Sunday, December 11, 2005

Crisis communications and Katrina

Flawed emergency systems isolated rescue workers

The absence of an effective crisis communications system played into the chaos and mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. First responders found themselves isolated and unable to summon help for themselves or others. During Katrina, virtually every system failed: Internet communications, radio transmissions, cell phones, even backup gear such as satellite phones handed out by federal relief workers after the storm.

Many first responders died on 9/11 because of failed communications. The government vowed to fix the problem. Congress and the Bush administration pledged to rapidly upgrade the networks and implement national standards to make it easier for emergency workers to talk with one another during crises. But as Katrina rescue workers quickly discovered, emergency communications systems remain seriously flawed. Details from the Washington Post.

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Anonymous said...

I think what you're really missing here is the story beyond this. The real issue is first responder communications -- and the failure of the FCC to protect first responders. The FCC should get an "F".

Some public safety agencies are pointing to the House budget bill as an answer. Under the bill, first responders would get additional spectrum in the 700 MHz band in 2009. That's too little too late.

The loaf is half baked.

Take a look at the FCC 800 MHz rebanding plan. The rebanding plan will create a spectrum shortage for first responders in South Florida. See coverage by Communications Daily and Telecommunications Report.

There is an answer. The FCC could pull out - immediately -- 30 channels in the 800 MHz band. The channels are there. The rebanding plan could be rejiggered slightly.

Deb S. said...

Anonymous, based on what I'm hearing right now, there are many who agree with you on this issue.

I may very well give more space to this topic. Feel free to share more information with readers here. Thanks for stopping by.