Tornado Simulation in Texas to Test Public-Safety LTE Response Scenarios (10/23/13)
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 | Comments

By Sandra Wendelken
General Dynamics C4 Systems is hosting a Winter Institute for its EDGE innovation network of companies to test and exercise command and control and communications technologies for first responders. The emphasis will be on 700 MHz Long Term Evolution (LTE) systems and networks.

The Winter Institute will be held Nov. 4 – 8 at Disaster City, a public-safety training and testing ground at Texas A&M University (TAMU) in College Station, Texas.

Texas Task Force 1 (TX-TF1), an urban search and rescue (US&R) team, and other Texas public-safety agencies will be on hand for the event, along with EDGE member companies including Germany Dynamics, Cisco, Dell and others.

The live exercise scenario involves TX-TF1 responding to a simulated severe tornado, spanning 8.5 miles with two distinct areas of operation. Operations will include command and control of interagency response teams, wide-area search for survivors, assessment of damage and response to a hazardous chemical spill, and establishment of a base of operations.

General Dynamics will provide a mobile deployable cell tower, LTE radio network and LTE core, technology integration at the Texas A&M laboratory, funding for students and on-site communications engineers, and scenario development.

“Our interest is in gaining some insight into the effective data network and public-safety performance and officials in their capacity,” said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems. “We’re trying to see how positive the broadband connectivity implications can be.”

The EDGE innovation network brings together partner businesses, customers, academia and non-profits to address technology challenges. The program began in 2006 for warfighting technology, and three years ago, expanded into public safety. The program has more than 400 members with 350 companies of all sizes, said Marzilli.

“A lot of our competitors are members,” Marzilli said. “It allows us to focus our independent research and development on a laser shot basis instead of trying to replicate what others are doing. We’re adding members at an exponential pace.”

The EDGE innovation center for emergency informatics is located on the Texas A&M University campus and went live in 2010. The center isn’t just for first responders but also connects to the TAMU Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC) for next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1).

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