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Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS)

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has begun the development and implementation of a Pennsylvania Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) program. The ACS program, which includes the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) as an inherent component of the program, will be a mechanism for augmenting and coordinating existing and future volunteer emergency communications resources in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) program provides for government use of emergency communications specialists.

Additionally, it will provide PEMA with a primary redundant emergency communications unit which will also serve to set an example of how the unit can serve government.

Key elements of the program include:

  • State level planning and supporting documents

  • State-wide Mutual Aid system for Emergency Communications resources

  • Model (Sample) plans

  • Trained personnel

  • Leadership by example

  • Assistance to local government in maintaining a unit of communications volunteers

An ACS unit is a great place to volunteer one's time and efforts. It can be interesting and meaningful. Activities can include field response with communications vans, mobile or portable units, equipment caches, inter-operability equipment; or operations at one of PEMA Area Office Communications Centers (Indiana or Hamburg), or at the State Emergency Operations Center in Harrisburg with the RCC or with a county or regional task force unit.

Then, too, there is the role of ACS Officers who are the liaisons between volunteer emergency communications units in the 9 regional task forces, 67 counties, and the state level RCC units for emergency preparedness planning, as well as coordinating communications mutual aid between governments under NIMS.  To email the Delaware County ACS Officer (click here).

This, coupled with their management role at these various levels, calls for special talents. Volunteer opportunities are available at all levels for those with skill, abilities and/or interests in a variety of specialties; from telephone to satellite to radio to office and computer systems, as well as management or administration, and clerical and office support.