Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

September 16, 2011
This month our Nation marked the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The events of that day revealed just how important coordination and interoperable communications are to the critical work of emergency responders who save lives, every day, in our cities and towns across the Nation. While the attacks were dramatic and tragic events for our Nation, they highlighted the concerns about the vital need for improved emergency communications and were an important catalyst for change.
Over the last ten years, we have made significant progress to improve emergency communications capabilities. Since its inception in 2007, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) has worked with our partners at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels to ensure emergency responders can share information—voice and data—with each other during emergencies and day-to-day operations. Through these partnerships, we have shared best practices and insights to develop solutions that benefit stakeholders across disciplines and jurisdictions.
To highlight advancements made by stakeholders, OEC has published five case studies. These case studies align with the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum— the critical success factors that help jurisdictions achieve interoperability—governance, standard operating procedures, technology, training and exercises, and usage. Through these case studies, OEC is highlighting examples from various jurisdictions across the Nation so that others will be able to understand the complexities of interoperability and determine how the innovative solutions included in the studies might help them overcome their own barriers.
The case studies include: 
  • Governance—New York City Interagency Communications Committee as an example of how jurisdictions are demonstrating the capability of managing a regional committee working within a multi-state framework
  •  Standard Operating Procedures—Minnesota Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response (ARMER) as an example of comprehensive interoperability achieved through procedures and protocols governing response designed prior to an incident 
  • Technology—Delaware Statewide Emergency Communications System as an example of a standards-based, regionally-shared system that supports more than 14,000 subscribers from 247 different local, State, Federal, and non-governmental agencies, processing more than 115,000 interoperable communications calls on a routine day
  • Training and Exercises—Washington State Integrated Interoperable Communications Plan, developed in preparation for the 2010 Olympic Games, as an example of an interagency communications plan adapted into a two-day curriculum enabling students to apply their new communications skills through a series of tabletop exercises
  • Usage—Louisiana Wireless Information Network (LWIN), developed as part of the recovery efforts of Hurricane Katrina, as an example of a multijurisdictional system that provided vital support to local, State, and Federal responders during responses to Hurricane Gustav and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
These case studies highlight just a few examples of the tremendous progress made in the field of emergency communications since that tragic day in 2001. While much has been accomplished towards achieving nationwide interoperability in the last ten years, there is still work to be done. As new technologies and their capabilities are explored, the principles that have worked to date cannot be overlooked. The ability of public safety officials to effectively communicate is essential to saving lives and property. OEC and our stakeholder partners will continue working together to ensure progress is made and the citizens of the Nation are provided the highest level of safety and security possible.
For more information or to request a PDF copy of the case studies, contact OEC@dhs.gov.