Source: Wikipedia: RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service) is provided for in Part 97 of the FCC rules and regulations governing amateur radio in the United States. RACES members, volunteer Amateur Radio Operators, operate on behalf of a public agency during a declared emergency, including natural and man-made hazardous situations.
Frequently, local chapters combine with ARES, although the functions of ARES and RACES are somewhat different.
RACES is an organization of amateur radio operators who volunteer to provide radio communications for State and local governments in times of emergency. Created in 1952 primarily to serve in civil defense emergencies, RACES provides essential communications and warning links to supplement State and local government assets during emergencies.
RACES is a special part of the amateur operation sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). RACES provides emergency communications for civil preparedness purposes only. RACES is conducted by amateurs using their primary station licenses or by existing RACES stations. In the event that the President invokes the War Emergency powers, amateurs officially enrolled in the local civil preparedness group would become limited to certain frequencies, while all other amateur operations would be silenced.
The RACES organization provides or supplements communications during emergencies where normal communication systems have sustained damage. It may be used in a wide variety of situations, including Natural Disasters; Technological Disasters; Nuclear Accidents; Nuclear Attack; Terrorist Incidents; and Bomb Threats.