What is ACS?

Vashon ACS (Vashon Auxiliary Communications Service) is an island organization established on November 3rd, 2014 which supports all forms of emergency communication - not just those used by radio hams. In conjunction with other island preparedness organizations, Vashon ACS provides communication and computing services to island organizations and business in an emergency.

If the phones go out and island organizations want to use radio communications instead, or set up a wifi network, Vashon ACS can provide experienced people to help.

How is Vashon ACS different from ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service)?

  • ARES provides ham radio operators with ham radios to emergency response organizations that need them, in an emergency.
  • Vashon ACS provides operators some of which may be hams with ham radios, some of which may be operators with cell phones, or folks who have expertise setting up emergency computer networks.

Is Vashon ACS an organization?

  • Yes. It is a partner with the island's coalition of preparedness organizations: VashonBePrepared. The board of Vashon ACS is made up of island leaders who have expertise in emergency response (CERT), emergency management (Vashon EOC) and emergency radio communication (ARES).
  • Though independently managed, there are many ACS groups in the state and across the country. Local sister organizations include those in Seattle and Shoreline. Some seem to have grown from a merger of specialized radio oriented groups such as RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service), MARS, and others. Our additional focus on non-radio communications (cell phone, computer, land lines - not just radio) seems to be a bit more unusual though!

Do we need another island group which is dedicated to supporting island emergency communication?

  • We want to encourage the training and practice of anyone who is interested in using communication to support an island emergency, not just hams.
  • There's a lot of great people out there that we don't want to exclude because they don't have a ham license. Vashon ACS is inclusive, not exclusive!

What does Vashon ACS plan to do? In order to support Island emergency communications, to Vashon ACS members we plan on providing;

  1. Emergency communication training to those who want it to increase their skills
  2. Advice on the purchase, use and maintenance of emergency communication equipment
  3. Emergency communication plans, protocols and approaches which can be used to deploy and manage emergency communication resources and personnel
  4. A social community of people interested in supporting emergency communications

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Monthly Vashon ARES & Vashon ACS Radio Communication Training

To continue with the practice session we began in October 2014, we will be running monthly emergency radio training sessions, going forward.

Please can you join us every first Wednesday in the month, from 4pm to 6 pm, at Bank Road Fire Station EOC meeting room, (Fire Station 55), beginning Wednesday, January 7th.

As well as providing training, we will give advice and demonstrate different types of emergency radio equipment. If you have anything you would like us to cover, or have questions, we can answer those too.

You may notice that these sessions are being run under the joint banner of Vashon ARES/Vashon ACS.

 

How Can I Learn More?

Learn more by visiting Vashon ACS' website: www.VashonACS.com.

If you are interested in participating, please send an email to info@vashonacs.com with your name and best ways to contact you. Indicate any areas of special interest and expertise, especially with any of the following:

  • Emergency communication
  • Field communication
  • Radio communication
  • Emergency management (EOC)
  • Emergency response (CERT)
  • ICS
  • FEMA
  • Served Agency experience
  • Telecommunications
  • WiFi
  • Computing Technology
  • Local Area Network Administration
  • GIS
  • GPS
  • Microwave radio

These are other communication services' logos: Anyone want to create us our own logo that integrates some communications symbols and the island of Vashon?!