ABOUT US

Los Gatos/Monte Sereno 
ARES RACES Emergency Service 
Emergency Radio Communications Volunteers

                                                     Hams at work

Who we are
We are Los Gatos & Monte Sereno area residents who have Amateur Radio (a.k.a. ham) licenses and who volunteer our time and radio equipment to provide emergency radio communications in times of declared local emergencies and other special occasions.

(NB:  BLUE boldface text below are hyperlinks)

ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) is a nationally organized group of radio amateur volunteers within the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) who provide radio communications in situations requiring amateur radio services other than for emergencies declared by government agencies.

RACES (Radio Amateur Civilian Emergency Service) is a nationally organized group of radio amateur volunteers who provide emergency radio communications under the jurisdiction and rules/regulations of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the FCC during civilian emergencies declared by municipal, state or national governments.   In particular, Los Gatos's Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) depends on the role of our RACES function in providing emergency communications services in a government declared emergency.  An updated EOP is planned for this year (2017) with even stronger role for ARES-RACES.

Our Mission
The mission of the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno ARES-RACES Emergency Communications group is to provide amateur radio-based communications, when traditional channels are unavailable, under procedures defined in the Town of Los Gatos Emergency Operation Plan.

Specifically, the mission is to provide emergency communications services to the:
  • Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
  • Santa Clara County (SCCo) Office of Emergency Services (OES)
  • Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)  deployed at Neighborhood Incident Command Posts (NICPs)
  • Red Cross run Shelters within LG/MS (LGHS, JCC, LDS Church)
  • Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services Agency (EMSA) Commodity Points of Distribution (CPODs) at the Jewish Community Center (JCC), and Calvary Baptist Church
  • Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Disaster Aid Response Team (DART)
  • Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department Dispatch
  • El Camino Hospital - Los Gatos Emergency Hospital Command Center (HCC)
We operate under the direction of the Los Gatos Town Manager who is the designated Emergency Manager for Los Gatos and also provides Incident Command for Monte Sereno.  

We receive guidance from the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department and SCCo Fire.  We are closely aligned with the other Los Gatos-Monte Sereno emergency service organizations (CERT & DART) to provide cooperative and complementary services in emergencies and special occasions. The role of Los Gatos (LG/MS) RACES in an emergency is defined in the town's Emergency Operations Plan.  

We are an integral part of the SCCo OES support infrastructure through the network of city ARES-RACES volunteer groups.  In support of the SCCo OES we provide emergency communications between the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno EOC and the SCCo OES EOC.

In support of the LG-MS Emergency Operations Center (EOC) we provide emergency communication to the SCCo EOC, CERT NICPs, Red Cross Shelters, SCCo CPODs, DART, PD Dispatch, and the El Camino Hospital Emergency Command Center.

In support of LG-MS CERT during a declared emergency, we
 provide communications for local CERT volunteers to transfer their field reports to the town's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) from Neighborhood Incident Command Posts (NICPs).  In addition, we provide communications from the EOC to the NICPs. 

We provide emergency radio operators, as needed, at the Santa Clara County Red Cross operated shelters at Los Gatos locations (Los Gatos High School, the Jewish Community Center (JCC), and the LDS Church).

We provide emergency radio operators at the SCCo Emergency Medical Services Agency (EMSA) Commodity Points of Distribution (CPOD) at the JCC and Calvary Baptist Church when those CPODs are activated.

For the LG-MS DART during their Police support activities, we provide radio communications between field units and headquarters using either Amateur radio frequencies or assigned DART radio channels.

For the LG-MS PD Dispatch, we relay messages from locations and parties unable to utilize public communications methods (landlines and cellphones) to PD Dispatch.  We do this from amateur radio staffed locations (including the three SCCo Fire Stations in Los Gatos: Shannon station, Winchester station, and University Avenue station).

For the El Camino Hospital - Los Gatos (one of the ten SCCo Hospitals supporting the SCCo Emergency Medical Service Agency (EMSA) we operate EMSA provided amateur radio stations to communicate emergency status and logistical support information.

Between emergencies we provide emergency communications skill building and maintenance opportunities. Emergencies that we prepare for include destructive earthquakes, fire, flooding, epidemics, other natural or human-made disasters, such as electrical power line and telephone/internet cable cuts.

Our Goals and Objectives
Our Objective is 3 sigma (99.7%) reliability in delivering messages in both directions (including the accuracy of the message content) within 5 minutes of presentment (as a function of PRIORITY & IMPORTANCE of the message, between each recognized client end-point.  

Our (other quantitative sub) Goals to achieve our Objectives are:
  • Staffing levels at our targeted list of client sites requires  an estimated 100 active members
    • we expect to achieve active member growth to meet our target staffing levels by YE2017
      • 48 active members by YE 2016 (we ended 2016 with 43)
      • 96 active members by YE 2017 (we are now at 45)
  • Training plan/requirements (tbd)
  • Equipment plan/requirements (tbd)
  • Procedures plan/requirements (tbd)

Our Performance Measures
The quality of our organization is measured by how effective we are in delivering our mission:  which is being able to transmit and receive messages accurately and reliably between all "client" parties as needed.  

To deliver our mission requires 3 concurrent elements: 
  • people (quantity and skill level when deployed)
  • procedures (individual and organization, both intra and inter)
  • equipment (radios, computers, antennas, power, cabling)
To measure our quality requires sampling and estimating.  In the future we will attempt to gather and report such data.

How we are Organized
We are self-organized under the jurisdiction of the towns of Los Gatos and Monte Sereno, following the rules of the ARRL ARES and the FEMA RACES umbrellas.  

Our leadership has individually assigned functional areas of responsibility. Each area is the overall responsibility of one officer. At times, one officer may have more than one responsibility. We aspire to have 10 officers, one for each function:
  • Planning (defining and refining Mission, Goals, Objectives, including Quality)
  • Membership (acquisition/outreach and maintenance of active members)
  • Training (classes and exercises/drills)
  • Communication (web, social media, email, meetings)
  • Voice messaging technology (over FCC Parts 15, 90, 95 & 97 authorized frequencies and rules)
  • Text & Image messaging technology (over Parts 15, 90, 95 & 97 bands)
  • Video, real-time, technology (over Parts 15, 90, 95 and 97 bands)
  • Procedures (including emergency activation & deployment, messaging, ...)
  • Quality (Measures & Assessment of meeting objectives)
  • Safety (definition and assurance process)

Additional links to References  mentioned above:
  > For the latest Los Gatos Emergency Operation Plan (2015), see:

  > For the ARRL ARES overview and rules, see:

  > For the FEMA RACES overview and rules, see:  

  > For information about FEMA, see:

  > To sign up for a SCCo Fire "Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)" class, see:
     Click on the [+] Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) heading

   > For information about Emergency Preparation within LG/MS, see:
   
   > To sign up for the SCCo Fire "Personal Emergency Preparedness (PEP)" class, see:
       Click on the [+] Personal Emergency Preparedness (PEP) heading

   > For information about LG/MS CERT, see:

   > For information about LG/MS DART, see:

   > For information about Emergency Response in Los Gatos-Monte Sereno, see:

   > For information about the Santa Clara County ARES-RACES organization, see:

   > For information about the Silicon Valley Emergency Communications System (SVECS), see:
   
   >  For information about Southern Peninsula Emergency Communication System (SPECS), see:  
 
   > For information about the West Valley Amateur Radio Association (WVARA), see:

This site last updated Jan 17, 2017 @ 2100 hrs