High-threat cities get emergency response upgrade

The Homeland Security Department will complete a project in September that would enable first responders in the 10 cities most vulnerable to terrorist attack to communicate with each other in the event of a large-scale emergency.

The interoperability project, known as RapidCom 9/30, is designed to provide the high-threat cities with new capabilities in crisis communications that will overcome the problem emergency officials had communicating with each other during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The initiative will ensure that the 10 high-threat urban areas have incident-level, interoperable emergency communications capability by Sept. 30. The urban areas are Boston, Chicago, Houston, Jersey City, N.J., Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington.

RapidCom 9/30 seeks to provide these cities with the resources to integrate all aspects of emergency response into an effective response capacity.

Fire, rescue and police from different jurisdictions will be able to communicate using existing equipment that is made interoperable by a patch-panel device, interconnecting various models of equipment that would otherwise not be compatible.

The success achieved in these 10 cities will serve as a foundation for a model of incident-level interoperability in other urban areas, government officials said.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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