Friday, January 23, 2009

Napolitano cites need to help state, local governments: "President-elect Obama's pick to lead the sprawling Homeland Security Department today pledged to forge better relationships with state and local governments, especially when it comes to dealing with the large price tag of some homeland security-related activities.

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during her confirmation hearing that one of the main reasons she was selected to lead the department is because she has experience dealing with homeland security issues at the state and local government level.

'The federal government cannot do the homeland security function alone,' she said. 'That is something that I hope to spend a great deal of effort on.'

She indicated she would seek more funding to help state and local governments buy radios that are interoperable, allowing emergency responders to communicate with each other across jurisdictions and during disasters. She said the lack of funding for interoperable radios, along with the lack of technical expertise within the federal government, has stymied efforts in states like Arizona."
Senate nears deal to delay digital TV transition: "The Senate appeared close to agreement late Thursday on a bill to delay next month's planned transition from analog to digital television broadcasting to June 12 — setting the stage for a vote early next week. Senate Republicans last week blocked Democratic efforts to push back the Feb. 17 deadline for the analog shutoff. The Democrats cited mounting concerns that too many Americans who rely on analog TV sets to pick up over-the-air broadcast signals won't be ready."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

APCO Asks Obama to Consider National Broadband Network Funding : "In a letter to President-Elect Barack Obama, Chris Fischer, president of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, expressed the organization’s support for federal funding for the development of a national public-safety network in the 700 MHz spectrum."
Sprint Nextel Requests $2B for Emergency Network: "Sprint Nextel asked Barack Obama’s transition team to fund a $2 billion emergency network to make first responders better able to communicate during disasters. The company outlined its 5-year plan to Obama's transition team in a letter earlier this month."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Buncefield: Hertfordshire Fire And Rescue Service's Review Of The Fire Response: "Buncefield: Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service's review of the fire response

The Explosion and fire at the Buncefield Oil Storage Depot involved 22 tanks. The main fires were extinguished in three days but the overall fire response lasted 26 days and 642 fire appliances were moved to the incident. This report sets out the chronological sequence of events and reviews the fire response. It covers pre-planning and pre-training; the response of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service; the response by other fire provider and supporting organisations; and presents the learning points of local, national, and international significance, which are drawn both from good practice at the incident and the areas that could have been improved."

[Ed: Correspondents advise that this report details communications issues in depth.]

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New York State Said to Be Close to Dropping Police Radio Project: "[New York] State officials are close to canceling a $2 billion contract to build a statewide wireless network for emergency agencies after critical tests on the network failed late last year, according to state officials briefed on the results.

Lawyers for the vendor, M/A-COM, a subsidiary of Tyco Electronics, sent the state a letter on Friday threatening to sue if officials follow through on their plan to shut down the project, which was intended to improve radio communications throughout the state, but particularly in remote areas where police agencies have trouble talking to one another."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

FCC's Plans to Boost Public Safety Wireless Interoperability Meets Obstacles: "Current FCC proceedings focus on creating a nationwide public-safety band for wireless communications among first responders. Ryan Hallahan and Jon Peha sum up the opportunities this rulemaking holds in their 2008 paper, Quantifying the Costs of a Nationwide Broadband Public Safety Wireless Network: 'The problems facing the public safety wireless communication systems in the U.S. could be significantly reduced or eliminated through the deployment of a single nationwide network that serves all public safety personnel.' On Sept. 25, 2008, the FCC released a Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking after the auction for the proposed public safety band failed to achieve its reserve price. The third notice strives to achieve 'the goal of a nationwide interoperable broadband wireless network for public safety entities.'"
PSST Pushes Emergency Spectrum Use: "The Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) wants President-elect Barrack Obama to make a proposed shared interoperable emergency communications network part of his proposed economic stimulus plan, arguing it could create millions of jobs, upgrade emergency communications, and provide the broadband link to underserved communities nationwide that Obama is seeking."