The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate kicked-off of a 30-day multiband radio pilot for emergency responders, to begin during the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival events running through May 8. Seventeen participating law enforcement and emergency management partners across the state will incorporate the technology into their daily operations and provide feedback on its utility.

The multiband radio enables police officers, firefighters, and other emergency response and management personnel to use a single mobile radio to communicate with multiple agencies and jurisdictions operating on different radio bands. The multi-band radio can replace up to five different radios in a single unit, at a cost comparable to just one of the existing high-end portable radios—providing responders with the cutting-edge communication capabilities necessary to successfully respond to emergencies.

Kicking off the month-long pilot, the multiband radio will support the New Orleans Department of Emergency Management and the New Orleans Police Department during Jazz Fest events, which provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the multi-band radio’s capabilities in large crowds and high-noise environments that require extensive interagency cooperation and communications interoperability.

The New Orleans pilot will provide testing and evaluation on the Harris Corporation’s Unity XG-100 multi-band radio, the second multi-band radio to go through pilot testing supported by S&T. This effort, and other S&T demonstrations and pilots, focus on testing and evaluating the radios across multiple systems—analog, conventional, digital, and Project 25 — and multiple public safety agencies, including local, tribal, state, and federal. During these tests, the primary users of the new technology are responders in a command and control role or those involved in special operations.

Participants in the pilot include: Acadian Ambulance Services, New Orleans Department of Health, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana Wildlife and Fishery, New Orleans Emergency Management, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services, New Orleans Fire Department, New Orleans Police Department, New Orleans Public Works, New Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, Red Cross, Saint Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard, and other public safety agencies in surrounding parishes.