Virginia to Cache First Responder Radio Systems

To be positioned in Chesapeake, Fairfax and Harrisonburg regions.

by / August 6, 2007
Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today announced that the commonwealth will establish three strategic radio caches in Chesapeake, Fairfax County, and the Harrisonburg region to improve the state's ability to establish communications in the wake of a disaster or other large-scale emergency.

"The Commonwealth continues to take big steps to anticipate and identify gaps in our communications network," Governor Kaine said. "The strategic positioning of this communications gear will improve the ability of our local, state and federal first responders to seamlessly speak to each other during a crisis situation."

The initiative, which is funded by $5 million in federal homeland security grants, has been a top priority of the State Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC). Interoperability is the ability for public safety personnel to talk with one another via radio communication systems -- to exchange voice and/or data with one another on-demand, in real time -- whenever necessary.

Chesapeake and Fairfax County each will receive $1.9 million in grants, and Harrisonburg-Rockingham County will receive $1.2 million, to establish the radio caches. The localities submitted regional proposals that allow for the deployment of the equipment statewide, if requested. These regional radio caches will consist of a portable radio tower and between 300 and 500 radios in various frequency bands. The SIEC established a team of local and state officials that developed minimum requirements for the radio caches.   

"The work that was done by the radio cache team to ensure standardization of the various caches is groundbreaking, and we have already had inquiries from other states on how Virginia accomplished this," said Jim Junkins, chair of the SIEC.
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