Los Angeles City Fire Department - Auxiliary Communications Service

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Net Procedures

The following Net procedures are effective January 1, 2017:

LAFD ACS members are expected to check-in to each Monday night Net. Members who miss checking-in should report the reason for doing-so to their Battalion Communication Unit Leader (BCUL). Members who repeatedly miss Nets and fail to notify the approprite Staff Member may be removed from the Active Member Roster.

ACS Nets use a check-in/check-out scheme in conducting our Nets. In other words, you'll check-in at the beginning of the Net and check-out at the conclusion of the Net. The purpose of this is to practice operating as we would in an actual incident. During a deployment, Net Control is responsible for keeping-track of members. Should a member that has been participating in the deployment fail to answer their radio when called, Net Control would need to account for that member. Net Control needs to know if something bad has occurred or if the member simply went to lunch. By practicing check-in/check-out, members will be accustomed to letting Net Control know if their status has changed. In addition, the check-in/check-out scheme ensures that members stay on the Net to hear the information being passed to members.

Proxy (absentee) check-ins are strongly discouraged. One of the main purposes of ACS Nets is to provide timely information to our members. Members who are absent from the Net fail to get that information. Proxy (absentee) check-ins will be permitted only for the following circumstances:

Same Location
If two or more ACS members are at the same physical location, one member may check in for all members who are present. For example, this could include all members in the same household.

In Radio Contact
A member may relay a check-in for another member with whom he or she is in real-time Amateur Radio contact at the time of the net. This includes relaying for a member who cannot reach the repeater but whom you can hear on the repeater input.

In both the above cases, it is possible for Net Control to communicate requests or instructions to the member who cannot check-in directly and to receive replies from that member, even if there is damage to telephone, Internet and other normal infrastructure.

Illness, Work, or Travel
If members are unable to check into the net due to illness, work, or travel, the member should so advise their BCUL. By doing so, the member notifies the BCUL that they are not available should an actual deployment occur and allows the BCUL to relay any important information.

Providing support to the LAFD Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has become an important part of the ACS Mission. CERT members who are licenesed amateur radio operators are encouraged to check-in to the ACS Nets. CERT members should check-in when Net Control calls for CERT member check-ins. CERT members checking-in via Echolink should follow the instructions in the Echolink section below.

LAFD ACS welcomes non-ACS members, non-CERT members to check-in the ACS Nets as a visitor. Visitors should check-in when Net Control calls for Visitor Check-ins. Visitors are asked to give their FCC Call Sign (using ITU Phoenetics), their first name, and their location. Visitors checking-in via Echolink should follow the instructions in the Echolink section below.

ACS members are encouraged to check in via 2-meter or 220-mhz radio whenever possible. This in the primary and preferred mode by which ACS members should check-in. If an ACS member is unable to access the 2-meter or 220-mhz repeaters but has the ability to check in via Echolink, Echolink check-ins are acceptable.

Echolink can be a useful tool but has some technical limitations, specifically lag. Because of this, Echolink check-ins require a different "timing" by Net Control . Accordingly, all Echolink check-ins from ACS Members, CERT Members, and visitors should be done when Net Control calls for Echolink check-ins and not during the other check-in segments.

The LAFD ACS conducts two Nets each week, one on Monday nights and one on Thursday afternoons. Responsibility for conducting the Monday night Nets is rotated among the four LAFD Bureaus. The Bureau Communication Unit Leader (BurCL) is responsible for choosing a Net Control operator for each Monday during their turn in the rotation. The BurCL is also responsible for choosing a location, selecting prospective Net Control candidates, and for conducting the monthly Net Control coaching for the months they have Net Control responsibilites.

LAFD ACS desires that all ACS members be capable of operating as Net Control. Just as the first resource on scene of an incident becomes the Incident Commander, the first ACS operator that can get on the air may have to act as Net Control. Because we can't know who that operator will be, it's important that as many ACS members as possible be prepared to take-on that role. All that is required for members to be a Net Control operator is a desire to do so, a radio that makes a reliable connection to our repeater, and having been trained and "certified" to act as a Net Control operator. Periodically, ACS offers a training course that includes Net Control Operations. Once each month, ACS also offers Net Control Coaching, where ACS members can watch a trained Net Control Operator conduct the Net, or, if they feel confident, conduct the Net themselves under the supervision of a trained Net Control Operator. Net Control coaching is typically held in the Bureau that has responsibility for conducting the Nets for that month. Information on Net Control coaching opportunities will be provided during the Monday night Nets.

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Last modified: 05/01/11