Proposed standard nomenclature for public-safety interoperability channel will be the subject of a month-long comment period that could mark that end of several years of work to address a long-standing issue within the sector, officials for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) said yesterday.

Public-safety agencies have interoperability channels available in multiple spectrum bands, but the lack of consistent naming standards for the channels traditionally has created confusion when personnel from disparate agencies render aid, said Brad Smith, a member APCO’s standards development committee.

“Every bandwidth and every discipline of public safety is going to have the same thing agreed upon at a national level,” Smith said. “That’s important now for programming the radios, because with the various disasters we’ve had, people go great distances [to assist in the recovery effort].

“For instance, with Katrina, you had people from Florida going into Mississippi, but nobody was reading off the same sheet of music. Now, that’s possible.”

Comments for the proposed standard are due by March 7. Text of the proposal can be downloaded at To submit comments or questions prior to the deadline, e-mail

NPSTC initiated the nomenclature effort in 2006, but its work was turned over to APCO, because APCO is a standards body, NPSTC Chairman Ralph Haller said. APCO’s standards committee has been working on the proposal “for about a year,” Smith said.

If no major changes are needed as a result of the comment process, the naming standards for the interoperability could be finalized in April or May, Smith said.

“We want to make sure that everybody’s concerns are addressed,” Smith said. “We’ve been working at it for awhile, and this is hopefully the last time everybody has heard about it, everybody agrees there are no conflicts and it’s workable for everybody coast to coast.”