The administration of Houston Mayor Bill White announced that it has signed a contract, subject to City Council approval, to purchase a new radio system that would support all critical police, fire, EMS and public works functions. "At times during Hurricane Ike, our public safety radio system was the only reliable communication system available. That experience highlighted the need to replace our current, outmoded system," said White.

The new radio system will have more channels, allowing radio service used by local government to serve the needs of a growing community. It will have enhanced penetration into areas such as the interiors of buildings and basements, where fire and law enforcement professionals must operate. The new technology will be interoperable, allowing different functions -- such as Fire, Police and Public Works -- to communicate more effectively with each other within the city, and with users of the radios, such as sheriffs, constables and others who conform to the new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards.

In Houston, the consolidation of Fire and Police dispatch within the Houston Emergency Center has allowed common information to be shared with both Police and Fire units. The new public safety radio system will enhance this interoperability.

According to White, "Houston has fought hard and successfully for federal funding to help defray the costs of a new public radio system compliant with the new federal standards, and now we will be the leader among the nation's large cities in deploying this new system."

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