The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have called upon industry to develop a low-cost and secure communications, network management and situational awareness system for the U.S. military, public safety agencies and commercial clients.
Today was an exciting day at West 2010--and I'm not talking about the dynamic speakers and exhibitors.
Beginning this month, 14 government agencies across the U.S. are part of a pilot program testing a new multiband radio that enables first responders to talk to each other across frequency bands.
CHICAGO - Michael Byrne, former member of the New York City Fire Department, started out the discussion about how technology can save money with a bold statement: "Web 2.0 is biggest shift in how we communicate since the introduction of the telegraph." At an afternoon break-out session at the National Conference on Emergency Communications, he backed up this statement by explaining that social networking capabilities have replaced traditional one-way communications with dialogue. "It's a dialogue that's taking place that makes it faster to get input from the constituents then ever before," he stated.
CHICAGO - National Conference on Emergency Communications attendees interested in grants to fund local programs heard about recent changes to the program during a Thursday session titled "Show Me the Money: Understanding the Grants Process." The Honorable W. Ross Ashley III, FEMA Grant Programs Directorate, DHS, pointed out that partnership is not only the key theme for this conference but also for his directorate.
CHICAGO - Juliette Kayyem, assistant secretary for intergovernmental programs, DHS, led off Thursday afternoon's interactions at the National Conference on Emergency Communications. Kayyem came to the federal government from her position with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where she was the governor's go-to person for homeland security.
CHICAGO - Day two of the National Conference on Emergency Communications demonstrated that, as hoped, networking is the norm for this event. The chatter from first responder organization representatives from throughout the United States before the morning break-out sessions was nearly deafening.
CHICAGO - Two case studies were the topic of discussion during the final presentation of the first day of the National Conference on Emergency Communications. The discussions centered around two large-scale multijurisdictional responses: one unplanned and one planned.
CHICAGO - Both federal and local emergency response leaders opened the first formal session of the National Conference on Emergency Communications by inviting attendees to share openly success stories as well as the challenges they face. More than 450 representatives from emergency response organizations are attending the conference, including personnel from the military as well as large and small U.S. communities and Guam, Hawaii, the United Kingdom and Canada.
CHICAGO - The first National Conference on Emergency Communications opened today with the goal of creating a national forum for emergency responders. In addition, the conference has been designed to clarify roles and initiatives the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) and its partner programs are leading.