State EOC Emergency Operations Plan

THIS PAGE IS OUT OF DATE AND CURRENTLY BEING REVISED. Please contact Frank Pleshe directly with questions.



The Amateur Radio Emergency Operations Plan has been developed to establish a systematic and logical response for the Division of Emergency Management and the Amateur Radio community. This plan will allow for a structured unified response to emergency situations in the State of North Carolina, while providing support for civilian agency activities during emergency situations.


      1. Identify levels of response and set out individual responsibilities at each level;
      2. Provide a current directory of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of key ham operators that may be called upon to render assistance; and
      3. Provide resource material to assist in the handling of specific critical incidents.

The amateur radio community is prepared to respond to different types of emergencies, which may arise within the State of North Carolina. Every emergency is different and flexibility to provide an adequate response to each incident is a necessity. It is not the intent of this plan to limit the action of an amateur operator who is on-site and best able to assess the prevailing conditions. This plan will accomplish the following:



      1. Directives, procedures and forms;
      2. A call-down tree capable of providing staff for 72 hours;
      3. Identifying resources to be utilized in times of crisis;
      4. Fostering an alliance with local amateur radio clubs to ensure interest exists to meet NCEM volunteer personnel needs; and
      5. Current and future equipment needs related to Amateur radio communication.

A representative from the State EOC, Division of Emergency Management, with input from current coordinators, will appoint SERT/Amateur Radio Operator Coordinators. Coordinators will be responsible for maintaining any and all equipment in a state of operational readiness and reviewing the following areas:

Coordinators will be responsible for training all volunteers assigned to assist at the State EOC.

SERT/Amateur Radio Coordinators will act as the focal point between the State EOC and the Amateur Radio Community. All amateur radio business will be conducted through the SERT Coordinators. SERT Coordinators will confer with NCEM Amateur Radio Liaison or NCEM Communications should questions arise.

During times of activation at least one SERT member should be available for any briefing conducted by North Carolina Emergency Management. When necessary, SERT/Amateur Radio Coordinators may be called upon to brief the State Emergency Response Team body during activations concerning Amateur Radio activities. All responses should be consistent with the on-going public service message provided to the general public.

Coordinators are also eligible for Emergency Management classes and independent study courses issued through FEMA.


      1. Existing communications resources will be tested on a monthly basis in order to ensure operational readiness;
      2. Existing communications resources will be provided with both preventive and incidental maintenance on a regular and timely basis in order to further ensure operational readiness.

In order to ensure readiness of communications systems and adequate response in the event of disaster, the following policies will be observed:


      1. Review of the Amateur Radio Emergency Plan and sign-in procedures;
      2. Message receiving and sending;
      3. Operational tour of the EOC Operations Center, to include the Amateur radio area; and
      4. Overview and operational aspects of the amateur equipment located at the EOC.

All volunteers assisting at the State EOC will receive training in the following areas:

An annual exercise should be planned and held in conjunction with the State EOC Simulated Hurricane Awareness Emergency Drill. At the direction of the Emergency Coordinator, the activation procedures should be tested unannounced, with response only to net check-ins, as deemed necessary to insure its efficient operation. The SERT/Amateur Radio Operator Coordinators will meet each quarter to review policies and procedures and conduct an operations readiness of amateur equipment located at the EOC.




Any member of the Division of Emergency Management who, for any reason, suspects a communications emergency may be possible in the near future will formally activate the Amateur Radio Emergency Operation Plan. North Carolina Emergency Management Branch Managers will maintain contact with their appropriate local or district Amateur Radio Emergency Coordinators to ensure adequate amateur radio resources are available in areas under their control.

A representative of the Division of Emergency Management shall notify the on-call SERT/Amateur Radio Operator Coordinator. The SERT Coordinator will determine the level of response based on the information provided by the Communications Officer. Activation will be segmented into the following levels:

Level 1: The Emergency Operations Center begins staging and notifying key personnel. The Coordinator shall make contact with volunteers on the emergency contact list and apprise them of the potential needs of the State EOC. Volunteers will be asked to remain close to home or provide a contact number in the event their services are required.
Level 2: The Emergency Operations Center continues to stage and will require coverage within the hour. A representative from the Division of Emergency Management will re-contact the on-call SERT/Amateur Radio Coordinator. The coordinator will make contact with all standby personnel for coverage of the Emergency Operations Center and the State EOC Warehouse. Operators stationed at the EOC Warehouse will be responsible for maintaining communications with the Sate EOC in the event of a communications failure.After the staffing needs of the EOC and the EOC Warehouse are met the on-call coordinator will notify all SERT/Amateur Radio Operator Coordinators to ensure all members are informed of the State EOC activation.

In the event personnel at the Emergency Operations Center determine regions of the State should be mobilized to ensure emergency communications the following procedure should be implemented.

The SERT/Amateur Radio Operator Coordinator will notify:

Section Emergency Coordinator
Bernie Nobles WA4MOK
Winterville, NC 27103
Phone: 252-753-5541 (w)
215-756-0020 (h)

The Section Emergency Coordinator will make the necessary contacts throughout the State, as required. Should the Section Emergency Coordinator be out of position the SERT/Amateur Radio Coordinator will notify the applicable Assistant Section emergency Coordinator listed below.

Eastern Assistant Section EC – Ron Knapp, W9EF
Central Assistant Section EC – Tom Simpson, N4UCO
Western Assistant Section EC – [currently vacant]


When it is determined the need for emergency communications has expired a representative from the Division of Emergency Management shall notify the on-call SERT Coordinator who will make the necessary arrangements to stand down the amateur radio communication facilities. SERT Coordinators will ensure the facility is left in a state of operational readiness and all necessary documentation is provided to the Division of Emergency Management Communication Officer.



Amateur Radio volunteer operators responding to the State EOC will report to the Administration Building located at 116 W. Jones Street in Raleigh. Parking during activations will be in the parking garage on McDowell Street behind the EOC. Volunteers should obtain a parking ticket upon entering the garage and take the ticket inside the EOC to have it validated. A phone is located on the left wall of the building entrance and, if necessary, should be used to gain entrance to the State EOC. Operators should report downstairs to the Operation Center and sign in. An identification tag will be provided to each volunteer and should be displayed on the outer clothing at all times when in the EOC Operations Center.Should it become necessary to report to the State EOC Warehouse, volunteers should report to 9701 Capital Blvd, Wake Forest. Volunteers reporting to the warehouse should contact the State EOC Operations Center for additional instructions.

The State EOC has established an Amateur radio work area with appropriate communications equipment. Operators are to report to this area to begin their scheduled shift. When staffing levels permit, the Amateur radio area of the EOC will be staffed with two operators. Operators should remain at their post and refrain from walking around the Operations Center. Please remember our primary responsibility is receiving and passing messages. That is our sole focus during the activation.


      Operational frequencies utilized during activations are as follows:

    1. HF 3923 kHz or, if propagation is poor, 7232 kHz
    2. VHF 146.88 – This frequency will be utilized (by the State EOC and County EOC) for handling traffic between the EOC and outlying stations (other EOC’s, shelters, staging areas, etc)
    3. VHF 145.39 with 82.5 Tone (ARES logistics)
    4. VHF 145.39 will be utilized as a back-up frequency, if necessary.

Other frequencies will be designated as required.

All messages should, whenever possible, be in standard ARRL form. If this is not the case, please take the message as it is sent. The operator who receives the message should sign the message, thereby taking responsibility for the content of the message. Message procedures of EMERGENCY, Priority, Welfare and Routine, as defined on ARRL Form FSD – 3, shall be used on all messages. Stations should not transmit unless invited to do so by net control. The only exception is for a station having emergency traffic.

Upon receipt of any message the message taker should forward the message to the EOC Messaging Officer. The Messaging Officer will forward the message to the appropriate personnel within the Sate EOC or other government entity.Amateur radio operators are trained communicators. When acting in that capacity, they are not interpreters or evaluators. Their purpose is to transmit messages given them by an EOC official.

By this plan, amateurs are prohibited from transmitting personal observations or opinions, unless specifically requested by an EOC official. This avoids misinterpretation by people who may be listening to the net via scanners.

C. Amateur Radio Station – Public Information Procedures

Our Amateur Radio operation will attract media attention at some point during most emergency activations at the EOC.When Public Information Officers (PIOs) are available they will be responsible for management of all media contacts. In some circumstances reporters will appear at the Amateur station when the only people on duty are the on-air operators. Volunteers are not required to give an interview, and may just pass along some off-camera background information. If the decision is made to give an interview, here are some interviewing tips.

What to say

    The “Amateur Radio Story” is consistent and simple:

  • We provide emergency communications when other resources go down or become overloaded. Two good recent examples occurred during Hurricanes Dennis and Floyd last year. During Dennis, Amateur Radio provided the only communications to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands on the Outer Banks for two days. And during Floyd, Edgecombe County lost much of their police and emergency services communications to flooding, and relied on Amateur Radio for about a week.
  • We can do this because we operate individual, self-contained stations that don’t rely on the power grid or the telephone network. We can communicate locally, across the state, or around the world.
  • Amateur Radio is an all-volunteer effort. No one gets paid, and we use our own equipment. We enjoy using our equipment and skills to provide public service.

What not to say

  • Don’t give reporters the contents of any messages that have been passed, or the specifics of any communication in progress. They can listen in and record any communication while they are present at the EOC station. If they want specific information, direct them to the Amateur PIO or the EOC’s Public Information Office.
  • Don’t use jargon or technical terms. Just speak plain English. Say “We can use this equipment to talk to Durham, Wilmington, western North Carolina, and around the world if we need to.” Don’t say “We’re talking to Wilmington on a linked VHF-FM repeater network, and we can reach Asheville on the HF sideband net on 75 meters.” That’s gibberish to the reporter and the audience.

During the media interview if you receive questions regarding non-amateur radio topics you should refer the media representative to the Joint Information Center. The number to the Center will be posted at the station during activations.

Personal Appearance

When assigned to the EOC, station operators should dress comfortably; however, we should always strive to make a good impression on the press and other EOC workers and State officials. Clothing including clean t-shirts and jeans will be appropriate. Please refrain from wearing clothing that may be offensive to others.