First Response Coalition Speaks About Interoperability & The Consensus Plan

Yesterday, a group called the First Response Coalition released a white paper titled, "SAFETY OVER SPECTRUM: A PLAN FOR FIRST RESPONDER COMMUNICATIONS

According to Gene Stilp, who serves as the Vice-President for the Dauphin-Middle Paxton Fire Company #1, Dauphin, PA (but was speaking as an individual not on behalf of any fire organization), indicated that the First Response Coalition was made up of several concerned fire service individuals who had been to the World Trade Center on 9/11 and had serious concerns about public safety radio communications in our nation.

The White Paper released appears to confuse two uniquely different issues, interoperability and radio interference. The document largely focused on interoperability and or the dangerous lack thereof in many towns and cities in the United States. The paper references the inability of fire and police to communicate on 9/11 but while this is true it has nothing to do with radio interference.

The paper quotes, "The fundamental barrier to successfully addressing these [interoperability] challenges has been the lack of effective, collaborative, interdisciplinary and intergovernmental planning". I agree whole-heartedly but this has nothing to do with radio interference.

The paper states that, "Nextel's proposal [Consensus Plan] ignores the important interoperability issue". Unfortunately the radio interference problem is specifically a regulatory issue and has nothing to do with radio interoperability.

The paper further asserts that the Consensus Plan places first responders at risk and could threaten the security of all Americans if the communications services used by public safety are not operating at the highest standard. The Consensus Plan has been developed by the leading national public safety organizations in this country including the IAFC, IACP, National Sheriffs, and APCO-International. First hand, I can attest that they have reviewed and used their own outside independent resources to evaluate the proposal and its recommendations. There are over 1,000 supporters to the Consensus Plan to date.

The true danger is that public safety radio interference puts lives in jeopardy every day that is remains uncorrected. For a full account of radio interference please refer to my previous article on