First National Conference on Emergency Communications Opens in Chicago

April 22, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

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.

Representatives from the federal government will be listening to conference attendees from state, local and regional organizations to improve their understanding of the challenges they face as well as the successes they have achieved. In a pre-conference conversation, Taylor Heard, deputy director, OEC, DHS, emphasized the importance of events such as these that allow key emergency response personnel not only to discover interoperability challenges but also meet each other face to face.

Establishing a forum for peer mentoring and feedback on topics critical to the evolution of emergency communications capabilities across the United States is one of the outcomes the OEC hopes to achieve during this event. Another objective is identifying OEC as the focal point within the federal government for support to the emergency response community. Through presentations and break-out sessions, attendees will learn about the DHS' common vision for coordinating communications at the federal, state, local and tribal levels. Implementation of the National Emergency Communications Plan is central to discussions that will take place.

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