Two-Thirds of Public-Safety Agencies are Interoperable, Says Safecom Survey (12/8)
Friday, December 08, 2006 | Comments
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that about two-thirds of emergency response agencies across the nation use interoperable communications at varying degrees. The findings are part of the results of a nationwide survey of first responders and law enforcement that assesses progress in achieving interoperable communications. The national interoperability baseline survey was issued to 22,400 randomly selected law enforcement, fire response, and emergency medical services (EMS) agencies. "The survey reinforces the fact that interoperability is achievable," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "That technology works today and is available. The willingness of emergency response leaders and local officials to make this issue their priority is what will continue to drive progress on one of 9/11's most important lessons." Survey findings indicate that agencies tend to be more developed in technology than they are in culturally related areas like standard operating procedures and exercises. It showed that cross-discipline and cross-jurisdiction interoperability at local levels tends to be more advanced than it is between state and local agencies. In addition, law enforcement, fire response, and EMS agencies reported similar levels of development in most areas of interoperability. The national interoperability baseline survey is the first interoperability assessment that uses a comprehensive definition for interoperability. It was designed in partnership with the emergency response community and assessed stages of development in five areas - governance, standard operating procedures, technology, training and exercises, and usage. The survey had a statistically valid response rate of 30 percent, with 6,816 agencies responding. Participation in the survey was even among law enforcement and fire response and EMS. Additional baseline survey findings are available on the Safecom Web site at 

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