Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bridge crash report lists radio problems -- Chesapeake Bay: "Rescue workers from five state agencies were unable to communicate with each other by radio when they responded to a fatal crash on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in May, though officials said command procedures in place mitigated the issue.

'We're not aware that it materially affected the incident,' said John Contestabile, the Maryland Department of Transportation's director of engineering and emergency services. Battalion Chief Michael Cox, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, said rescue workers from his county and from Queen Anne's County had radios that used the same technology.

Although the state agencies didn't, commanders were able to manage the response by using protocols developed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Cox said. Representatives from each agency assembled at a command post so that decisions made there could be communicated to all rescue workers in the field, Cox said."
FCC continues debate over public safety network: "At a conference of public safety groups earlier this month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said the FCC’s decision to authorize a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders is historic. But he also pointed out that rules are not yet set for how that network will be shared with commercial providers and possibly other public safety networks."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Appropriators question funding for emergency wireless project: "The integrated wireless network, known as IWN, is currently one of the most expensive items in Justice's information technology basket and it is at high risk of failure, the report stated. Unless the deficiencies are addressed, such a system 'may not be developed and the resulting separate agency communications systems may not be adequate in the event of another terrorist attack or natural disaster.'

The House-passed appropriations bill, H.R. 3093, would fund the project at $81.3 million -- the same as the agency's budget estimate. But the Senate measure, S. 1745, would provide $76.3 million. The program got $89 million in fiscal 2007.

In the Senate committee report, lawmakers expressed concern about 'lagging progress, as well as the recurring costs of the conversion' to narrowband operations. The panel also noted that an aging infrastructure has been an impediment to implementation."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Burbank, Glendale Seek Link: "BURBANK — The future of a multi-agency response system in Burbank and Glendale is safe, even as Los Angeles County is pursuing a countywide network of its own. Conflict arose earlier this year as it became apparent that Burbank, Glendale and four other cities participating in the Interagency Communications Interoperability System, known as ICIS — which allows public safety departments to communicate across jurisdictional lines — were competing against the county for federal funding. advertisement

While county officials are seeking money for a planned network — called the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System — local system participants are also vying for federal help to finance maintenance and upgrades for an infrastructure that has been in place since 2003. That bred uncertainty among legislators in Washington, D.C., as competing requests came in from county and local officials pursuing similar technologies with similar goals in the same area."
Virginia to Cache First Responder Radio Systems - Government Technology "Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today announced that the commonwealth will establish three strategic radio caches in Chesapeake, Fairfax County, and the Harrisonburg region to improve the state's ability to establish communications in the wake of a disaster or other large-scale emergency."

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Missouri law enforcement agencies will get funding: "SIKESTON — Local law enforcement agencies are among those receiving federal Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program Interoperable Communications Grant funding but have not yet received official word along with how much they will get."