Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Push for first-responder interoperability begins: "As the nation pays close attention to its ability to deal with potential disasters; interoperability -- the ability for various emergency responders to communicate efficiently during a crisis -- has been on the forefront of discussions. To address interoperability capabilities, millions of dollars in Homeland Security Department grants are expected to become available in Missouri in July. Hoping to secure some of these funds to help address that issue locally, about 25 representatives of counties in the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop A region met in Concordia last Wednesday."

Monday, April 25, 2005

WOWT | Communication Fix: "ore than $23 million in federal Homeland Security grants will be used to bolster emergency communications across Nebraska. That word came Friday from Governor Dave Heineman. More than $18 million will go to 75 counties outside of greater Omaha, which this year was designated as a separate metro security area."

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Buffalo (MN) Mesh Network: "Buffalo is an early adopter of a technology known as a 'mesh network,' a wireless system that Schaumburg-based Motorola Inc. found so promising that it recently bought a leader in the field, MeshNetworks Inc. Buffalo's network, switched on two months ago, was the first under the Motorola name. ... Maitland, Fla.-based MeshNetworks, on the other hand, was just a step beyond a start-up when Motorola bought it earlier this year for $169 million. The firm was created in 2000 after buying mesh network rights from ITT Industries Inc. (which had originally designed the technology for the U.S. military). Its system is operating in five other cities: Medford, Ore., Cocoa Beach, Fla., Garland, Texas, Portsmouth, United Kingdom, and, on a test basis, Las Vegas.

The mesh starts with a network of radio transmitters that blanket a city, usually attached to light poles. The more hills and buildings--and the bigger the city--the more radios needed. In Buffalo, a flat town of 13,000 people, there are 83 radios spread out over 11.5 square miles. In addition, seven Buffalo police cars have mesh radios and 20 public works employees have mesh-enabled laptops in their vehicles."
IBM upgrades Fresno police communications systems - Computerworld: "By the end of June, police officers in Fresno, Calif., will begin using an improved emergency communications system that will give them the ability to view real-time video and receive photographs of suspects and other information as they respond to reports of crimes and other incidents. The new system, which is being built by IBM, is part of a project to augment a 7-year-old data communications system using the latest technologies. In an announcement today [4/4/2005], IBM said the system will also provide improved radio communications and allow officers to hold instant messaging conversations with colleagues in the field and at their stations."

Friday, April 08, 2005

Congressman Thompson Meets With Firefighters: "WASHINGTON, April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, (D-MS), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security met with representatives of various fire service associations to discuss funding for FIRE grants, the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response programs (SAFER), communications interoperability and the first responder bill.

Congressman Thompson stated, 'The Administration's budget cuts for firefighters are highly insulting and a slap in the face to the men and women who have devoted their time and effort to protect Americans from danger. It's imperative that we have full funding for the FIRE grants and SAFER programs, as they are programs that are critical to addressing the needs of fire services.' The fiscal year 2006 budget, reduces funding for the FIRE grant program by 25 percent, and suggests eliminating funding for the SAFER program.

Congressman Thompson also noted that congress is still working on achieving a First Responder's Bill that would reform grant funding for those called first to respond to terrorists attacks. In addition to the First Responders Bill, Representative Thompson mentioned his co-sponsorship of H.R. 1251, the Communications Interoperability Bill, introduced by Congresswoman Lowey which would require additional funding for first responders so they could effectively communicate with one another at disaster sites."

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Six Field Communications Vehicles to Improve Coordination at Major Emergencies: "Public Safety Secretary Edward A. Flynn recently announced the deployment of six regional fire safety field communication vehicles as part of the Massachusetts Regional Homeland Security Strategy.

'The 9/11 Commission identified interoperability -- the ability for commanders to communicate with each other at the scene of a major emergency -- as one of the top issues for public safety managers,' said Flynn. 'These six field communications units will be used to address interoperability issues among all public safety personnel at major incidents.'"

Friday, April 01, 2005

Massive federal wireless project [IWN] delayed: "The federal government has advised prospective vendors that it has delayed its schedule and changed its requirements for a multibillion-dollar makeover of federal wireless voice and data communications. In a 25-page amendment to the request for proposals for the Integrated Wireless Network, Justice Department procurement officials extended the due date for proposals and asked vendors to submit two types of cost proposals based on different deployment plans.

Today’s changes follow a proposal amendment issued March 2 that extended the potential duration of the project, which has an estimated cost of $10 billion, from five years to up to 15 years. Today’s amendment calls for bidders to present one “funding limited” deployment plan for the nationwide wireless voice and data system, along with an “unrestricted funding” approach to building the system. "