Roger That Roger That

The provided training enables county participants to be comfortable with the network and ready to use it when needed.

The GTRI's role is working with each county to determine what type of equipment is needed to implement the system. Brown said the GTRI is acting as an independent validation party and a technical resource. "They provide technical assistance to the locals in implementing the network, and they are also working to provide training for the locals," McCook said.

GEMA works as the grant manager to ensure the cost is reasonable, according to Reichart. The agency is responsible for the U.S. National Response Framework's emergency support function No. 2 -- interoperable communications, and emergency and disaster response -- so it's important to have a robust, statewide communications system.

"We come from different perspectives, but the idea is to meet the goal for the citizens of Georgia and determine the best, most cost-effective strategy to solve whatever problem arises," Brown said, later adding that the network isn't a panacea.

"It doesn't reach the Level 6 form of interoperability that we would all like to achieve, but it does give us a Level 4 opportunity whereby we can be financially responsible."

According to research from the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center, Level 4 interoperability is called "pragmatic interoperability" -- when systems exchange data with some expectation of meaning. Level 6, called "conceptual interoperability," is the topmost level, when systems can make full use of data passed between them.

Reichert recommends that all counties find a reliable person to train on the network. "The 911 industry is, by its very nature, one that has a great deal of turnover," he said. "One thing that we found is we need to train the trainer within each of those PSAPs that has the equipment with someone who will be longstanding." Find the person who has the best chance of continuing with the agency. Since the technology isn't used every day, it's important to keep people up-to-date on the information.



Elaine Rundle  |  Staff Writer