ARC permission to collect.
READ THE FULL STORY AT:
We conducted an FRS/GMRS ranging test in Newport 30 Sept 2006.
The current version of the three page summary is posted to http://www.knowingnewport.com/lib/frs-results.pdf
Sean Brennan KE1AB, SEC for RI has appointed me (W1EOF) to be DEC-ARESMAT.