Friday, November 29, 2013

Common sense returns to NY State, winner of our November Bouquet Award!

The State of New York was one the first to confirm that statewide interoperability does NOT serve the needs of EMS, Fire, or local (county/municipal) departments.  Millions of dollars were spent on trying to make a one size fits all communications network before it was recognized that the communications needs of federal and state government is quite different than county and municipal needs.  

A recent article on page 16 of Mission Critical Communications highlighted some of the more obvious reasons of why top down interoperability planning doesn't work.  Notably, EMS has basically no need for communicating  with fire or law enforcement since the primary communications need is between rescue vehicles and trauma centers.  Law enforcement communications is essentially a localized endeavor with little need for communications outside the local jurisdiction.  Rarely is there any need to communicate outside the county, and even then, the need seldom extends beyond adjoining counties.

Volunteer fire departments do not have anywhere near the call volume of either EMS or Law Enforcement although that often rely on mutual aid from other departments within the same county.  So where is the primary need for interoperability?  Within the county!  That is why New York is now focusing on localized interoperability from the bottom up, not top down!  Wonder how long it will take others to figure this out? 

One of the first NY counties to address this issue was Monroe County (Rochester) who now uses a centralized dispatch system that is not dependent on being a part of the tactical communications network.  This technology is efficient and affordable.  You can read more about it by clicking here.

The bottom line is the common need is for a unified dispatch system that benefits all concerned.  That is why we have encouraged our fire department readers to consider applying for an AFG grant to implement this technology in their communities.  The bad news is that most will miss out on this opportunity as the current 2013 application period closes on December 6th.  The good news is that there is still time to apply for those that get moving NOW! Additional information is available at or just give us a call at 205.854.2611

Congratulations to John Grebert, executive director of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, and Mark Hoppe of Blue Wing Consulting Services who have taken the high road in honestly identifying real problems and presenting common sense solutions.  These are the winners of our November 2013 Bouquet Award!  The November Brickbat award goes to Calhoun County Alabama, and the Cities of Anniston, Jacksonville, and  Oxford  for the multi-million dollar sole source award to Motorola Solutions to update an antiquated 800 MHz system without even looking at what could have been done for far less money.  Shame on you!  We can only hope that the voters will remember next November!.

Quote for today - If you are not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart and if you are not conservative at thirty, you have no brain. - Winston Churchill