Nationwide network unveiled for emergency responders

April 23, 2012 9:28:32 PM PDT
Local police officers and firefighters joined Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, in unveiling a nationwide network to improve emergency communications. This comes after the 9/11 Commission recommended the development of an integrated, communications system that connects first responders from various agencies.

Rescuers from different agencies could not talk to each other via radio, while they tried to save lives at ground zero in 2001.

"This is the last recommendation that had not been acted upon in the 9/11 commission report," said San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore.

"Now once completed the police, fire, and EMS and other public safety officials at the local, state, and federal level will be able to seamlessly and reliably -- and that's an operational word -- reliably communicate with each other," said Eshoo.

The idea centers on giving first responders electronic devices that will enable them to communicate, even if they go to another area to assist after an earthquake or other disaster.

"To have a network, where we can communicate with each other on dedicated, public safety frequency is going to be critical for us to function," said Moore.

Silicon Valley innovators stand to benefit from the $10 billion, federal program to develop new, emergency communications systems.

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