September 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm #141496
According to an article in GovTech, the Governor’s Office of Information and Technology (OIT) in Colorado is launching a new radio training program for law enforcement and other first responders. While other states have started programs such as this, Colorado’s is the largest and “most ambitious yet”.
The Colorado Interoperability Training Program will focus on teaching a set of standards that will give a diverse group of professionals a better understanding of radio equipment and a shared language to be used both during emergencies and for day-to-day communications.
OIT is working with the Department of Homeland Security to train for incident escalation, National Emergency Communications Plans, signal encryption and radio caches. This training will occur both in the classroom and online.
What do you think about this program? Is it smart to continue training in radio communication, or should we move on to newer forms of technology?
Unique Radio Standards Training Debuts in Colorado
September 19, 2011 at 5:32 pm #141502
As someone who is both an amateur radio operator and a volunteer with Cal Fire, California’s State Fire Department, I think it is important to blend both newer and more established technologies.
Despite the marketing claims of every cellular provider, they simply cannot be counted upon for the *life and death* infrastructure needed for emergency dispatch. Now, that’s not to say that trusted private radio communications can’t be augmented with smartphone/data services (Cal Fire does that with its command structure, who all have Blackberries to pass important but not life safety information), however, dedicated two-way radio communication will continue to be the most effective and safest means to dispatch emergency services.
Additionally, for an agency such as Cal Fire, which responds to wildland fire incidents in areas with very little to no cellular coverage, reliable two-way radio is simply the only effective means of maintaining critical communications.
Put this a different way – would you like to be the person who’s house is burning or you’re having a heart attack, and be relying on AT&T, Verizon, et. al. to have their infrastructure working so that fire and EMS services can be dispatched, or would you rather they have dedicated two-way *instant* communication with their dispatch teams?
September 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm #141500
What newer forms of technology are you thinking about?
When DC tried to evacuate on 9/11 cell towers and even phone lines were jammed. Even the Internet news sites like CNN were overloaded. However the radio in my car worked fine and the broadcast kept us informed of the traffic situation.
In emergency situations radio works, the “new” technologies not so much.
September 20, 2011 at 2:12 pm #141498
I agree with the general consensus here that radio is still king in this arena. Like Ed and Guy have said, while certain new technologies might augment radio communication, I’m not really sure there is anything that is near replacing it’s reliability and effectiveness in law enforcement, or any emergency management field.
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