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Is It Time for a National Emergency Interoperability Platform?


TMCnews Featured Article

October 24, 2012

Is It Time for a National Emergency Interoperability Platform?

By Rich Steeves, TMCnet Managing Editor

By now, most Americans realize the importance of first responders. When there is an accident or natural disaster, it is important that police, fire and emergency medical personnel respond quickly and efficiently. But most Americans also know that emergency personnel are not always able to coordinate their responses due to communications issues. This is why Mutualink, Inc has issued a new white paper urging a focus on interoperability among emergency response groups.

Mutualink is a company that focuses on interoperable communications platforms which allow groups to share radio, voice, text, video, data files and more across a community. The company has worked with groups ranging from local fire departments and hospitals to shopping malls and even NATO Special Forces. Its recent paper discusses the importance of communication between and among the groups that help keep us safe.

“Despite a decade of significant investments and concerted efforts, pervasive communications interoperability for emergency response has remained a bridge too far with, at best, small pockets of interoperable communications ability existing among a few select agencies,” the paper states.

It adds, “Emergency events such as the World Trade Center attacks, the Columbine School shootings, hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Aurora, CO, movie theater shootings and a host of other natural, accidental and man-made incidents expose and will continue to expose the persistent and prevailing lack of effective coordinated communications between first responders and other emergency support organizations that are critical to responding to, mitigating and recovering from disasters. Perhaps we have been trying to solve the wrong problem, or maybe we have been trying to solve it the wrong way.”

The paper lays out a long-term plan for achieving national interoperable communication sharing, though that goal is extremely complex. The company recommends that organizations respect each other but that they share their information in a secure and cost effective fashion.

Want to read the full report? Click here.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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