"We're very fortunate to have a dedicated group of volunteer amateur
radio operators who are willing to donate their time and expertise
to help make Illinois safer," said IEMA Director Andrew Velasquez
III. "This agreement serves to further strengthen our federally
approved State Communications Interoperability Plan, which includes
several layers of redundant communications systems."
agreement between the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the
amateur radio operators creates a state Radio Amateur Civil
Emergency Services program, known as RACES. Under the agreement,
Velasquez appointed Brad Pioveson of Benton as the volunteer state
officer for the program. Pioveson will serve as the single point of
contact between IEMA and the Illinois amateur radio community.
To facilitate communications between the State Emergency
Operations Center and amateur radio operators throughout the state,
the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will equip a RACES station
with communications equipment and the resources needed to maintain
wired or wireless communications with the SEOC during emergencies.
The state's response to disasters anywhere in the state, including
deployment of personnel and resources, is coordinated through the
emergency center in Springfield.
The agreement outlines how information will flow from city or
county RACES officers to regional officers, who will channel
information to the state RACES station, which will then send it to
the State Emergency Operations Center.
[to top of second column]
There are more than 20,000 federally licensed amateur radio
operators in Illinois. It's estimated that these amateur radio
operators have invested over $40 million in their communications
equipment. Pioveson said there are 500 privately owned, wide-area
voice and data communications systems in place within Illinois that
can be pressed into service during emergencies.
"Amateur radio operators have a very rich history of providing
emergency communications," Pioveson said. "On behalf of the
dedicated volunteer emergency communicators who are Illinois ham
radio operators, I am delighted to have forged this new agreement
Emergency Management Agency
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]