The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorateannounced the kick-off of a 30-day multi-band radio pilot for emergency responders, to begin Friday during opening day of NASCAR events at the Phoenix International Raceway. Fifteen participating law enforcement and emergency management partners across the state will incorporate technology into their daily operations and provide feedback on its utility.
The multi-band 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 and operate on a single radio band, 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.
"Access to radio equipment that enables effective communication with all partners regardless of radio band is critical to successful coordination among emergency responders," said Tom Chirhart, Program Manager for S&T's Multi-Band Radio Program. "Pilot programs like this one allow DHS to work closely with responders to ensure the technologies align with their needs."
Kicking off the month-long pilot, the multi-band radio will support the Arizona Department of Emergency Management and the City of Phoenix during the week of NASCAR events, which provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the multi-band radio's capabilities at a time when race day crowds nearly double the population of the region, requiring extensive interagency cooperation and communications interoperability.
"DHS is working to ensure that the best radio equipment is available to emergency responders at all levels," said Chirhart. "Having numerous multi-band radios available to agencies not only improves selection, but will increase competition and drive prices down over time."
The Arizona 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: Air National Guard, Arizona Division of Emergency Management, Arizona National Guard, Arizona Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) Office, Arizona State Forestry, Arizona Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, Army National Guard, Cochise County Sheriff, Gila County Emergency Management, Maricopa County Division of Emergency Management, Maricopa County Emergency Communications Group, Maricopa County Sheriffs, Mohave County Emergency Management, NASCAR/Phoenix International Raceway and the Phoenix Fire Department.
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