LA City ACS Founder, Assistant Chief(ret)
Wilfred (Bill) Bisson, KF6XX, SK
unpaid, not unprofessional!"
The Emergency Management Department of the City of Los Angeles has designated
the Los Angeles Fire Department to manage its amateur radio program under
the Auxiliary Communications Service agreement with the State Office of
Emergency Services. Because Auxiliary Communications Service Members are
authorized by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Service, ACS
Members are sworn Disaster Service Workers. The LAFD Auxiliary Communications
Service (ACS) is the Official Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Group
for the City of Los Angeles and is the RACES organization for the City
of Los Angeles.
The LAFD administration has authorized the Auxiliary
Communications Service (ACS) to enroll as many as 500 licensed HAMS to
back up the Department's 800 MHz radio system and to provide other Emergency
Communications services to the City. ACS members are used to facilitate
auxiliary communications during earthquakes, brush fires, power outages,
and other disasters.
ACS members are subject to a background check and must meet
the qualifications as a Los Angeles City Volunteer under the
Mayor’s Office Volunteer Bureau’s requirements.
They also must meet the California Governor’s Office
of Emergency Services (OES) Disaster Service Worker requirements.
If you would like more information on the ACS
and its mentoring and training programs, please see "Become an ACS Volunteer" below.
What Does ACS Do?
The primary mission of the LAFD ACS is to provide back-up for the LAFD's
800-mhz radio system. Because LAFD's radio system is highly reliant on
repeaters to reach all areas of the City, it is also vulnerable should
the repeaters become inoperative due to physical damage in an earthquake
or loss of power for a prolonged time period. In such an event, LAFD ACS
volunteer amateur radio operators, using a combination of their own equipment
and fixed City Facilities, would step-in
to relay vital communications from the City Emergency Operations Center
(EOC) and the LAFD Department Operations Center (DOC) to Fire Department
resources in the field. Because amateur radio is incredibly versatile,
we can do this without relying on repeaters or other infrastructure.
In addition to providing communications between
the EOC / DOC and LAFD field resources, ACS members will be deployed to
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Incident Command Posts and other
public locations to act as a communications link between the public and
LAFD Command. ACS members deployed throughout the City will also provide
situational size-up and other critical emergency information to the Emergency
Operations Center, providing City Department Managers with the information
they need to make informed decisions.
LAFD ACS members would also use amateur radio to
provide communications between the LAFD and outside agencies, including
the County of Los Angeles and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services
The LAFD ACS also provides communications support
for many community events such as the Hollywood Christmas Parade and the
March of Dimes March for Babies. This not only provides a service to these
events, but allows members to test our equipment and to practice the communication
skills needed in an emergency.
How Can You Help?
In addition to volunteering as an LAFD ACS radio operator, you can help
by donating. LAFD ACS has no budget. Most of our equipment is provided
by our members. We are working, however, to establish a series of fixed
stations at key locations throughout the City. Los Angeles is a very complex
radio environment with mountains, canyons, and tall buildings. These stations
will allow us to respond more quickly in an emergency and to have a reliable
radio link between Fire Department Management and resources in the field.
The equipment to set-up these stations and for the maintenance therof
has been supplied in the past with surplus commercial equipment obtained
through the City. Although we've managed to force this equipment to work,
it is not intended for our uses and only partially meets our requirements.
Donatations made to LAFD ACS via the LAFD Foundation will allow us to
keep these stations going, make them work better, and allow us to add
stations to better serve the City. If you'd like to make a tax
deductable donation to the LAFD ACS, please contact Donation Manager.
LAFD ACS Mission Statement
"The mission of the Los Angeles Fire Department Auxiliary Communications Service
is to provide the City and the Citizens of Los Angeles with professional
communications services using volunteers and volunteer provided
equipment under the direction and authority of the City Radio Officer
and the Los Angeles Fire Department."
Become an ACS Volunteer
LAFD ACS is always looking for amateur radio operators who either live or
work in the City of Los Angeles. If you'd like to know more about what ACS
does, check out the information on this web site. If you are a licensed amateur radio operator, live
or work within the City of Los Angeles and are at least 18-years old and
have an interest in emergency communications and serving your community,
please join ACS. If you'd like to apply for membership in the LAFD ACS,
please click the link below to download the application documents.
Here to download our Application Packet.
Once you've completed the application documents, scan and email
the documents to firstname.lastname@example.org or by
Clicking Here to open your email client.
You will also need to mail the original documents to:
LAFD Personnel Services
200 N. Main St.,16th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012