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NALCO Introduction

NALCO is the Northern Alameda County (NALCO) Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES). Its stakeholders include the cities of Berkeley and Albany California. NALCO also serves the University of California at Berkeley and the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. The NALCO mission is to provide civil emergency communication services when requested by its stakeholders. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. NALCO is an affiliate of the American Radio Relay League.

NALCO History

In 1982 a series of meetings were convened by Berkeley area amateur radio operators with an objective to organize themselves to provide emergency communications assistance to our community. After prolonged discussion, the group resolved that organizing as a dedicated Amateur Radio Emergency Service organization under the American Radio Relay League Field Organization met their objectives. Functions other than those which support emergency communications were judged as being more ‘club like’ and which are presently being met by local amateur radio clubs in the area. The Northern Alameda County Amateur Radio Services (NALCO ARES) was formed to provide a focus on emergency communications support to the community. NALCO ARES is lead by an Emergency Coordinator and Assistant Emergency Coordinators appointed by the EC. Primary functions are recruitment, training, operations, development of agreements with local governmental organizations, and implementation of responses to those agreements and those into which the ARRL has entered on a national basis.

On August 5, 1984 NALCO ARES adopted a Constitution as a basis for registering as a non-profit organization under the Federal and State tax codes. This organization was registered as the Northern Alameda County Amateur Radio Emergency Services. Filings to the state and Federal government were made and our status was accepted. This allowed NALCO to become a membership organization for purposes of dues collection to support insurance, newsletter, organizational equipment, training and recruitment. The Constitution was revised and rewritten in April 1993. The Constitution specifies the procedure for officer selection for the 501(c)3 organization (President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer).



As a part of the ARRL Field Organization, NALCO agrees to support a series of national agreements:

The National Weather Service
The National Communications System
The Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Associated Public Safety Communications Officers
The American Red Cross
Salvation Army


NALCO has entered into three Memoranda of Understanding with local general purpose governmental agencies:

University of California November 3, 1989
City of Berkeley December 7, 1990
City of Albany July 1, 1994

Through these local MOUs, NALCO has formal agreements with local governmental agencies which fulfill the requirements of Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 97.1 for a Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service organization.

Notable Activations

NALCO has supported two national scale disaster responses: Loma Prieta Earthquake of October 1989 (Red Cross Shelter communications) and the Oakland Hills Fire in October 1991 (RACES activation by the City of Berkeley). Through a specific program developed in cooperation with the City of Berkeley Fire Department, NALCO supports an Amateur Radio Fire Patrol during fire season. Participants in the Fire Patrol receive annual training, participate in three planned responses (Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day) and on days determined to be hazardous due to extremely dangerous fire weather conditions or as determined by the Assistant On Duty Chief.

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