Communications are a critical service in an emergency. Experience has shown when communications systems fail, and they often do, assistance efforts are hampered and loss of life and injuries increase. Amateur Radio has a long history of providing auxiliary communications services to support emergency and social services. Amateur Radio (Ham) radio enthusiasts practice radio communications as a hobby, routinely talk around the globe, and are well equipped and trained to provide these services. The term 'amateur' refers only to the fact that it is a not-for-profit service and is not a reflection of the skill level. Practitioners include engineers, doctors, lawyers, blue-collar workers and others from all walks of life and many commercial communications applications were first developed by Amateur Radio hobbyists.
S.E.P.A.R.S. stands for Surrey Emergency Program Amateur Radio Society, an acronym of the City of Surrey’s Amateur Radio program. SEPAR is somewhat unique in that it is not an Amateur Radio club but a community service organization that includes both licensed Amateur Radio operators and other communications volunteers involved in the city emergency program.