A cornerstone of successful interoperable emergency communication is having and maintaining effective governance bodies. The structure of these bodies varies greatly nationwide, as does available communication technology, funding models, network upgrade plans and training standards.
SAFECOM – a group within the Department of Homeland Security with a mission of improving emergency response provider communications and interoperability – and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) recognize the importance of establishing emergency communication governance recommendations and have recently released the Governance Guide for State, Local, Tribal and Territorial Emergency Communication Officials (Governance Guide) as a comprehensive tool for public safety professionals.
The Governance Guide addresses the first goal of the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), focusing on “enhanced decision-making, coordination, and planning for emergency communications through strong governance structures and leadership.”
SAFECOM and NCSWIC members also created a Governance Guide Working Group that generated more than 20 case studies from across the nation to demonstrate real-world examples of different structures, strategies and holistic best practices that governing bodies can follow to improve or establish new governance, increase collaboration and better utilize available assets.
“All across the country, first responders and emergency communication agencies are working together for a more cohesive and interoperable future”, said Laurie Flaherty, coordinator of the National 911 Program. “As emergency communication continues to evolve to incorporate advances such as NG911 and FirstNet, it is critical for 911 and all elements of the emergency communication spectrum to be interoperable.”
The real-world case studies of effective governing bodies provided in this new resource from DHS are valuable to organizations wondering how to achieve the vision set forth in the Guidance.
The complete Governance Guide is available online, and is intended for wide use among public safety officials in creating meaningful governance bodies today and in the future. For questions about the Governance Guide, please contact Kenzie Capece, Program Analyst for the Office of Emergency Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org.