Sunday, May 20, 2007

Inside Bay Area - Skeptics question radio network - "HAYWARD (CA)— Proponents of a regionwide public safety radio network like to use the two antennae high atop Walpert Ridge as a Tower of Babble-like metaphor for the Bay Area's communication problems.

One tower belongs to Alameda County, the other to the city of Hayward. But because they serve incompatible systems, their close proximity doesn't help when a county deputy wants to radio a message to a city police officer. ... Before they solve the technological problem, organizers of the proposed new government network, to be called the East Bay Regional Communications Authority, are having a tough time getting through the political one. More than 30 local governments in Alameda and Contra Costa counties are being asked to commit some money and agree to a joint powers authority that is being questioned for its vagueness."
Uncle Sam Gets A (Second) Life - Government - "The Department of Homeland Security also said it might set up a [Second Life] virtual island for the Safecom program, which is an integration and engineering project for connecting wireless first-response system across federal, state and local agencies. This comes a couple of years after the private island named "Response" was created in Second Life to simulate emergency response behavior to threats. Funded by DHS, the Synthetic Environments for Emergency Response Simulation (SEERS) project provides mission rehearsal and virtual prototyping tools for the emergency response community."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Lieberman and Collins express serious concerns over ‘major weaknesses’ in disaster communication plans for US first responders: "Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., have expressed disappointment that the Department of Homeland Security has not moved more efficiently to improve its interoperability communications program and warned that without a strategic approach and firm leadership first responders will continue to be imperiled because of an inability to communicate effectively during an emergency or disaster.

In a letter dated April 24, 2007, to Department Secretary Michael Chertoff, the senators expressed serious concern about the ability of first responders at all levels of government to communicate during a disaster. "

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

More on Interoperability Scorecards from the Heritage Foundation: Improving Emergency Communications: Lessons from Grading America's Cities: "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released Tactical Interoperable Communications Scorecards: Summary Report and Findings on January 3, 2007. The report assesses 75 metropolitan areas' progress in strengthening communications systems for dealing with all types of emergencies, from terrorist incidents to natural disasters."