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Founded in 1952, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) was established under the Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations, as part of the amateur radio service. The mission of RACES is to establish and maintain the leadership and organizational infrastructure necessary to provide amateur radio communications in support of emergency management entities throughout the United States and its territories.

When so activated, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service will consist of only those amateur radio operators who have previously registered with State and local governments to provide emergency radio communications for them in times of emergency. Other amateur radio operations would be suspended and operations under the RACES rules might be restricted to certain frequencies within the amateur radio bands.

In addition to wartime communications, operations under the RACES rules can provide or supplement communications during emergencies where normal communication systems have sustained damage. It may be used in a wide variety of situations, including natural disasters, technological disasters, nuclear accidents, nuclear attack, terrorist incidents, and bomb threats.
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