IAFC President Jack Parow recently testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security, declaring his association’s support for the Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011 . Parow said that the act’s passage would support the build out of a national public-safety interoperable broadband network to be used during local and/or multiagency incidents to securely transmit mission-critical data, video and voice across jurisdictions.

“Our business is incident management, and the fundamentals here are command and control. These elements are not possible without sufficient communications capability,” Parow testified. “This was acknowledged in both the 9-11 Commission and Katrina reports, which summarized the deficiencies of response to those catastrophic events.”

Parow said because the Federal Communications Commission in the past provided “thin slices of spectrum” for public safety as each frequency band became available, there exists a patchwork of disparate radio systems that do not support cross-jurisdictional communications. A national architecture for public-safety communications is required to solve such issues and bring public-safety communications into the 21st century, he said.

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