Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Former DHS secretary Ridge discusses critical issues facing public safety: "What role do interoperable communications play?
That’s a really sensitive point with me there. I am very disappointed that one of the most important recommendations from the 9/11 Commission Report, sanctioned by Congress, before which I testified and around which many great recommendations were made … that the very high priority they gave to a public-safety interoperable communications systems continues to be ignored.

Right now, we have patchwork, a piecemeal of technologies. At the end of the day, what this country needs, what the first responders deserve, what citizens should demand is that there’s a public safety broadband interoperable communication system built. … I can’t imagine that there’s one first responder who disagrees with me."

Friday, August 07, 2009

More Support Required to Fill Emergency Communication Gaps: "Limitations in communications for first responders rushing to a large-scale disaster, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks or Hurricane Katrina, continue to linger due in part to delays in the establishment of a federal emergency communications center, which would provide assistance in overcoming those obstacles, congressional investigators said Monday.

Federal agencies have worked to help equip local first responders to react to catastrophic events that could overwhelm their communications capacities, but limitations in collaboration and monitoring threaten to minimize federal contributions, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded in a report titled 'Emergency Communications: Vulnerabilities Remain and Limited Collaboration and Monitoring Hamper Federal Efforts.'"
Proposed alerting system sounds promising | Commercial Mobile Alert Service: "While considerable focus has been put on the need for better communications within the first-responder community, communications with the public being served and protected also needs considerable attention. In an increasingly mobile society, traditional alerting tools like the emergency broadcast system may not get the message to the growing number of people who rely almost solely on a handheld device to stay in touch with the world."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

US, Britain testing new ways to coordinate battlefield communications and track combat troops: "British military officials are testing new technologies that they say will make operations with the United States and other coalition partners more efficient and responsive to threats.

More important, British officials say, they will be able to give a better accounting of troop locations on the battlefield, making for quicker action and avoiding friendly-fire incidents.

Brig. David Cullen, commander of the British 12th Mechanized Regiment, said this week that closing gaps between British and American systems is critical, especially given the complex operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Combat units need to exchange critical information, such as the location of improvised explosive devices, those roadside bombs that have become the insurgent's weapon of choice."

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

First-responder Communications Remain Vulnerable: "It will take more than the spectrum freed up by the DTV transition to fix the nation’s fractured first-responder communication systems. In a report to a Senate Commerce subcommittee, the Government Accountability Office provided a list of vulnerabilities, including antiquated phone lines, incompatibility between jurisdictions and facilities that won’t hold up under natural disasters.

“Continuity of communications, capacity, and interoperability are the primary areas of vulnerability in emergency communications that persist in communities across the country,” the report, based on six case studies, stated. 
Schools Find Role in National Emergency Communications Plan: "A school district in Colorado launched a new two-way radio training program for all school staff on Monday, and became the first in the nation to formally align its school safety plans with the Department of Homeland Security's vision for interoperable radio communications to improve coordination among agencies responding to emergencies.

At the all-day inaugural training workshop, Pueblo County School District 70 (D70) school principals learned how to effectively use two-way radio communications according to the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) and the Incident Command System (ICS)."