First Responder Exercise, Public-Safety LTE Workshop Highlight Winter Institute
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 | Comments

The 2018 Winter Institute will be held Oct. 22 – 26 at Disaster City on the campus of Texas A&M University (TAMU) in College Station, Texas. This year’s programming will include the Winter Institute exercise, a public-safety broadband workshop and Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) grant recipient support.

For four of the past five years, the TAMU Internet 2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC) has held the Winter Institute to expose first responders to First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) technology, learn from first responders about what works and what doesn’t, and to educate leadership necessary to fund and manage these services.

The direction is being provided by federal, state and local public-safety agencies such as FirstNet, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), PSCR, Canada’s Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC), the state of Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Texas Army National Guard, Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC), Harris and Brazos counties in Texas, and others. AT&T, General Dynamics and others are sponsoring this year’s event.

The institute is a scenario-driven exercise in which the organizers deploy FirstNet-like technology, applications and devices centered around a simulated disaster event. The exercise will play out under a master scenario event list (MESL) based on a simulated earthquake. The Texas Engineering Extension Service’s Texas Task Force1 designed the master plan.

Selected firms that support applications, services and devices will be part of the final setup Oct. 22 with first responder training held Oct. 23. The exercise will be held Oct. 24 – 25 with teardown Oct. 26. A hot wash Oct. 25 will allow first responders to provide feedback on the products. The institute will also document the lessons learned and takeaways. Only products that are ready for deployment can be considered.

Two other events will run concurrently with the Winter Institute. One is a workshop that supports other states in holding their own exercise, and the other involves tabletop discussions allowing PSCR grant recipients to interact with first responders about their projects.

More information including a workshop agenda and registration is available here.

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