Twelve Fire Chiefs Join Ranks of First Response Coalition
to Push Hill for Action on Interoperability Crisis

Ranks of Coalition Swell as Congress is Urged to Go Beyond FCC Nextel Deal;
Newest FRC Members Are From CA, CT, ME, MS, NC, OH, PA, RI, TN and TX

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In a sign of the growing pressure on
Congress to take action now to deal with the police and fire interoperability
crisis that was highlighted nearly three years ago on 9/11, another 12 fire
chiefs from across the United States have joined the First Response Coalition
( in recent days.
FRC Coordinator Gene Stilp, a volunteer firefighter, EMT and vice
president of the Dauphin-Middle Paxton Fire Company #1, in Dauphin,
Pennsylvania, said that the rapidly expanding membership of the First Response
Coalition shows that "rank-and-file first responders agree that the Nextel
spectrum grab rubberstamped by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is
not the answer to the threat posed to the public by inability of many police,
firefighters and EMTs to communicate across different radio systems. Our
members want Congress to step in to salvage the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
that is on the table right now to deal with both the interference and
interoperability problems."
The newest members of the First Response Coalition are the chiefs of the
following firefighter units:

* Adin Fire Protection District, Adin, CA;

* Rocky Hill Fire Department, Rocky Hill, CT;

* Farmingham Fire Rescue, Farmingham, ME;

* Stateline Volunteer Fire Department, Stateline, MS;

* Davis Volunteer Fire Department, Davis, NC;

* Union City Ohio Fire Department, Union City, OH;

* Blaine Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Elizabeth, PA;

* Cardington Fire Department, Upper Darby, PA;

* Carbon Cliff Volunteer Fire Department, Carbon Cliff, RI;

* Ripley Fire Department, Ripley, TN; and

* Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department, Edinburg, TX.

Additionally, FRC now counts among its ranks the assistant chief of the
Grangerland Volunteer Fire Department, Grangerland, TX. More additions to the
ranks of the First Response Coalition are expected to be announced in the
coming days.
Stilp said: "Now that the FCC has dropped the ball, it is time for
Congress to step in and set things right. Police, firefighters and EMTs would
be best served by a more comprehensive approach. Congress can set this mess
straight by killing two birds with one stone: the Nextel-created interference
problem and the unresolved interdepartmental communications problems
highlighted in recent days in the 9/11 Commission report. The Coalition
continues to believe that the superior -- and, in fact, the only legal
response -- is a spectrum auction that dedicates sufficient funds to first
responders to correct the interference problem and to wipe out the
interoperability crisis."
During August, the Coalition is underscoring its call to action with key
Capitol Hill meetings, including sessions with members of the U.S. House of
Representatives Government Reform Committee, and Select Committee on Homeland
Security and the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

The First Response Coalition (
consists of citizens, individual first responders, and advocacy groups who are
particularly concerned about first responders having the best possible
communications capabilities. The First Response Coalition believes
interoperability issues must be addressed by the FCC or Congress in any plan
that reorganizes spectrum and, as a result, will disrupt public safety
communications systems across the country. The First Response Coalition has
developed a white paper, "It's Time To Talk: Achieving Interoperable
Communications For America's First Responders," which is available online at
Since its launch in June 2004, the First Response Coalition has grown
rapidly to include the National Black Police Officers, the American
Legislative Exchange Council and the California Seniors Coalition. In
addition to Stilp and William Fox, commissioner, Metropolitan Fire
Association, New York City, the Coalition's original members include the Gray
Panthers, the Black Chamber of Commerce and the American Corn Growers.

SOURCE First Response Coalition, Washington, DC
-0- 08/19/2004
/CONTACT: Ailis Aaron, +1-703-276-3265 or, for
First Response Coalition/
/Web site: /