Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Gateways — the good, the bad and the ugly: "Today's gateways have lots of functionality, such as being able to connect any device that produces an audio signal (voice) and pass that transmission (message) to any other device that is capable of receiving audio signals. Those audio devices include portable and mobile public safety radios, telephones (landline, cellular and satellite), the internet or a local area network (LAN), dispatch consoles, CB radios, family service radios, you get the hint."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Who's Who in an Emergency: "Credentialing efforts for emergency responders are branching out to include telecommunications and utilities specialists, nurses and other private-sector workers.

But questions remain about who will pay for the initiatives and how extensive they will be. The Homeland Security Department has begun work on two aspects of credentialing. First is the effort to define and organize emergency responders into categories, such as hazardous-materials firefighters, psychiatric nurses and water rescue specialists."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Virginia Establishes State Communications Interoperability Committee: "Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today signed an Executive Order establishing a State Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) to help coordinate the commonwealth's efforts to allow public safety agencies to communicate with one another through secure and reliable communications programs and systems

The SIEC will continue to keep relevant organizations involved in decisions on interoperable communication efforts. It will be comprised of various associations that represent the local first-responder perspective, a critical element that allows the SIEC to serve as a voice for that community. "
House passes emergency-communications bill: "The U.S. House of Representatives [on 7/25] overwhelmingly passed a bill that would create a national interoperability office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and mandates that equipment purchased with DHS grants comply with interoperability standards."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: "The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has approved legislation Thursday authored by Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Joe Lieberman (D-CT) that would reform the nation’s emergency management system to enable it to better prepare for and respond to a disasters. Entitled the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act, the bill would implement many of the findings of the Committee's Hurricane Katrina report, including reconstituting FEMA, improving emergency staffing, strengthening enhancing planning and preparedness, facilitating better communications and interoperability capabilities among emergency responders, improving emergency assistance programs, and reducing waste, fraud, and abuse. ...

[It would] Enhance emergency communications capabilities by consolidating several communications programs within a new Office of Emergency Communications within FEMA, requiring a national emergency-communications strategy, coordinating establishing dedicated grants to states and localities for interoperable communications, and regularly assessing the operability and interoperability of the communication systems that are essential for disaster response. "
DHS communications project faces cancellation (7/28/06): "A digital interoperable communications tool used to support hurricane response faces cancellation by the Homeland Security Department, according to sources close to the initiative. DHS reportedly issued an order in mid-July to Ohio-based nonprofit government contractor Battelle to immediately stop development work on Disaster Management, an 8-year-old project that the Office of Management and Budget designated in 2002 as one of 24 e-government initiatives."
ARRLWeb: Emergency Communications Bill Includes Amateur Radio as Interoperability Agent: "A bill to enhance emergency communication at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) includes Amateur Radio operators as part of an overall effort to provide interoperability among responders. The 21st Century Emergency Communications Act of 2006 (HR 5852), an amendment to the Homeland Security Act of 2002, passed the US House this week on a 414-2 vote and has gone to the Senate. Its sponsor, Rep David G. Reichert (R-WA) -- who chairs the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science and Technology -- says his legislation is designed 'to improve the ability of emergency responders to communicate with each other' -- interoperability."
U.S. Conference of Mayors - Survey": "As the nation approaches the five-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, led by Conference President and Dearborn Mayor Michael A. Guido, held a media forum at the National Press Club today discussing the state of disaster preparedness in America's cities. .....

Survey Results:

Survey responses were received from 183 cities representing 38 states in the nation, and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Cities with populations up to 100,000 comprise the largest group of respondents (104); cities in 100,001 to 300,000 population range comprise the next largest group (49). Twenty- nine (30) respondents are in the 300,001 and up range.

Some of the key findings of the survey include:

1. When asked have cities received sufficient federal resources to achieve full communications interoperability -- so that first responders can talk to each other and key assets, 80 percent said no. This figure was fairly consistent for all population ranges.

2. When then asked how far away cities are from having full communications interoperability, the average response was 4 years."
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Awards $42.2 Million Contract to SRA: "SRA International, Inc. (NYSE: SRX), a leading provider of technology and strategic consulting services and solutions to federal government organizations, announced that it has been awarded a competitive contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide strategy and execution support services to the Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC). The task order, awarded under the General Services Administration Federal Supply Schedule, has an estimated value of $42.2 million over 45 months if all options are exercised."