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IE-719, Capstone Course_Pickett.ppt

  1. 1. Last Mile Network Access Infrastructure and Internet Protocol (IP) Unified Messaging Solutions For Emergency Response Crisis Management. Duane M. Pickett Capstone Course Professor Dr. Howard Van Horn April 15, 2008
  2. 2. Abstract <ul><li>The magnitude of the 9/11 attacks were so great that emergency services were overwhelmingly challenged in their response. While all public safety entities spend considerable time and resources planning for emergency scenarios, they found themselves in a situation far beyond anything comprehendible. A contributing factor in meeting the challenge was the inability to effectively communicate and share data. Many studies have been performed examining first responder communication interoperability issues, but few focused on new communication and data sharing methodologies and a means to provide them nationally. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The intent of this research is to (1) identify and evaluate unified messaging solutions that during a disaster enables communication in various forms for information sharing to include digital data, text messaging and voice is available to the appropriate managing parties and (2) to identify the components for a last mile network access infrastructure as this is critical for any messaging solution. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis will begin with (1) examining communication failures during the 9/11 attacks and other major disasters, (2) reviewing and advocating commercial IP communication technologies that can be leveraged for information sharing by first responders and applied to meet future disaster scenarios, and (3) identifying current network solution inadequacies and suggesting a means to meet them via redundant sources. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Intended Audience <ul><li>First responder managers and public safety user community officials, information technology professionals, government agencies in charge of emergency responses, others with an interest in improving communications during a large scale emergency or disaster. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Background: Communication Failure Scenarios <ul><li>New York </li></ul><ul><ul><li>According to one of the chiefs in the lobby, “One of the most critical things in a major operation like this is to have information. We didn’t have a lot of information coming in. We didn’t receive reports of what was seen from the NYPD helicopters. It was impossible to know how much damage was done on the upper floors, where the stairwells were intact or not.” According to another chief present, “People watching on TV certainly had more knowledge of what was happening a hundred floors above us than we did in the lobby….without critical information coming in… it’s very difficult to make informed, critical decisions.” [17] Page 298. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Background: Communication Failure Scenarios <ul><li>New York – Con’t </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ 120 firefighters were probably lost due the inadequacies of emergency communication network infrastructure as the fire personnel had ascended one of the towers but were unable to hear a commander on the ground, ordering them out of the building half an hour before it collapsed”. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Background: Communication Failure Scenarios <ul><li>Pentagon attack 9/11 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtually every aspect of communication was problematic from initial operations. Cellular phones were of little use during the first hours, and cellular service is not available to first responders. Pagers proved to be the most consistent means of notifications . [6] </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Background: Communication Failure Scenarios <ul><li>Katrina </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;The issue down in New Orleans was not one of interoperability,&quot; said Charles McQueary, head of the science and technology directorate of the Department of Homeland Security. The problem, rather, was one of &quot;operability,&quot; he said. &quot;As I understand it, communications towers were taken out. They didn't even have cell phone service. And so in that situation, the issue was needing to bring in emergency telecommunications.&quot; [15] </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Background: Communication Failure Scenarios <ul><li>These examples provide insight into deficiencies and lost opportunities during a major emergency response, negating a focused analysis of new and existing communication technologies to ensure effective collaboration and information sharing is maintained during future large scale crisis. Existing communication architectures can be leveraged together to act as a collaboration tool. Additionally, components for a last mile network access infrastructure must be implemented to ensure robust communication architecture is in place nationally. </li></ul>
  9. 9. IP Communication Variables <ul><li>Wireless </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wireless networks are often established by organizations for their own use or customer base. Over the past years, departments, small offices, remote offices and telecommuters have all implemented RF signaling technologies on their own, bypassing IT’s influence [16]. The complex and disconnected nature of these systems make it difficult to utilize them reliably in a uniform manner. Yet these networks have proven capable when used as a multi-hop mesh network. Wikipedia defines a wireless mesh network as, “A wireless mesh network is a communications network made of radio nodes in which there are at least two pathways of communication to each node. The coverage area of the radio nodes working as single network becomes a mesh cloud” [28]. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. IP Communication Variables – “Wireless” <ul><li>These networks can self form and self heal as wireless access points and clients interact. </li></ul><ul><li>However, depending on geographic areas and wireless implementation densities, these networks are not always accessible or are privately managed, leaving a void for first responders. </li></ul>
  11. 11. IP Communication Variables – “Cellular” <ul><li>Cellular networks are composed of cellular base stations and telephone switching offices. The base stations provide radio communication to mobile devices within its local cell. The cells are arranged in a honey comb pattern in order to ensure coverage of an area. The use of cellular technology has increased exponentially as users take advantage of mapping services, text messaging, music and gaming. The implementation of 3G, third generation cellular service, along with services such as EVDO (Evolution Data Only) has download speeds up to 2.4 Mbps making it faster than T1 or DSL broadband service. 4G is being deployed in Japan, and is boasting data rates to 20Mbs [17]. These generations are enabling telephones to become Internet computers, video phones and television receivers. Today there are over 233 million users in the US [23]. Industry statistics indicate that on average, fifty new cell towers are added each day [13]. However non-uniform coverage throughout the country can lower overall utilization of a cell and results in reduced location downlink throughput for mobile users. Even if the area has good coverage, reception may be poor in areas where cell phone traffic exceeds the network’s capacity. The networks capacity is limited by the number of channels (radio frequencies) it can use [19]. </li></ul>
  12. 12. IP Communication Variables – “Cellular” <ul><li>Problems with this as a sole communication media by first responders. During the 2003 San Diego Firestorms, some first responders relied on overused cellular telephone channels and faced cross-border radio interference </li></ul><ul><li>Coverage in rural areas is often limited even though the Telecommunications Act of 1996 aimed to “preserver and advance service” to include access to advanced services in all states and access in rural and high cost areas at comparable prices to other areas [5]. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>cost for a single cell phone tower can range from $500,000 and $1 million </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Additionally, there have been concerns of cellular towers impacting migratory birds. The Federal Communications Commission was seeking comment on the Avatar Environmental Report addressing migratory bird collisions with communication towers [7]. </li></ul>
  13. 13. IP Communication Variables – “Cellular” <ul><li>In a study by The MITRE Corporation in 2004, the Loudoun County Fire Department officials responded with, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The 100 percent coverage sought by public safety officials may still not be attainable since most commercial carriers do not provide service in scarcely populated areas. Furthermore, public safety work requires service penetration inside buildings to enable response to fire and emergency incidents” [15]. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. IP Communication Variables for Redundancy <ul><li>Wireless municipal WiFi </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Municipal Wi-Fi is a city wide wireless network based on the 802.11 standard [11]. While it is based on the wireless mesh network previously referenced, this operates on a municipal basis as a service to residence of a city. While many of these implementations have stalled do to lack of funding or political issues, the city of Minneapolis implementation proved the value of this type of network. During the I-35 bridge collapse, authentication was turned off on their municipal WiFi and additional Wi-Fi radios were installed to support first responder activities. Cellular service was overloaded within thirty minutes of the collapse. Wireless network users within the area of the disaster site exceeded 6,000 [21] enabling effective voice and data communication. Wi-Fi enabled phones were able to use the wireless network instead of their cellular service. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. IP Communication Variables for Redundancy, “Municipal Wi-Fi” <ul><li>Municipal Wi-Fi is still a developing technology, where some cities have initiated wireless mesh networks in the unlicensed 2.4GHz band in an attempt to reduce cost. Early installations implemented single radio infrastructures, where both the client access and mesh interconnection are sharing the same bandwidth. This practice has been found to not scale well and has had some cities halting installations. </li></ul>
  16. 16. IP Communication Variables for Redundancy, “Municipal Wi-Fi” <ul><li>More advanced practices are required to meet expectations of broadband access as richer sets of applications, consuming additional bandwidth are released. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples such as the dual radio mesh architectures where one radio is dedicated to Wi-Fi client access in the 2.4GHz range, and a second in the 5GHz range is dedicated to the wireless mesh backhaul system </li></ul>
  17. 17. IP Communication Variables for Redundancy, “Municipal Wi-Fi”
  18. 18. IP Communication Variables for Redundancy, “Municipal Wi-Fi” Promoting cost savings to replace conventional wired network infrastructure systems !
  19. 19. IP Communication Variables for Redundancy, “Satellite” <ul><li>Satellite communication is largely independent of terrestrial infrastructure, providing an additional alternative when terrestrial infrastructure is damaged or destroyed. </li></ul><ul><li>Can also provide additional bandwidth during peak usage area periods. </li></ul><ul><li>Satellite communications were instrumental following the Katrina disaster, “In many of the affected areas, satellites provided the only source of communication for hours, days, and weeks following the disaster” </li></ul>
  20. 20. IP Communication Variables for Redundancy, “Satellite” <ul><li>This technology has been applied to the cellular model for redundancy, allowing automatic failover to satellite WAN as a backup in case of terrestrial service outage, such as the fiber and infrastructure losses during Katrina </li></ul>
  21. 21. IP Communication Variables for Redundancy, “Satellite” <ul><li>The features of this technology enables global network services, to include emerging mobile communication networks that offer voice, video, and data via chips inserted into conventional hand held devices such as cellular phones, PDAs, and laptops. </li></ul>
  22. 22. IP Variables for Extended and Enhanced Communication <ul><li>“ Dual mode handsets” are devices that can access more than one type of network to include cellular, Wi-Fi, and satellite </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The growth in the deployment of these handsets has been tremendous, with research by Infoetics Research reflecting that growth will continue through 2010 by a compound annual growth of 198% [12] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These handsets provide fixed-mobile convergence not only providing expected fixed services, i.e. voicemail, text messaging, call features, VPN functionality, directory services, and conference calling, but also presence capabilities, messaging persistence, and supplementary features based on IP. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. IP Variables for Extended and Enhanced Communication- “VoIP” <ul><li>The implementation of voice over IP (VoIP) with unified communication offers extended capabilities and encourages communication functionality. VoIP is currently deployed in 45% of US businesses and organizations, with significant growth expected over the next two years. The migration from conventional PBX based systems to VoIP systems is strongly centered on reduction of cost and extended capabilities to include Unified Messaging solutions </li></ul><ul><li>While VoIP has not been considered a tool for first responders or their managers, it is a device with messaging capabilities already distributed through large organizations and businesses. In crisis management situations from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, or to recent attacks such as those at Virginia Tech, informing victims of the situation or steps to take could be monumental in saving lives. </li></ul><ul><li>Enabling first responder managers to be able to send messages to these devices when responding to an emergency is possible via a messaging application. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Overview of VoIP Components <ul><ul><li>Call Manager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Call Manager is responsible for tracking all active VoIP components (gateways, phones, conference bridges). It utilizes SCCP as a communication protocol for signaling of hardware endpoints and extends enterprise telephone capabilities to packet devices (IP phones, media devices, gateways). It also interacts with Microsoft Active Directory for user validation and user specific information. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TFTP Server </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The TFTP server provides preregistration information to devices, to include a list of CallManager servers with which the devices are to register, firmware loads and device configuration files. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publisher </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Publisher acts as the primary read-write data repository for all IP communication applications within the cluster. The Publisher’s database replicates database updates to all Subscriber (TFTP server) databases in the cluster. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VoIP Phone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cisco has a wide variety of IP phones to include basic models with single lines, to ones with multiple lines that can have various graphic displays to include high resolution color ones with touch screens. It should be noted that these devices can function as </li></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Overview of VoIP <ul><li>Traditional client/server model </li></ul><ul><li>Convergence of voice and data on one network allows an organization to integrate data applications such as web services and Active Directory. </li></ul><ul><li>Voice and data running on the same network, redundancy and resiliency becomes critical. There are obvious means to ensure network redundancy, with redundant links to switches and routers, HSRP to ensure router interfaces never fail, and following the manufactures best practices </li></ul>
  26. 26. Overview of VoIP, Cisco CallManager Cluster Implementation
  27. 27. Unified Communications <ul><li>In today’s world, regardless of the profession, there are many communication devices to include wired and wireless telephones, personal computers, pagers, PDAs, and specialized messaging systems. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These are used for collaboration, messaging and conferencing. Each communication device to an extent has functioned independently, with different addresses, databases, directories, and interfaces. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unified Communication solutions provide the ability to integrate these communication entities and collaboration applications. It reduces isolated communication channels and simplifies the process of connecting to others. This is accomplished with IP technology and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) where a single address reaches multiple devices, or intelligently routes voice and data messages to a predetermined communication device based on a user’s profile. </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Unified Communications <ul><li>Presence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Presence allows an individual to make their status known to others and to specify which communication mode is preferred depending on the time. The individual’s profile or their desktop can indicate their status prior to contact. The profile can determine if the individual is on their PC, on a VoIP phone, or on cellular phone or PDA. Intelligence in the technology directs calls or text messages to be sent to the appropriate profile. The intent is to eliminate searching and trying to communicate with someone as the message is sent to the correct device to a predetermined format, i.e. voice, text message, email. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Messaging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Messaging integrates voice and email into a single message repository. Messages become data objects that can be stored like email, meaning they can be shared, deleted, forwarded, or retrieved on different devices, namely on whatever device the user is on. Integrated calendar functions allow insight into others schedules for scheduling and collaboration planning. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration and ad hoc conferencing in virtual workspaces in real time allows for prompt decision making. The solution places calls to invite others while launching a conference session. These sessions can be audio only (PDA, cellular) or as a web conference to share documents, files, and videos in real-time. </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Unified Communications
  30. 30. Unified Communication: Screen shots of an Adhoc meeting on different IP devices to include a Windows Workstation, a PDA, a phone supporting text and audio only, VoIP phone, and a Macintosh laptop
  31. 31. Unified Communication by Divitas Client Enterprise WiFi Public WiFi Metro, Hotspot, Home Cellular DiVitas Appliance Internet Control
  32. 32. Unified Communication <ul><li>The versatility and strength of Unified Communications integrated with Fixed Mobile Convergence allows an enterprise, private, public or government agency the ability to effectively communicate and share data. </li></ul><ul><li>The applications, network, and devices can all remain under the enterprise’s control. Applying these technologies would enable first responder managers to effectively communicate with any media, i.e. cellular, text messaging, video, and Adhoc conferences, in a secure means. </li></ul>
  33. 33. IP Based Messaging Technologies <ul><li>Burbee Informacast </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to send messages to VoIP phones </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Allows messages to be sent to individuals, specific groups of users, or everyone within an organization. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Custom messages can be sent to a target phone(s) with an audible broadcast and a text message. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If someone is on the phone when the message is sent, the two voice streams are intermeshed so the user can receive both of them [27]. </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. IP Based Messaging Technologies Burbee Overview, DMPickett
  35. 35. Examples in Production: <ul><li>The FBI was quoted 2 million dollars for a stand alone PA system. The Berbee alternative took advantage of the existing VoIP technology for less that $100K. </li></ul><ul><li>The Department of Commerce (DoC) is in the process of eliminating several different paging and data systems to ensure that they have an effective emergency notification system. It proved much more cost effective to take advantage of the existing data network, incorporate a VoIP solution along with the Berbee solution instead of implementing numerous unique systems that could not interact together nor provide the wide area support that was needed. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Conclusion <ul><li>IP based technologies utilizing Unified Communications and Fixed Mobile Convergence hold promise for first responder managers, municipal leaders, and public safety officials. The ability to share information in text, video, or audio format and to provide critical personal information quickly, regardless of their location or the IP based device currently accessible to them, can provide a means for effective collaboration in emergency or disaster situations. </li></ul>
  37. 37. Conclusion: Disasters Revisted <ul><li>New York Attack: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fire Chiefs in lobby did not have information coming to them. Yet NYPD helicopters were taking video as they circled the towers. This could have been streamed to either a handheld device or a PC within a command center. Fire Chiefs also could not confer with other chiefs. Adhoc meetings that could have been created, joined and exited, with the audio, video, and text messages being saved (via CCM) for later review. The same technology could have been shared with 911 dispatchers who were just as blind to all aspects of the situation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The victims in the buildings were being told not to evacuate by 911 dispatchers, yet local FDNY management ordered the buildings evacuated before the collapse. The buildings remained standing for 102 minutes after impact. With a messaging solution, all phones could have displayed the messaged to evaluate. The same message would have been available to the dispatchers. FDNY and NYPD would have had the ability to send messages to each tower as well as to nearby buildings (VoIP required) with pertinent information. </li></ul></ul>
  38. 38. Related Research: <ul><li>UK 9/11: Will our Emergency Radio Networks Withstand a Major Disaster? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Current network infrastructure weakness examined in comparison to US 9/11 attacks. Evaluated police, firefighter, and ambulance staff’s responses and applied them to future UK emergencies and where improvements should be made. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The U.S. Department of Commerce: Rapid Response </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The DoC decided to allocate the $1 million towards an IP-based communications solution with emergency broadcast capabilities. It began to evaluate possible solutions from multiple vendors, including Cisco and Avaya, to satisfy this requirement. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Empowering First Responders – Peer to Peer Technology. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication and data sharing tools via P2P IP technology. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Review of Satellite and Cellular Integration in 2000. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>While this is an older paper, the concept of multiple networks collaborated into a last mile network is examined. Wildey, Chris G. “Satellite and Cellular Integrations: A Terminal Manufacture’s Perspective.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  39. 39. Research References: <ul><li>1. Blake, Charles; De Couto, Douglas; Lee, Hu Imm ; Li, Jinyang; Morris, Robert. “Capacity of Ad Hoc Wireless Networks” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>2. Burbee Informacast Documentation. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>3. Cisco Systems. “Evolution of Municipal Wireless Networks: Outdoor Wireless Networks Grow. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>4. Cumming, Johnathan. “Session Border Control in IMS” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>5. Economides, Nicholas. “Understanding the Telecommunication Act of 1996” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>6. Eversburg, Rudy. “The Pentagon Attack on 9-11”, Fire Engineering. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at” </li></ul><ul><li>7. FCC. “Wireless Telecommunications bureau extends period for comment on Avatar Environmental Report, regarding migratory bird collisions with communication towers” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gove/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-04-4021A1.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>8. FCC. Final Report of the Public Safety Wireless Advisory Committee to the Federal Communications Commission the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. September 11, 1996. </li></ul><ul><li>9. First Responder’s Guide to Satellite Communications. “Satellites as Part of the Solution”. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>10. Forrester Consulting. “Unified Communications Industry Study” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>11. Gilat Network Systems. “Cellular Backhaul”. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>12. Hickey, Andrew. “Dual-mode Wi-Fi and Cellular phones to grow” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>13. James, Frank. “911: Text Messaging”. Issue date April 28, 2003. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>14. McKinsey & Company. “Increasing FDNY’s Preparedness”, August, 2002. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>15. MITRE. “Innovation Grant Report, Evaluation of Cellular Push-to-Talk Technology for First Responder Communications”, September 23, 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at </li></ul>
  40. 40. Research References: <ul><li>16. Motorola Resource Center. “WHITE PAPER: Building a Unified Enterprise Mobility Strategy” </li></ul><ul><li>Available at: </li></ul><ul><li>17. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. “The 9/11 Commission Report. Final Report on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” </li></ul><ul><li>18. National Journal’s Technology. “First Responder as first priority”. Issue-week1, September 12, 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>19. OLR Research, “Siting Cell Phone Towers” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at :http://www.cga.ct.gove/2000/rpt/olr/htm/2000-r-0889.htm </li></ul><ul><li>20. Reardon, Marguerite. “Cell Phone Coverage Holes Hurt Public Safety” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>21. Sensoria. “Case Study: Mobile Mesh Networks Connect First Responders“ </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>22. Shepler, John. “TechColumn: 1G,2G,3G, 4G” IT Knowledge Exchange. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at:,295582,sid40_gci1078079,00.html </li></ul><ul><li>23. SmartValley Wireless Silicon Valley Task Force Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>24. Smith, Anne; Alexander, John; Pearce, Chris; Whetten, Delon. “Overview of Cisco IP Communications”. Sample Chapters from Informit. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>25. US Senate. “Letter from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>26. Walsh, David. National Defense. “Inter-Agency Communications Systems Remain Uncoordinated” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>27. Wavion/Connxx. “The New Metro WI-FI Business Model: Wavion and Conxx present the only working metro Wf-Fi Business Model” </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul><ul><li>28. Webopedia definition, wireless mesh network </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: http:en// mesh network </li></ul><ul><li>29. Webopedia definition, Wi-Fi Network. </li></ul><ul><li>Online at: </li></ul>
  41. 41. Response from Howard County <ul><li>Howard County Maryland has taken delivery of a 2006 Pierce/LDV Mobile Command Unit. The unit was funded through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security at a cost of $800,000. With its non-traditional paint scheme, this unit has been designed for all Howard County departments to use the unit. The unit is configured with a complement of cellular and VOIP phones. The unit has direct satellite linkage to Howard Counties own computer “mainframe”. The unit is equipped with a direct microwave camera link between our police helicopter and the unit. The unit is capable of receiving local broadcast and Direct TV service displayable on 12 screens. Two of those screens are SmartBoard equipped. Detailed 4 angle (North, South, East, and West) aerial photography of the entire County is stored in the on-board computer server. For radio interoperability the vehicle is equipped with a 6 radio I.C.R.I. The I.C.R.I. links 800 MHz , VHF ,UHF,HAM , radios and cell and hard wired phones on one common “talk group”. The vehicle is equipped with a 42’ mast camera that is equipped with antennas to increase radio ranges. Each workstation is computer equipped so that each user, regardless of the County agency they work for can access agency specific information. As an example, the water department can open and close valves by computer access from the unit. If the unit would be in place during a chemical leak, Community Notification could be started from the unit. Community Notification is an automated call to specific residences and business giving them vital information. The original concept and implementation of the unit is such that ALL Departments/Agencies in Howard County are afforded a “mobile” command and control unit so we may better serve the citizens and visitors of Howard County. Interoperability between agencies was built into the unit as well as interoperability regionally and beyond </li></ul>
  42. 42. Response from Howard County