SAFECOM 2020 Grant Guidance Notes Importance of Sustaining LMR Systems
Thursday, February 20, 2020 | Comments

SAFECOM released the “Fiscal Year 2020 SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants,” a document updated annually to provide current information on emergency communications policies, eligible costs, best practices, and technical standards for grant recipients. Grant applicants are encouraged to reference this document when developing emergency communications investments for federal funding.

The guidance said there is a need to sustain current LMR systems into the foreseeable future. Grant recipients should continue enhancing governance and leadership, developing plans and procedures, conducting training and exercises, and investing in standards-based equipment to sustain LMR capabilities while concurrently planning for the integration and deployment of new technologies. Grant recipients must also consider cybersecurity risks across all capabilities when planning operable, interoperable and continuity of communications.

The new SAFECOM guidance aligns with the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), updated in 2019, which emphasizes the need to enhance governance structures, plans and protocols that enable the emergency response community to communicate and share information under all circumstances.

All grant applicants are encouraged to coordinate with their statewide governance bodies and emergency communications leaders such as statewide interoperability coordinators to ensure projects support the state, local, tribal or territory’s strategy to improve interoperable emergency communications. In addition, grant applicants should work with public and private entities, and across jurisdictions and disciplines. These coordination efforts are important to ensure interoperability remains a top priority.

The document includes six emergency communications priorities: governance and leadership; planning and procedures; training, exercises and evaluation; activities that enhance communications coordination; standards-based technology and infrastructure; and cybersecurity.

As in previous years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) developed the SAFECOM Guidance in partnership with SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSIC). CISA also consulted federal partners and the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center to ensure emergency communications policies are coordinated and consistent across the federal government.

The full document is here.

A two-page fact page is here.

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