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Summary of
Standard Operating Procedures

Part 2 – Procedures

An overview of the CARES Standard Operating Procedures, Part 2, is provided here. A complete copy of the CARES SOP Part 2 is available here.

Part 2 provides specific information about how CARES will respond.  This information is intended to support training exercises as well as to be used as a starting point in all activations in which CARES participates.  The Part of the SOP includes the following sections:

Section 5 – Overview of Operations
Section 6 – Roles and Responsibilities
Section 7 – Operating Procedures
Section 8 – Emergency Net Logistics
Section 9 – Deleted

Section 5 - Overview of Operations

The CARES response is based on the following 5 operational phases:

  • Preparedness
  • Increased Readiness
  • Initial Response
  • Extended Response
  • Recovery

Each phase is characterized by a set of operational objectives that guide the organization in fulfilling its assigned mission. While a set of general objectives exists, additional event-specific operational objectives may be defined as required.

During each phase, specific actions are taken to reduce or eliminate the impact of specific disaster situations. In coordination with the Logistics Section Chief, the Cupertino EC/RO will determine the appropriate level of alert for CARES

Preparedness Operations

Preparation is the operational phase in which CARES members will spend the bulk of their time. It is best characterized as a period when no emergency situation exists or is imminent.

The operational objectives for this phase are:

  1. CARES members work to develop or maintain the skills and training needed to support an emergency response.
  2. CARES members are aware of new or changing hazards and conditions in the city.

Increased Readiness Operations

On (i) receipt of a warning, (ii) the observation that an emergency situation is imminent or likely to occur soon, or (iii) at the request of the City, the CARES EC/RO will initiate actions to increase the readiness of CARES to respond.

The operational objectives for this phase are:

  1. All CARES members have been alerted and are ready to respond.
  2. CARES members are kept up to date on changes and developments regarding the potential emergency

Initial Response Operations

The CARES activation and initial response is triggered by a local declaration of an emergency by the City's Director of Emergency Services. This activation may take place before, during, or immediately after an emergency situation occurs.

The operational objectives for this phase are:

  1. CARES is formally activated.
  2. The City EOC management team receives a preliminary damage assessment.
  3. The Communications Action Plan is developed and approved.

Extended Response Operations

The bulk of the CARES extended response will take place in the field. An extended response operation involves coordinating and managing CARES resources to mitigate an emergency situation and support the City’s transition to the Recovery Operation.

The operational objectives for this phase are:

  1. CARES provides the city and its served agencies with the necessary communications support needed to support the city's during a prolonged emergency response.
  2. The CARES resource and staffing plan is developed.
  3. CARES members receive the logistical support needed to fulfill their mission.


Recovery activities are mainly executed by the City and involve restoring services to the public and rebuilding affected areas.

The operational objectives for this phase are:

  1. CARES has accomplished its assigned mission and is directed to stand down.

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Section 6 - Roles and Responsibilities

The SOP defines several roles and responsibilities for CARES members during a response. The following is an overview of these roles.

Emergency Coordinator

The EC/RO has overall responsibility for the CARES response.  If the EC is not available, one of the CARES’ AEC/DROs, will assume the role of acting Emergency Coordinator during an emergency.  If none of the AEC/DROs are available, any CARES member who feels qualified to assume this role should do so until they are relieved.

Shift Supervisor

Individuals who have been granted a certification as a Shift Supervisor can assume this role during an emergency. 

In the event there are no qualified Shift Supervisors available, the EC may assign a CARES member to this role until a qualified replacement is available.

Emergency Responder

An Emergency Responder is a volunteer whose primary responsibility is to report for duty when either requested or personally motivated to do so. A responder is trained, equipped, and physically prepared to perform the responder role.

Individuals who have been granted a certification as a Field Responder can assume the lead role at a field assignment during an emergency. 

Net Control Station (NCS) Operator

Individuals who have been granted a certification as a Net Control Station (NCS) operator can assume the role of NCS Operator. 

While the minimum requirement is a station with the ability to communicate with most CARES member stations under emergency conditions, member and resource availability may dictate otherwise.  In other words, any operator and station activating the net is better than no net at all.

EOC Radio Operator

Individuals who have been granted a certification as an EOC Operator can assume the role of Operator at the EOC.

The EC or Communications Supervisor will assign the necessary number of EOC Radio Operators needed to carry out the mission.

Resource Coordinator

The Resources Coordinator is responsible for registering, allocating, and scheduling all volunteer communications personnel and resources, and maintaining contract with CARES served agencies. Depending on the scope of the activation, the EC may also assign additional staffing to assist with this role.

Communications Engineer

The Engineer in Charge assumes the role at time of activation of Communications Engineer. If he or she is not available, the EC will appoint a Communications Engineer.

Message Clerk

The EC, AEC, or Communications Supervisor will assign the necessary appoint a Communications Supervisor.

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Section 7 - Operating Procedures

Several Operating procedures are documented for CARES members. These procedures include:

  • Telephone Tree Procedure. This procedure describes the method of notifying CARES members of a possible or actual emergency and activation by means of telephone.
  • Preliminary Damage Assessment Procedure. This procedure describes how CARES members will collect and report information about the state of the city immediately after a citywide emergency or disaster occurred.
  • Field Assignment (Rotational) Procedure. This procedure describes how CARES members respond and operate in a field assignment during a declared emergency.
  • Emergency NCS Procedure. This procedure describes how the CARES Emergency Net should be operated during Increased Readiness Operations or a declared emergency.
  • CARES Weekly Net Control Procedure. Describes how the weekly CARES net is generally run whenever CARES is in Preparedness Operations.
  • SVECS Weekly Net Control Procedure. Describes how the weekly Silicon Valley Emergency Communications Service Net is run.

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Section 8 - Emergency Net Logistics

Directed Net

In most cases, CARES will operate its Emergency Net as a Directed Net.  This net is considered a formal net, and stations having non-incident related traffic may be asked to stand by or move to another frequency.

Specifically, the Net Control Station (NCS) will determine who will use the frequency at a given time, acknowledging those stations first that may have incident related traffic in priority order.  Conversations between stations are kept at a minimum, and tactical call signs are assigned to support efficient traffic handling.

Open Net

CARES may also shift its Emergency Net to an Open Net format.  This net would be used when both the amount of traffic or the number of stations needing to communicate is low.

During an Open Net, the Net Control Station (NCS) monitors the frequency and provides minor coordination between stations.  Field assignment logging, general event announcements, and other information sharing are some of the NCS responsibilities during an Open Net.

Field Stations essentially self-manage the communication exchanges between each other.  Conversations between non-responder stations are allowed.  Tactical Call signs are assigned and used to support efficient traffic handling.

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Section 9 - Deleted

This section was deleted in SOP Version 3.0

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 updated:  February 17, 2007