The Information Economy Project is proud to present articles that have been published in the Federal Communications Law Journal, March 2007 from the Crisis in Public Safety Communications conference held on December 8, 2006:
Sending Out an S.O.S.: Public Safety Communications Interoperability as a Collective Action Problem, by Jerry Brito, 59 Federal Communications Law Journal 457-92 (2007), Quick Links: Crisis in Public Safety Communications Conference. Excerpt: On September 11, 2001, officers from the New York City police and fire departments responded to the attacks on the World Trade Center. That morning, police and firefighters entered each of the Twin Towers in an effort to help those inside. Shortly after the South Tower collapsed, an officer in a police helicopter hovering over the scene radioed to his colleagues, “About 15 floors down from the top, it looks like it’s glowing red. It’s inevitable.”1 Then another police pilot reported, “I don’t think this has too much longer to go. I would evacuate all people within the area of that second building.”2
Solving the Interoperability Problem: Are We On the Same Channel? An Essay on the Problems and Prospects for Public Safety Radio, by Gerald R. Faulhaber, 59 Federal Communications Law Journal 493-516 (2007), Quick Links: Crisis in Public Safety Communications Conference, Gerald Faulhaber. Excerpt: Public safety radio communication provides the essential link by which fire, police, emergency medical services (“EMS”), and other emergency personnel respond to life- and property-threatening situations. Communications enables the situational awareness, command, and operational control without which the response of multiple agencies to an emergency is less than useless. Key to this communications capability is interoperability: the capability of first responders from different agencies to communicate during emergencies.
Fundamental Reform in Public Safety Communications Policy, by Jon M. Peha, 59 Federal Communications Law Journal 517-46 (2007), Quick Links: Crisis in Public Safety Communications Conference. Excerpt: All across the country, there have been failures in the communications systems used by first responders, such as firefighters, police, paramedics, and the National Guard. These failures can cost lives in emergencies both large and small. This problem has gained particular attention in the tragic aftermaths of the 9/11 attacks1 and Hurricane Katrina,2 when inadequacies in the current system were particularly obvious, but attention has not yet translated to significant progress.
Communicating During Emergencies: Toward Interoperability and Effective Information Management, by Philip J. Weiser, 59 Federal Communications Law Journal 547-74 (2007), Quick Links: Crisis in Public Safety Communications Conference. Excerpt: The crisis of communications on 9/11 and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina underscores that emergency responders are largely illequipped to communicate effectively in times of disaster as well as in day-to-day emergency situations that require the coordination of several different public safety agencies. The reason for this state of affairs is that public safety agencies traditionally have made individualized decisions about information and communications technology,1 generally failing to purchase state-of-the-art technology that operates effectively and interoperates with others involved in emergency response.