Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Virginia Creates Interoperable Radio Caches

From GovTech:

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced [Aug. 6] that the commonwealth will establish three strategic radio caches in Chesapeake, Fairfax County, and the Harrisonburg region to improve the state's ability to establish communications in the wake of a disaster or other large-scale emergency.

Chesapeake and Fairfax County each will receive $1.9 million in grants, and Harrisonburg-Rockingham County will receive $1.2 million, to establish the radio caches. The localities submitted regional proposals that allow for the deployment of the equipment statewide, if requested.

These regional radio caches will consist of a portable radio tower and between 300 and 500 radios in various frequency bands. The State Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) established a team of local and state officials that developed minimum requirements for the radio caches.
Though it's not clear to me exactly how the caches will work in practice (e.g., training on the equipment, distribution during an emergency, etc.), Virginia has done the right thing by seeking the close involvement of local officials. But perhaps this isn't surprising. Earlier this year, the First Response Coalition reported that Virginia was doing a good job on the "governance" element of establishing statewide interoperability. Said the FRC:
Virginia led groundbreaking efforts in creating statewide communications interoperability plans and the model is promoted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to all other states.

(snip)

[T]he Commonwealth of Virginia has received national recognition for its partnership with the SAFECOM program to develop a stakeholder driven interoperability governance structure and Statewide Strategic Plan.
"Governance" is generally suggested as the biggest hurdle to establishing interoperable systems (see this post), so this is something of an achievement.

1 comment:

KB3JUV said...

To tell you the truth, Virginia is one state that is on top of its interoperability program. Right now, they are partners in the National Capital Region Radio program with Fairfax County (I took some pictures of their cache trailers, check it out on http://picasaweb.google.com/kb3juv/2007CommandControlAndCommunicationsVehicleRally) and was really impressed. Obviously they need it as they are a very huge state, with lots of different types of radios and lots of federal involvement.