The restoration of essential emergency communications systems is critical to saving lives and maintaining the health of the population, including those individuals from other countries who are providing aid
Alexandria, Va. (Vocus) February 2, 2010
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International has participated in discussions with U.S. officials coordinating with Haitian government officials to discuss plans to restore public safety communications services in Haiti following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12.
“The restoration of essential emergency communications systems is critical to saving lives and maintaining the health of the population, including those individuals from other countries who are providing aid,” APCO International President Richard Mirgon said. “Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina demonstrate the need and method for interim and long term emergency communications restoration.”
The two known Haitian Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) that answer 1-1-4 and 1-1-8 were both reportedly destroyed. The Haitian police Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system, which consists of a three-site trunked system, was also reportedly destroyed along with much of the wireline infrastructure. In addition, American assistance workers deployed in Haiti have limited ability to contact U.S. resources for emergency assistance.
The plan, supported by the National Joint TERT Initiative - a collaboration between APCO International and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) for Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT) efforts - not only covers an immediate phased approach to a solution, but includes long-term support and training for the Haitian people. APCO International’s plan suggests immediate development of a Continuity of Operations Plan and, as one option, the establishment of a temporary PSAP in the U.S. to which 1-1-4 and 1-1-8 calls can be redirected. Further, APCO International recommends beginning restoration of Haitian PSAPs and training of new PSAP personnel within the next two months. In the next six months, APCO International recommends returning the 1-1-4 and 1-1-8 calls back to a temporary PSAP in Haiti in an attempt to get back to normal emergency communications operations within a year. The plan does not identify funding mechanisms.
“Since this devastating event occurred, APCO International and its partners have reviewed options for assisting the Haitian people and their emergency communications personnel,” APCO International Executive Director George Rice said. “APCO International believes that this progressive plan will truly aid in the restoration of emergency communications services for the Haitian population.”
About APCO International
The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications. APCO International serves the professional needs of its 15,000 members worldwide by creating a platform for setting professional standards, addressing professional issues and providing education, products and services for people who manage, operate, maintain and supply the communications systems used by police, fire and emergency medical dispatch agencies throughout the world. For more information, visit http://www.apcointl.org.