expertise to bear in meeting and working with leadership in the communities on protection, response and preparedness. The country would benefit more from having replicable models that stem from a best-practices and lessons-learned component of RTI."

Tighe said reports and models will be developed from each of the four projects to create a model for speeding the integration of new technology.

The DHS has flexible requirements for participants in the RTI pilots, as long as one result is collaboration among agencies and jurisdictions. "They're trying to get collaboration started," Winter said. "That's the message. You've got to start somewhere."

Starting in Anaheim will bring benefits to nearby cities, such as Long Beach. "Anaheim, in terms of the UASI grant, is an urban area, and there are 50 cities attached to that urban area," Winter said. "Their goal is to get the 50 cities talking. Because if something happens in Anaheim, that's going to affect Long Beach, and if something happens in Long Beach, that's going to affect Anaheim."

Is this a concerted effort by the DHS to encourage investment of federal funds in interoperability projects? "Certainly it reflects a broader effort on our part to make sure we're working with our state-level and local partners to make sure they have the tools, technology, training and resources to move forward," Tighe said.

Preventive Technology

GIS mapping, CAD systems and GPS tracking technology were the basic requirements for the first phase, which were relatively easy to meet. Sharing those across jurisdictions is the intended result.

"That information can be put together so it can be shared across organizations," Winter said. "Right now, that's a phone call for the city manager to find out what's happening -- why is that fire truck going down the street? What's happening? A phone call is the only way they have to communicate it."

"Most larger cities have GIS maps," she continued. "A lot of them are stepping into the wireless arena and looking at how they can use technology -- all of that feeds into this. Again it's a process for working together. I've talked to a lot of cities, and a lot of them are ready for this. What this really is is a portal. It's a process of getting people to work together and putting everything in one place."

Phase II, when and if it happens, will facilitate the development of chemical, biological and nuclear warning systems or preventive technology that can almost literally sniff the air and detect gas or chemical elements in the air and communicate that as a data element. The technology takes guesswork out of the process of determining what's in the air and if it's dangerous.

Technology exists today that can detect a gas or chemical, pinpoint where it's coming from and where it's going. For instance, if a gas were released at the convention center, GIS mapping would help locate the gas's origin, a weather system would detect the direction of the wind by a plume that is released, and an evacuation could be done based on that data.

Anaheim hopes a successful implementation of Phase I will prompt the federal government to supply more funding for Phase II and possibly a Phase III.

Jim McKay  |  Contributing Editor

Jim McKay is the editor of Emergency Management magazine. He lives in Orangevale, Calif., with his wife, Christie, daughter, Ellie and son, Ronan. He relaxes by fly fishing on the Truckee River for big, wild trout.