Saturday, May 28, 2005

Maryland Interoperability Project Coming Online: "The week's widely publicized prediction of a severe 2005 hurricane season coincided with the quiet unveiling of a state-managed emergency radio network on the Eastern Shore, the first communications system of its kind to go online in Maryland. An anticipated busy hurricane season also fuels speculation that a state emergency management field office could soon open on the Eastern Shore, an expected topic of discussion at the annual meeting of county emergency services agencies that begins Tuesday in Ocean City. This week state and local emergency management officials touted 'MESIN,' the Maryland Eastern Shore Interoperability Network, a nine-county radio system that protects lines of communications between agencies in the eastern part of the state during a crisis."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

California Assembly Bill Analysis: "[AB 1559] Requires the California Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee (CALSIEC) and the Public Safety Radio Strategic Planning Committee (PSRSPC) to form a joint committee to prepare a specified report to the Legislature on or before February 1, 2006, with findings and recommendations for implementing a statewide communications interoperability system."

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Radio History - California Performance Review: "Summary - California state government's radio networks were created by various state agencies, which manage and maintain them separately. The state could achieve significant savings by consolidating the management of existing independent radio communications resources into a single entity offering a centralized and technologically versatile radio network capable of assimilating newer technologies."
Horizontal Leadership: Bridging the Information Gap - Fellow Blogspotter Donald Clark discusses lessons-learned in Iraq about vertical and horizontal information flows, including interesting details about the efficacy of rolling commo relays amongst frontline troops and TMI at the rear. How much can public safety agencies learn about communications interoperability from military experience?

Check out Don's Performance, Learning, Leadership & Knowledge Blog.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Disaster software standards may get muscle from DHS: "The Homeland Security Department could supercharge emergency management software standards by requiring the department’s grantees to purchase compliant equipment. The Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate—also known as FEMA, its acronym from when it was the Federal Emergency Management Agency—is sponsoring the development of emergency management software standards via its Disaster Management e-government initiative. Chip Hines, program manager for the initiative, said FEMA is considering mandating these data interoperability standards for first responders and other disaster management organizations that receive department grants.

“We probably would like to see grant language that would say that if you are going to buy software that does incident management, it should be compatible with the following standards,” Hines said during the recent FOSE trade show. "
Houston Cops Take On Fire Calls: Top News Stories at "Houston cops are now dashing to fires to alongside firefighters as part of a post 9/11 effort to improve communication between the two agencies.

'Ever since 9/11, we read in a lot of reports that was a major problem with the emergency response -- that no one could communicate with each other,' said Senior Houston Police Officer Pat Siddons.

Siddons, a former volunteer firefighter and a 21-year Houston police veteran, initiated a joint response program in which several designated police officers carry fire department pagers and respond 24 hours a day to multiple alarm incidents."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

GAO Reports Referencing Communications Interoperability: Over the past year and a half, the United States Government Accountability Office has examined and referred to interoperability issues in several reports. Here is a list and links:

GAO-05-380 - April 2005 - Protecting Structures and Improving Communications during Wildland Fires
GAO-05-121 - February 2005 - Management of First Responder Grant Programs Has Improved, but Challenges Remain
GAO-04-740 - July 2004 - Federal Leadership and Intergovernmental Cooperation Required to Achieve First Responder Interoperable Communications
GAO-04-494 - April 2004 - Key Cross-Agency Emergency Communications Effort Requires Stronger Collaboration
GAO-04-231T - November 2003 - Challenges in Achieving Interoperable Communications for First Responders

Monday, May 09, 2005

Talk Is Cheap, but for Safety, It's Priceless: "NEW YORK CITY - Why is the place always in such a hurry? There are those who actually argue that nearly four years after their city was brutally attacked by terrorists, the Police and Fire Departments should agree on how well they communicate with each other, when they should communicate, and when they should want to communicate with each other. The City Council is in such a rush, it is holding a hearing today on the cooperation, or lack of same, between the two great city agencies. Maybe it will get some clarification about communications as it examines the Bloomberg administration's plan for putting the Police Department in charge of any chemical or biological attack.

Because not only four years after Sept. 11, but 12 years after the first attack on the World Trade Center, there are still questions."