We all hear in the media about solving communications interoperability for emergency responders, and there are many dedicated people working hard to find solutions. Still, as we approach seven years after 9-11, emergency responders in many communities cannot communicate with each other in their daily responsibilities, much less as they prepare and respond to major events. Technology solutions that provide incident-level voice and data capabilities need to be deployed today in the hands of emergency responders across the nation. These solutions must be part of the day-to-day emergency response operation and scalable during major events. Solutions such as incident-level mesh networks achieve these capabilities and are highly cost-effective. For these reasons, NASFM's Interoperable Communications Program is centered on multi-agency incident-level voice and data interoperability.
Our approach is four fold - we work at the local, regional, state, and federal levels to introduce and facilitate initiatives that will bring public safety closer to achieving real-time voice and data interoperability. At the local and regional levels, we work with emergency responders on projects to obtain funding for advanced technology and aid in project implementation. All local projects are coordinated at the state-level to ensure maximum effectiveness. But we also work with state government on initiatives that reach at all levels of emergency response. We stay abreast of federal funding opportunities, in particular those associated with the US Department of Homeland Security, to support related public safety interoperability projects.