Seattle Auxiliary Communications Service is an emergency communications team of approximately 150 trained volunteers serving the City of Seattle, sponsored by the Seattle Office of Emergency Management and has been in operation since 1993. Team members are licensed amateur radio operators and registered state emergency workers.

Mission and Services

Seattle ACS’ mission is to provide communications support to the city of Seattle in times of disaster and emergency. To that end, ACS:

  • provides communications links between the City’s emergency operations center and neighborhoods, supporting Seattle Neighborhoods Actively Prepare (SNAP) Teams, CERT and Communication HUBs;

  • staffs and operates the emergency communications function at the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC);

  • serves as an EOC support team to assist with AV, Plans, Operations and Administrative functions during activations;

  • provides communications support to City departments and partner agencies; and

  • provides communications support for the City’s field response and recovery operations.


National Authority. Seattle ACS is a Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) organization; its operations are included in DHS/FEMA and FCC National Disaster Communications Plans which specify Auxiliary Communications (AUXCOMM) standard practices, overseen by the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC).

RACES is a specific part of the amateur radio operations sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). RACES was primarily created to provide emergency communications for civil defense preparedness agencies and is governed in the 47 CFR 97.407. Today, as in the past, RACES is employed during a variety of emergency and disaster situations where normal governmental communications systems have sustained damage or when additional communications are required or desired. Situations where RACES can be used include: natural disasters, technological disasters, terrorist incidents, civil disorder, and nuclear/chemical incidents or attack.

Local Authority. The Seattle ACS’ mission and organization is referenced in the Seattle Readiness and Response Plan. The Director of the Seattle Office of Emergency Management appoints a qualified ACS Director to manage ACS operations and to recruit, train, and supervise volunteers. All volunteers must undergo a background check and become registered State of Washington emergency workers as provided for in WAC 118-04.

Emergency workers are eligible for compensation if injured when they are participating in a mission, evidence search mission, or training event authorized by the emergency management division and are under the direction and control of an authorized official.

Additionally, Seattle ACS is affiliated with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES). The ARRL is a national organization of amateur radio operators with a mission of providing overall governance, standard setting and government liaison for the interest of amateur radio. ARES is the field organization of the ARRL chartered to guide and coordinated amateur radio emergency activities. Seattle ACS is associated with the local King County district organization of ARES.

Leadership and Management Structure – Leadership and management roles are carried out by dedicated ACS volunteers. Please see ACS Leadership and Management for filled and vacant positions. Please let us know if you are interested in filling one of these vacancies or have a suggestion for a new role.

Please contact us for more information and how you can become involved.