ACREM is a volunteer non-profit emergency communications organisation whose primary role is the monitoring of the CB band emergency channels. Incorporated in New South Wales under the Associations Incorporation Act, ACREM is the only Australian CB monitoring body that is also registered under the Corporations Act as a Registrable Australian Body. This means that ACREM is legally able to operate throughout Australia and its territories, including the operation of offices outside of NSW.
ACREM is the only CB monitoring organisation in Australia that is established to operate in more than one state. Currently ACREM operates members in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.
How can ACREM help you?
ACREM can help the community and event organisers with:
- Monitoring of CB emergency channels, relaying calls for help to the authorities
- Communications Support & Emergency Communications during emergencies
- Safety Communications for community events
- Car Parking and traffic control for events
- Security & Safety services to keep events and participants safe
CB Emergency Channel Monitors
ACREM Monitors can contact such services as Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigades, Rescue, Coast Guard and Coastal Patrol, NRMA, Towing & Recovery Services, and many more, in a matter of minutes. They can relay messages, maintain a safety listening watch for your scout or guide camp-out, or provide street directions for lost travellers.
Many people helped each year do not even own a CB Radio, they simply flagged down a vehicle or truck with a CB antenna and asked them to call for help. This makes the services of ACREM of value to everyone, not just CB owners. CB’s are still widely used in the community and, unlike mobile phones, don’t require a monthly or even annual fee to be paid and, whilst a mobile phone will let you ring the required service direct, what happens if the phone fails or the network is out of range?
Emergency Communications & Support
During the 1989 Newcastle earthquake and the 1994 NSW bushfires, many people realised that the mobile and land-line based telephone networks can fail, even if only temporarily. The network that ACREM, and many other CB emergency monitoring groups, offer can operate totally independent of telephone and electricity services. As many trucks, cars and even homes are equipped with CB, we can offer a wide range communications network during times of need, relaying calls for assistance or information on road closures. Members also utilise private VHF frequency allocations to enhance the communications network as well as VKS-737 and our own HF frequencies for long distance communications, when needed.
But our service depends on volunteers and funds. To provide an effective and ongoing emergency service, we need members to supply the ever important communications network, and money to fund the expansion and operations of our services. All donations are used to help expand our services throughout NSW, Queensland and Victoria, and keep our Members trained and ready to assist the community when needed.
Members, who are entirely voluntary and receive no payment, provide a monitoring service on the CB emergency channels, relaying calls for assistance to the required authority or service.
In addition, the Group also serve the community through:
- broadcasting Severe Weather Warnings over local road channels, as issued by the Bureau of Meteorology (these include Severe Thunderstorm Warnings/Advice’s, Severe Weather Warnings, Gale Warnings and Fire Weather Warnings);
- participating in the Australian Tsunami Warning System
- broadcasting emergency road closures, due to accidents, fires, etc, over road & highway channels;
- involving members in the Bureau of Meteorology’s ‘Storm Spotter Network’;
- providing communications support for community programmes such as Safety House, Neighbourhood Watch and other such programmes that benefit the community;
- providing a safety watch for scout, guide or camping groups on outings, etc.
ACREM’s primary objective is to provide a volunteer monitoring service on the CB emergency channels, and such other local channels as may be appropriate for each community (e.g. a local repeater may be utilised by the community to obtain assistance more than the emergency channel). Whilst some other similar groups provide manpower support to emergency services during some major incidents, ACREM believes that during these major incidents having monitors on-air ready to answer calls from the community should be far more important than supplying volunteers to answer telephones or supplement internal communications. ACREM’s commitment to the community is that the provision of monitoring services will always remain the primary objective, especially during major emergencies when the community may indeed need these services even more.
Safety Communications Network
Depending on member availability ACREM can however provide personnel for safety communications for some events, and personnel to assist on barricades or traffic control (on private property) when required by event organisers. ACREM Members can sometimes provide a donation based service offering radio communications between safety or check points for events such as fun runs, carnivals, cross country events, etc. Following a major incident ACREM Members may also be called upon to set up and operate radiocommunications links so that isolated communities can summon help using CB channels. ACREM is in the process of building 3 transportable repeaters for use on the UHF CB emergency channels for just such an event.
ACREM volunteers have also provided low-risk security & safety services for various community events. As ACREM is staffed by volunteers, who do not get paid for their work, and as ACREM does not charge a fee but rather asks for a donation, ACREM members can provide “security” services without the need for a security or Master licence. This works the same as when SES or RFS provide security for various community events, including the Sydney Olympic games. In an email from the NSW Police Force Security Licensing & Enforcement Directorate (SLED), it was stated:
“The exemption previously offered to your organisation still stands as under section 4 of the Act, volunteers are excluded from requiring to hold a security licence.”
Many ACREM members have past experience working in the security industry, so they know what needs to be done. Event organisers that do not necessarily need licensed security on site can have ACREM volunteers perform the tasks. In past years ACREM has provided “security” for the Cancer Council of NSW for various Relay for Life events around the Hunter Region.
How to call ACREM
To call for help simply follow this procedure:
- Select the emergency channel on your CB – Channel 9 AM or USB on 27 MHz sets (channel 5 if it is an old 18 channel CB), or Channel 5 on the UHF Band (select ‘Duplex’ or ‘Repeater’ mode if in range of a channel 5/35 emergency repeater, otherwise use ‘Simplex’ mode – i.e. turn your Repeater or Duplex button OFF).In some country regions, emergency Monitors may monitor other local UHF repeaters in addition to, or instead of, the emergency repeater. If no response is received, try other local channels.
- Call “Any emergency monitor, this is (give your call-sign or first name) calling any emergency monitor”
- Give the Monitor time to answer! If no response is received within 30 or so seconds, call again.
- Respond with the nature of the incident, exact location and other information. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what information to give, the Monitor will ask you for the information that he/she needs in order to notify the required services.
- IMPORTANT! Emergency Monitors can NOT offer first aid or medical advice over the radio under any circumstances. If absolutely necessary, they will contact the Ambulance Service or a Doctor and relay any advice they may have.
- There may be times when an Emergency Monitor is not available, or can not hear you. Atmospheric conditions can do very strange things to radio signals, and a local Monitor may not be able to hear your call above the level of interference being received at his/her location. If no one answers your call on the emergency channel, try other channels, especially UHF Channel 40 or HF Channel 8 (Road Channel) or other local repeaters (UHF Band).
REMEMBER! Emergency Monitors are volunteers often using their own radio equipment to listen for people needing help. It is impossible for any volunteer group to guarantee 100% coverage 24/7 without a large number of volunteers and funds. ACREM is constantly seeking new members and/or donations so they can expand operations and provide better coverage on the emergency channels, especially during major incidents. CB does save lives so if you have a CB at home and some spare time, no matter how little or how much, or even just a couple of dollars, why not help us to help you! Contact us for more information.
In the past mobile telephone users would need to dial 112 for emergency contact, as this number provided enhanced features not available to 000 (e.g. contact via any service provider, etc.) These days almost all (if not all) mobile phones and networks offer the same enhanced services by dialing Triple Zero (000). These enhanced services include:
- Contact through the network with the strongest signal
- Contact through any network even if your provider has no signal
- By-pass keypad lock
- Contact even if no SIM card is inserted, or SIM card is damaged
If you have no signal from your own service provider, but there is a signal available from another provider, your mobile phone should display “EMERGENCY”, or “EMERGENCY ONLY”. This simply means you can still call Triple Zero (000) even though you can’t call anyone else. Note that in order to call Triple Zero (000) from your mobile phone you MUST have a signal from a mobile telephone provider (e.g. Telstra, Optus, Vodaphone, etc.) Dialing 112 does NOT allow your mobile phone to call via a satellite, as some people believe! (see Calling 000 from a mobile phone for more information).
Using the telephone to contact Triple Zero (000) allows you to speak with the required service directly rather than via a relay. This can save time if they need to ask you questions regarding the incident. So remember, if you have a telephone close by, and you can use it, then please contact the emergency services that way. However! If you do not have a telephone at hand, you have no phone coverage, you are unable to use the phone you have (e.g. can’t stop the car, etc), or you need to go and search for a public telephone, then please try the CB emergency channels immediately. The key to any emergency situation is to obtain help as quickly as possible, so if you have immediate access to a telephone use it, but if you don’t or can’t, then use your CB!
If you would like further information on the triple Zero (000) emergency telephone service in Australia:
- Australian Disaster Information Network: Triple Zero (000) – Australia’s Emergency Call Service
- Australian Communications & Media Authority: Emergency Calls FAQ
- ACMA : Calling the Emergency Services from a Mobile Phone
* Triple Zero logo reproduced with permission, Fire & Rescue NSW, on behalf of the Triple-Zero Awareness Work Group.