Emergency Communications Put to the Test in Chicago
System Integrator CDW-G recently hosted a field exercise to demonstrate interoperable communications and related systems that are used to safeguard the public during a manmade or natural disaster.
Houston Thomas, the company’s public-safety business development manager said the exercise highlighted a deployable, tactical and interoperable communications system that supports emergency disaster response and continuity of operations plans.
Approximately 100 government and private-sector public safety professionals attended the event called OpCom, from multiple agencies, including the Chicago police and fire department as well as local ambulance companies. Thomas said the exercise focused on quickly establishing an incident command post as if a critical incident had just occurred. Components tested included networked voice, data and video systems.
“It’s not just about video and voice,” Thomas said. “These days, we need to communicate data as well.”
Thomas said the company’s tactical-response “toolset” uses multiple technologies from various vendors. Tested components included two-way radios, interoperable wireless bridges, mobile laptops, ad hoc networks and satellite communications systems.
The Chicago seminar and field exercise also included integrating emergency communications vehicles, a radio cache trailer, an SUV with mounted satellites and access points to support video surveillance cameras. It took one hour to set up the tactical operations center, Thomas said.
According to Thomas, CDW-G’s public-safety communications solutions are scalable.
“It builds up from a few items to a massive number of items,” he said. “A base system needs to support a limited number of people and be deployed in a matter of minutes. Additional systems are built on to address larger scale events. The whole concept here is to create an environment where we can communicate voice, video and data information anywhere, anytime, to and from anyone, and under any circumstance.”