The Success of SAFECOM

This column provides a comprehensive look at the makeup and reviews the successes of the Department of Homeland Security SAFECOM Program.


This column provides a comprehensive look at the makeup and reviews the successes of the Department of Homeland Security SAFECOM Program. The SAFECOM Program was established in 2001 as a Presidential E-Government Initiative for the purpose of providing key federal coordination to promote and...


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This column provides a comprehensive look at the makeup and reviews the successes of the Department of Homeland Security SAFECOM Program.

The SAFECOM Program was established in 2001 as a Presidential E-Government Initiative for the purpose of providing key federal coordination to promote and provide support to federal, state, local and tribal emergency communications responder agencies. SAFECOM is a practitioner-driven emergency response communications program of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) and Office for Interoperability and Compatibility (OIC).

By collaborating with practitioners and policy-makers, SAFECOM works to improve multi-jurisdictional and inter-governmental coordination to ensure that effective and fully coordinated preparedness and response planning is established. SAFECOM also works to build partnerships among all levels of government, linking the strategic planning and implementation needs of the emergency response community with federal, state, local and tribal governments.

OEC and OIC Coordination: Guidance and Tools

SAFECOM provides research, development, testing and evaluation, guidance, tools, and templates on interoperable communications-related issues to federal, state, local and tribal emergency response agencies. OEC supports SAFECOM's development of grant guidance, policy, tools, and templates, and provides direct assistance to federal, state, local and tribal practitioners. OIC supports SAFECOM's research, development, testing and evaluation, standards, and tools, analysis, reports and guidelines. OEC is an office within the National Protection and Programs Directorate. OIC is an office within the Science and Technology Directorate.

SAFECOM Approach

SAFECOM is a communications program of the Department of Homeland Security. Building upon successful partnerships, SAFECOM established the Executive Committee (EC) and the Emergency Response Council (ERC) ensuring that state and local stakeholders have a voice in the development of nationwide planning efforts and an opportunity to present input on user viewpoints, needs and resources. To achieve a shared vision, advance coordination, and define long-term goals within the emergency communications community, SAFECOM recognizes that the development of sustainable solutions requires a focus on emergency response practitioner user viewpoints, needs and requirements as well as the greater needs of the emergency response community.

The SAFECOM EC is comprised of national emergency response associations and policy makers from contributing federal agencies. It serves as the leadership group of the ERC and SAFECOM's primary resource to access emergency response practitioners and policy makers so SAFECOM can gather the emergency response community's user needs. The SAFECOM EC:

  • Provides strategic leadership and guidance to SAFECOM on emergency responder user viewpoints and needs from the perspective of practitioners and policy makers at all levels of government.
  • Communicates decisions, plans, and results to relevant constituencies, practitioners, and subsets that are not directly engaged.
  • Defines and articulates the viewpoints and needs of the emergency response community to inform the development of materials targeted at that community.
  • Builds relationships with the ERC to leverage their subject matter expertise as a broader pool of resources.

The SAFECOM ERC was developed to serve as a vehicle to provide a broad base of state and local emergency response community input on emergency responder user viewpoints and needs to SAFECOM. The collective input from members of the ERC helps federal partners recognize barriers, understand end-user requirements and forge agreements on key initiatives. Serving as a "product research development group" for nationwide capabilities, ERC members are often organized into working groups to achieve outcomes and solve problems tied to research and development, grant-funding requirements, capability assessments, and best practices guidelines for the Nation to use in their planning and investment decisions.

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