443-595-7911 - 24/7 Message Center

Emergency Communications
Safety of Life
Preservation of Property
Dissemination of Information


About Us

Our History
Founded in 2006, the Baltimore County Auxiliary Communications Service  (BaCo ACS) evolved from the County's Civil Defense Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) program.

In the fall of 2005 the Director of Emergency Management was considering dropping Amateur Radio from the County's Emergency Operations Plan. The Director saw a need but the existing structure and personnel could not meet the county's requirements. He formed an exploratory committee and tasked it with determining if a viable program could be developed and implemented. The resulting organization, the Baltimore County Auxiliary Communications Service, unlike its predecessor, makes possible the effective management and utilization of personnel with diverse backgrounds and wide ranging capabilities.

Operating under the authority of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (OHSEM) BaCo ACS provides tactical, logistical and administrative support and communications to supported agencies and facilities. BaCo ACS adheres to Federal Communication Commission rules and regulations when deployed or conducting exercises utilizing radios on Amateur, Family Radio Service (FRS), General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), Multiple Use Radio Service (MURS) and Citizens Band (CB) frequencies.

What exists now is a true partnership with ACS personnel being viewed in the same light as volunteer fire fighters, and volunteer emergency medical service (EMS) personnel.  PROFESSIONALS, in every sense of the word.

What is the BaCo ACS Mission Statement?
To establish and maintain the leadership and organizational infrastructure necessary to provide emergency, backup and supplemental communications support to the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, its affiliated agencies and the Citizens of Baltimore County.

When is BaCo ACS Used?
Natural and man-made disasters often cripple or destroy communication facilities and those that are not crippled quickly become overloaded. BaCo ACS personnel are called upon by the Director OHSEM to handle communications for police, fire, public utilities, social services, Red Cross and other emergency service organizations. The call up occurs in accordance with the Baltimore County EOP (Emergency Operations Plan) and BaCo ACS SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) in support of, but not limited to, the following operations:

  • Safety of Life or Preservation of Property
  • Maintenance of Law and Order
  • Mitigation of human suffering and Property Damage
  • Dissemination of information of a pending natural or man-made disaster
  • Dissemination of warnings of an attack or pending attack on the civilian population

BaCo ACS personnel also provide administrative communications at planned events, such as air shows, parades, marathons, walkathons, bike rides and other public events sponsored by community agencies  and


 charitable organizations including:

  • March of Dimes
  • Susan G. Komen for the Cure
  • National MS Society
  • County Agencies

How Does BaCo ACS Operate in an Emergency?
When an incident occurs, BaCo ACS personnel are assigned to one or more facilities located throughout the county in accordance with the county Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and BaCo ACS Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). The County ACS Officer or duly appointed representative under the direction of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, will assign  personnel to shelters, evacuation centers and incident sites. Once deployed, personnel are assigned to one or more radio or computer nets under the supervision of a Net Control operator (NCO).

Who can volunteer with BaCo ACS?
Anyone with an interest in using computers, two-way radios (Amateur, GMRS, FRS, Trunked, etc.), and other equipment to provide emergency, backup and supplemental communication services to private, state, county, local and federal agencies, during natural or man-made disasters and public service events. You do not need a Federal Communications Commission Amateur Radio license to volunteer with BaCo ACS.

Why Volunteer with BaCo ACS?
Volunteer with BaCo ACS - give back to the community. Participate in drills, exercises and deployments. Train to handle tactical and formal messages using standardized forms. Become skilled at emergency procedures, map reading, computer support, Unified Command and the National Incident Management System.

Train and work alongside full time emergency response personnel. Earn CE credits - enroll in formal training classes offered by the Emergency Management Institute, County and State agencies. Employ advanced communication modes such as digital radio, VOIP, Internet Over Radio, and long haul High Frequency voice links. Receive credentials certifying that you have satisfied the training requirements defined by FEMA, the County and BaCo ACS.

Deploy with volunteers active in emergency and public service communications for upwards of 15 years. BaCo ACS activities are varied, exciting and meaningful. You may be assigned to operations in the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), hospitals, shelters, evacuation centers or university surge facilities. You may be assigned to field response in a mobile command center operating portable radios, satellite units, computers, equipment caches, and other interoperability equipment. You may act as a mutual aid liaison to adjoining counties, states and Federal (i.e. FEMA, TSA) agencies. 

Enroll Online, contact BaCo ACS here or call Terri Brush in the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at 410-887-5996

“Preparedness is Not an Option, Preparedness is a Requirement

Copyright © 2006-2013 All Rights Reserved
Baltimore  County Auxiliary Communications Service
115 Wight Avenue - PBX 88 -  Hunt Valley, MD 21031