Message Handling Protocol for ARES/RACES Communications

by Larry Carr, KE6AGJ

Accurate, complete recording of messages is one of the most important tasks that we have as emergency communicators. Therefore, we must make sure that the messages are correctly recorded.

The speed of message recording depends on the person writing the message down, so the rate of transfer of the message must be controlled by the person recording the message, NOT by the person sending the message.

The objective of the following procedure is to record pertinent information both in the message log and on the message form.

When a city radio operator has a message for Santa Clara County (SCC) EOC, he or she announces it by saying "Santa Clara County EOC, this is <City> EOC with a message." Then:

  1. Write the city name and the priority of the message in the message log.

  2. Assign the message the next SCC RACES message number in the sequence, following the previous message number in the log.

  3. Record the time that the message notice was received.

    NOTE: If more than one city at a time has a message for the SCC EOC, record each city's tactical call sign and message urgency on the message log, acknowledging each city as you record the call sign. You will be taking the messages in this order: life-threatening first, urgent second, and then routine.

  4. Now duplicate the RACES message number, time of receipt, city, and urgency on the message form.

  5. Say "<City>, this is Santa Clara County EOC; state the subject and city message number of your message."

  6. Record the subject and city message number on the message form AND on the message log.

    NOTE: The city should have an internal message number for the message; be sure to ask for it.

  7. Say "<City>, this is Santa Clara County EOC. Please state the ICS position sending the message, and the ICS position to receive the message."

  8. Record this information on the message form.

    NOTE: Remember, a person's name is not appropriate to record as a recipient. Messages must be addressed to ICS positions. Individual names are to be included only in the text of the message.

  9. Say "<City>, start your message text. Please state the first phrase of your message, and wait for my instructions before continuing."

  10. Write the phrase on the message form as quickly as you can do so legibly.

  11. As soon as you have done so, say "<City>, this is Santa Clara County EOC; next phrase please," repeating until the message is complete.

    If you have any question regarding a phrase, repeat the phrase to the city, saying "<City>, this is Santa Clara County EOC, I copy your phrase as "------"; if this is correct, please send your next phrase."

  12. Once the message has been completely recorded, pass the message form to the shift supervisor. If there is no supervisor available, place the back copy of the message in the RACES message file, and the front copy of the message in the outgoing RACES message bin on the wall of the RACES room.

  13. Start the process again for the next message.

Prepared by L.W. Carr, DEC/CRO

Michael Wright, K6MFW
SVECS Webpage Editor
(650) 604-6262, k6mfw @

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