What is IDEC?

IDEC (Irvine Disaster Emergency Communications) is an organized team of over 60 experienced, trained and dedicated amateur radio operators (Hams) under the direction and supervision of the Irvine Police Department. Members routinely volunteer their time and radio communication skills to perfect an auxiliary radio communications network designed to augment (or replace) normal methods of communications used by the Police Department in times of emergencies or major disasters.

As a component of the City’s Emergency Preparedness Plan, IDEC operates at the direction of the Irvine Chief of Police, Mike Hamel, and is directly supervised by an IPD Sergeant. IDEC utilizes various radio equipment, including two UHF repeaters and other modes of communication including packet, HF, and APRS. With this equipment, IDEC is able to immediately establish a lifeline communication network between the Irvine Police Department, citywide evacuation centers, school sites, public buildings, medical facilities, local parks and any other location where normal means of communications has failed.

IDEC members undergo continual training which hone their skills and abilities in providing emergency communications to the PD. In addition, IDEC members receive training in routine duties that police and fire personnel might be not be able to perform due to overriding obligations as a result of a cataclysmic event. IDEC's motto is OBSERVE AND COMMUNICATE.

IDEC's Board of Directors is comprised of five voting members: Captain, Lieutenant and three Sergeants. The IDEC Board is responsible for setting the mission, goals and training objectives for the group. 

IDEC members are divided into three geographic teams that mirror the Irvine Police Departments Geo Policing areas of Portola, Crossroads, and University. One of the IDEC Sergeants leads each team.

A partial list of IDEC’s technical capabilities, experience and training include:


  • Two UHF repeaters, one located at City Hall, and one on a nearby hill top each with emergency power back-up. Both digital controllers feature telephone access and Digital Voice Recording (DVR). Coverage is Citywide.


  • Emergency communication ComBoxes are located at all high schools in the city of Irvine. Each is equipped with a dual band amateur radio, laptop computer, printer, and can be powered by AC or battery. They have voice and packet (digital text) capability. These schools are designated emergency shelters.


  • A dedicated IDEC radio room within the IPD complex sits across from the Emergency Operations Center.  The room contains amateur UHF/VHF radios, a packet station with mailbox capabilities, an APRS monitoring station, a Winlink station, and other communications tools nessary to manage the Mission of IDEC.


  • IDECers participate in two drills and various public service events each year to sharpen communications skills and develop a sense of “team.”


  • IDECers are offered a varying number of classes including first aid, CPR, lectures and hands-on exercises in subjects ranging from First Response Training to HAZMAT recognition, emergency shelter management, windshield surveys, etc.


  • At the Operations Support Facility (OSF) off of Sand Canyon in East Irvine, a 28-foot tower with munti-band HF antenna, and a 20-foot tower with UHF/VHF antenna are ready for immediate use if necessary. 


  • Periodically IDEC offers a weekend class to become an FCC licensed amateur radio operator--a basic IDEC requirement.


  • IDEC participates in the annual ARRL Field Day emergency operation exercise which is held in June.


  • IDEC operates ComVan, a self contained amateur radio equipped mobile communications vehicle with associated lighting trailer. This forms an important element in the IPD’s “Circle the Wagons” concept of emergency preparedness, communications and command and control.

If you are a Ham, interested in public service and giving some of your time, talent and expertise back to the city in which you either work or live, then IDEC might just be what you have been looking for.