Williamson County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (WCARES)
Williamson County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (WCARES) supports the Williamson County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Emergency Communications (EC) with robust and adaptive alternative communications systems and volunteer personnel. With over one hundred trained volunteer members, WCARES is trained, exercised, and skilled in the FEMA Incident Command System (ICS), along with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
WCARES' core skillset is Emergency Communications in a variety of environments such as Emergency Services Operations Center (ESOC) based communications equipment which includes personal portable and mobile communications gear, as well as deployable go-kits. WCARES has a 40-foot pneumatic mast along with access to several repeater systems across the county. These modes of operation are capable of communications via VHF, UHF, state and federal inter-operational frequencies, and HF frequency spectrums. These spectrums are capable of covering everything from local onsite handheld communications, across the entire State of Texas, and the furthest reaches across the United States, all independent of any Williamson County, Motorola, or GATRRS systems. In case of massive radio infrastructure failure, WCARES has its own county-wide independent internet backbone internet and email over via the radio system. WCARES can also support communications to county-deployed assets whether local, statewide, or further abroad, and to agencies such as National Weather Service, and National Hurricane Center, should the need arise.
WCARES leverages more than 1,500 amateur Radio FCC-licensed individuals in Williamson County. running radio nets to acquire on-the-ground, county-wide, real-time situation reports. WCARES acquires and distributes information that can be critical to the actions of the OEM.