GENOAK is a community emergency 2-way radio communications network for Oakland, California,
and adjacent East Bay cities, utilizing the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)
Zonehaven Notifications via 2-way Radio
Zonehaven is a software application designed to help first responders manage evacuations during an emergency such as a wildfire or flood. It will also help inform communities of these threats, and when and how to evacuate. Alameda County has purchased Zonehaven and it is in-use throughout Oakland. For more information, refer to the Zonehaven Guide. Know Your Zone by going to aware.zonehaven.com and then entering your street address.
Notifications for which Alameda County zones are under Shelter-in-Place, Evacuation Warning or Evacuation Order (leave now!) will be delivered primarily via AC Alert. Other local emergency notification systems can also provide these notices to the public. Zonehaven notifications may also be delivered via GENOAK, and you can listen for these on any FRS or GMRS radio set to channel 17 (no PL tone/DCS code).
Emergency Radio Communications
In the event of a large-scale emergency — for example a major earthquake, wildfire or flood/tsunami — individuals, CERT Teams and community groups in and around Oakland may require information and assistance from others nearby. In the event that cellular, Internet and/or landline phone communications are overloaded or disrupted, 2-way radio service such as GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) can provide an alternate and effective means for voice communications.
During and after a disaster a GMRS 2-way radio network can enable Oakland and adjacent East Bay communities and CERT Teams to connect with each other to report on threats and incidents, request help, provide status updates, share resources and coordinate volunteers for needed assistance. Critical messages can be passed to Oakland’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) via Amateur radio relays. 2-way radio communications will also operate during extended power outages (Public Safety Power Shutoffs).
GENOAK (GMRS Emergency Network – Oakland) is the GMRS 2-way radio network service created by the Oakland Firesafe Council. Use of an Oakland-based GMRS repeater is provided by the Northern California GMRS Users Group (NCGUG).
Participate in GENOAK!
If you live in Oakland or an adjacent East Bay city you can participate in the GENOAK emergency 2-way radio network by following these simple steps:
- First, if you don’t already have an FCC GMRS license and call sign, then follow these steps to obtain yours. There is no exam required.
- Second, if you don’t already have a “repeater-capable” GMRS 2-way radio, you can follow our recommendations on which one to purchase.
- Then, reach out to us and we will provide you with the GMRS 2-way radio access/programming information to connect with GENOAK, or we can program your radio for you.
- Finally, be sure to practice using your 2-way radio by joining our monthly check-in net.
- It’s that easy!
GMRS Emergency Network Repeater
A General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) repeater provides the ability for GMRS “repeater-capable” 2-way radios to communicate over greater distances and around obstacles such as terrain, infrastructure and foliage that may block point-to-point signals (as depicted above). GENOAK uses an Oakland-based GMRS repeater for area-wide emergency 2-way radio communications. This GMRS repeater is located above the Caldecott Tunnel in the Oakland Hills and can provide coverage throughout Oakland and adjacent cities in the East Bay.
Be Prepared to Respond!
Natural disasters are not unknown in Oakland. The devastating 1991 Oakland Firestorm sadly resulted in 25 deaths and destroyed over 3,000 homes, and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused extensive damage including the collapse of the Cypress structure and the tragic loss of 42 lives.
Oakland’s extensive Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), its Hayward Fault’s interconnected 120-mile-long major quake zone under the City, and Bay waterfront location present serious wildfire, earthquake and flood/tsunami disaster threats. In light of this, the Oakland Firesafe Council created comprehensive preparedness programs to provide awareness, education, materials and support to help increase community preparedness levels and to improve disaster response capabilities for all of Oakland. The GENOAK network is one such program of the Firesafe Council to help local residents better communicate during and after an emergency.
Oakland Firesafe Council’s preparedness programs provide information, Guides, workshops and support to help you prepare yourself, your family and your community for a disaster. The information provided by the Firesafe Council is intended to cover the most important actions that you can take now to help protect your property and your lives.
– Acknowledgments –
Many thanks to:
The Northern California GMRS Users Group for select use of its Oakland 600 GMRS repeater
Berkeley’s BeCERTAINN program for permission to borrow portions of their content
The San Francisco Radio Club for their generous donation of equipment.