Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, May 28, 2015

This week’s edition is a day early as I will be traveling tomorrow and next week’s will be a few days late because I will be attending the PSCR meeting in San Diego. Hopefully I will be back on schedule after that. Today was the deadline for submitting questions to FirstNet regarding the draft RFP which is out for review. I hope that a number of you filed questions.

The draft RFP, from my perspective, needs to be refined in a number of ways. The most frustrating part of this process was that after spending literally hundreds of hours reviewing the RFP and developing numerous questions which I submitted on time, I did not receive a confirmation that my questions had been received. Since we were instructed to send the questions to an email address there was no a way to make sure that it was really received by the recipient and when I reached out verify that it was received, I received an email which stated in part “It is not customary practice for the Government to confirm receipt of items submitted during the acquisition process unless formally requested. Moreover, in order to preserve procurement integrity and to ensure fair opportunity, during the acquisition process it is imperative requests be submitted to me, the Contracting Officer, or in accordance with any instructions as posted in notifications within the Federal Business Opportunity (FBO) (www.fbo.gov).”

Nowhere in the documentation did it say that I had to ask for a confirmation. I guess the Feds have their rules but at this point FirstNet needs to be encouraging anyone and everyone who might be a potential partner for them, and not providing any type of feed-back that was submitted was received, in my mind, a great way to encourage this type of participation. Have a great week-end and if you are going to be at the FirstNet/PSCR meeting in San Diego let’s say hello to each other. Andy Continue reading

Albuquerque Journal: Fire Chief Reports Agents Tried to Halt Ambulance

One of the complaints fielded by the ACLU about Border Patrol checkpoints comes from the Columbus fire chief. Chief Ken Riley reported that Border Patrol agents have tailed or tried to stop his ambulance when he skirts the checkpoint on N.M. 11 toward Deming during an emergency transport, allegedly endangering patients in need of critical care.

The El Paso Sector Border Patrol told the Journal it has no record of any official allegations made by ambulance services that agents stopped or delayed a life-saving trip to the hospital. The Columbus ambulance has been used in the past to smuggle immigrants unlawfully into the country.

A year ago in March, Columbus resident Samuel Elliott pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to transport illegal aliens. In 2013, Elliott loaded the immigrants into an ambulance belonging to the Columbus Fire Department and blew through the Border Patrol checkpoint on N.M. 11 with the sirens on.

Border Patrol agents followed the ambulance and intercepted it when Elliott stopped to transfer the immigrants to another vehicle.

“We won’t stop an ambulance if they let central dispatch know,” Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero said. “But in cases where nobody has called us and the agents notice something suspicious, will they follow the ambulance? Probably.”

Read complete article here:  http://www.abqjournal.com/590994/news/fire-chief-reports-that-agents-tried-to-halt-ambulance.html

DHS and USDA Break Ground for National Bio-and Agro-Defense Facility

MANHATTAN, KS – Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today broke ground to officially begin construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) main laboratory structure in Manhattan, Kansas.

“The NBAF laboratory will provide the nation with cutting edge, state-of-the-art, lab capabilities and help protect our food supply and the nation’s public health,” said Secretary Johnson. “NBAF addresses a serious vulnerability. The economic impact of a bio agricultural threat – deliberate or natural – could have a substantial effect on the food supply of this Nation and have serious human health consequences. We will soon be able to ensure availability of vaccines and other rapid response capabilities to curb an outbreak. With the NBAF, our Nation will have the first Bio Level 4 lab facility of its kind – a state-of-the-art bio-containment facility for the study of foreign animal and emerging diseases.”

Interested in learning more? Read the full S&T Press Release.

NIST Develops First “Roadmap” for Public Safety Communications Research

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published the first “roadmap” for the next 20 years of research needed to establish seamless, broadband public safety communications networks across the United States. The new roadmap, the first of a planned series on relevant technologies, focuses on location-based services to improve situational awareness for police, firefighters, emergency medical services and other first responders.

The roadmap was commissioned by NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program, which has been performing research, development, testing and evaluation, and creating standards to support first responder communications since 2002.

“The roadmap will guide planning for public safety communications research, including how to allocate the $300 million apportioned to NIST from the recent AWS-3 spectrum auction,” said Dereck Orr, chief of the PSCR Division of NIST’s new Communications Technology Laboratory.

One of the PSCR’s goals is to enable broadband public safety data, video and voice communications across different agencies and jurisdictions. To that end, the PSCR operates a 700-MHz public safety broadband demonstration network and provides technical advocacy by gathering requirements and developing standards.

The new roadmap offers a vision of what public safety communications might look like in 20 years. It identifies software, device and network R&D investments needed to achieve that vision. The roadmap points out opportunities for action by multiple stakeholders, including federal, state and local governments; academia; industry; and the public safety community. The document is based on ideas captured during a 2013 workshop involving 150 participants from both the public and private sectors.

A number of technology trends potentially affect public safety communications, according to the report. Advances in wearable technologies and public safety applications for them are expected in 5 to 10 years, and convergence with the Internet of Things and full integration into public safety use is foreseen in 10 to 20 years. The current reliance on voice communications for public safety is expected to give way to primarily data communications in some environments in 10 to 20 years.

“Location-based services” encompass applications that use information about the physical location of a user based on, for example, GPS signals. Location-based services were chosen as the first roadmap focus area because enhancements are feasible and could have high impact and return on investment, for example, by enabling more efficient allocation of personnel and equipment. Continue reading

MEPS to European Commission: Advancement of European Emergency Number 112 Is Needed

On 27 May 2015, 60 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), from the whole political spectrum, co-signed an open letter sent to Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mr. Oettinger, regarding the European emergency number 112.

The letter focuses on the importance of the European emergency number and highlights some key-areas that require advancement at the European level. Among others, the key-topics identified are:

  • Awareness of the European emergency number 112, and the need to intensify the efforts of informing EU citizens about the number that can save their lives;
  • Caller location, the problematic implementation of the Article 26.5 of the Universal Service Directive (2009/136/EC) on behalf of many Member States, and the need to implement already available technology (such as Advanced Mobile Location or AML) in order to provide citizens with better caller location in case of an emergency;
  • Access for persons with disabilities, the need to advance in this, and what are the plans of the European Commission in order to do so;
  • Cross-border cooperation, and the need of better collaboration between Member States and neighbouring emergency services.

Continue reading

Metro Boston Area Public Safety T-Band Dilemma

Please read the latest entry to the SAFECOM Blog written by Chief Gerald R. Reardon, City of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fire Department (SAFECOM Public Safety At-Large Member) on the Metro Boston Area Public Safety T-Band Dilemma.

The blog entry also includes the recently published T-Band Giveback document created by SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC).