Oregon community manages first responder network
| 08.07.2005 | 13:13:10 | Views: 3217 | ID:
August 7 '05: A new wireless internet network has been established in eastern Oregon to help local law enforcement and first responders in the area protect the large stockpiles of chemical weapons being stored there. Nerve and Mustard gas, along with 220,604 munitions and 7.4 million pounds chemical weapons are being kept in Hermiston and Umatilla, Oregon. The weapons are slated to be incinerated starting this summer but in the meantime, worries that an attack on the depots could send deadly nerve gas clouds into neighboring communities has encouraged the local governments to invest in creating a wireless internet communications system which connects community officials and first responders over an area of 600 square-miles.
The Portland Business Journal covered the story when the network was launched in February. The PBJ reported an extensive project which would provide "wireless access to the [i]nternet at speeds that are five to 10 times faster than service on a T1 or DSL wireline."The network was built by EZ Wireless LLC of Hermiston, a private corporation, owned by Fred Ziari. Ziari told the PBJ the partnership of local governments and the private sector helped to create the project. "They were very supportive," Ziari said of the cooperation involved in building the towers and relay stations. The PBJ reported that initially, the Morrow County Emergency Management department signed a two-year contract with EZ Wireless for access to the network. The County wanted to use it to allow the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program to administer the "plumes" from incinerating chemicals coming from Umatilla Chemical Depot. If there were an emergency, the PBJ wrote, first responders, police, firefighters and medical emergency workers would "be able to control traffic during any evacuations, and relay medical information ahead to hosptials if people [were] hurt." Casey Beard, the director of Morrow County Emergency Management said the service was invaluable. "You could call us a core tenant," Beard told the PBJ. According to Daily Wireless, first responders and law enforcement officials in the Eastern Oregonian wireless cloud are able to "obtain information from any location within the city and while mobile using a laptop, or handheld PDA. They can securely connect to their office network or to the [i]nternet while in the field to allow them to respond to emergencies fast and effectively." Daily Wireless also found several other areas in the US that are beginning to build wireless systems over wide areas, essentially incorporating them into the greater infrastructure. Louisville, Kentucky; Houston County, Georgia; and Wake County in North Carolina all have built wireless systems similar to the one in Oregon.
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