NIST working on first responder communications systems
| 11.14.2005 | 05:55:59 | Views: 2320 | ID:
November 14 '05: An "intelligent" network that can self-organize and allow first responders to communicate during a crisis is part of a project by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology which will issue a final report "on the first phase of the project by the end of the year," GovExec.com reported last week. "The goal of the project is to create standards language that could be understood by all official groups that respond to emergencies."
David Holmberg, a mechanical engineer at NIST told GovExec one of the largest hurdles was not the technological aspect of the project but the agreement of the language/communications to be used that was posing the largest hurdle. "The technology is not the issue; it is the standards that are the issue," he said.Ever since the 9/11 commission report highlighted the failure of New York City police and firefighters' ability to communicate with each other and those in the World Trade Center towers rescuing people, the federal government has been working to install a way for various first responder agencies to communicate with each other. The report found that the fire and police departments considered themselves "operationally autonomous. As of September 11, they were not prepared to comprehensively coordinate their efforts in responding to a major incident." The wireless network being developed would "provide real-time data from sensors and video cameras. Firefighters could use laptop computers to track the spread of a developing fire on a floor plan before they reach a building," GovExec found. Derek Orr, the program manager for public-safety communications systems told GovExec the ultimate goal is to have a communications system that "will be available using equipment from multiple manufacturers, that they are transparent to the user, requiring little or no special knowledge of the system, and that they are not dependent on common frequency assignments."
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