Cal EMA Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS)
Our primary purpose is to provide the Operational Area’s (OA) and our sister State Agency’s the means in which to form, organize and operate their own local ACS structure. Our secondary purpose is to provide operational readiness communications for the state emergency management agency in support of emergency and disaster operations.
Administratively, the Cal EMA ACS provides the DSW registration; the avenue by which the ACS plans are processed; technical consultation and training programs. Operationally, the Cal EMA ACS provides personnel for emergency response support to State Communications Centers and field deployment opportunities of Cal EMA’s Interoperability assets. And one of the major emphases of our operation is to provide the local ACS the means by which to operate in the field. This includes establishing and maintaining an ACS Mutual Aid System based upon the Fire Service MA System under SEMS.
Cal EMA is a great place to volunteer ones time and efforts. Some of our volunteers have been active in the program for upwards of 20 years, so obviously it can be interesting and meaningful. Activities can include field response with Communications Vans, Mobile or Portable Satellite Units, equipment caches, inter-operability equipment; or it can be operations at one of Cal EMA Region EOC Communications Centers (Los Alamitos, Oakland, Sacramento) or the State Headquarters Communications Center at Mather with its backup to the California State Warning Center.
Then, too, there is the administrative role of our Region ACS Officers as liaisons between volunteer emergency commmunication units in the 58 Operational Areas and Cal EMA REOC's for emergency preparedness as well as communications mutual aid between governments under SEMS using RIMS. That, coupled with their management role at various levels of the Cal EMA ACS Program, calls for special talents.
MISSION and MOTTO
The ACS mission is to serve its sponsoring governmental jurisdiction in support of any possible need relative to communications in an emergency. This means far more than being activated in sporadic emergencies, or just operating radios in the field or at an EOC. It includes thorough familiarity with any form of interpersonal or agency communications. It is on-going. Its personnel are involved in day-to-day affairs of that agency so the ACS becomes an integrated aspect of the sponsoring agency staff, albeit unpaid. Its leaders participate in the agency meetings of appropriate interest or to those assigned due to their resource talents and skills. For instance, a lawyer-trained participant might be assigned to aid in drafting or wording plans or for grants affecting emergency response.
Motto: “Find a Communications Need and Fill it.”
The Cal EMA ACS also has a legislative defined purpose to promote the adoption of a program such as the ACS to local jurisdictions and to aid that program development and use in those jurisdictions. Our program can include a variety of specialists, from telephone to satellite to radio to office and computer systems, as well as management or administration, and clerical or office support. An ACS program can be as broad or as limited as its managers perceive its capabilities.