Direct Assistance Grants Available for Public Safety Answering Points

Donated radios aid communication for Grady County, Okla., police and fire departments.

by / February 4, 2009

Direct Assistance Grants Available for PSAPs

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International announced two initiatives: the Member Assistance Advisory Program's (MAAP) Wireless Facilitator Program and direct assistance MAAP funding grants. The grants will assist public safety answering points (PSAPs) that have not yet deployed Wireless Phase II, the capability to geographically locate a 911 caller who's calling from a mobile device from the cellular network or GPS. The MAAP Wireless Facilitator Program builds on the existing MAAP program by providing wireless deployment facilitators trained on Project LOCATE - Locate Our Citizens At Times of Emergencies.

The facilitators will assist with the development of PSAP-specific readiness assessment and deployment planning, and clarification of PSAP needs and challenges when deploying Wireless Phase II.

The facilitators will help PSAPs identify peer resources in mapping, readiness assessment, customer premises equipment evaluation, service negotiations and public- education initiatives.

Project LOCATE and the Public Safety Foundation of America are offering a limited number of direct-assistance MAAP funding grants to PSAPs looking to complete wireless 911 readiness and deployment. The amounts available to qualifying PSAPs are between $20,000 and $25,000. Call 888/272-6911 for more information.


Donated Devices Aid Communication

The Grady County, Okla., police and fire departments now have interoperable communication capabilities thanks to a donation of 10 radio units by BAE Systems, according to a company press release. The $65,000 donation included training on how to use the units.

"My main goal is to have adequate communications between emergency first responders at the incident scene. Lack of adequate communications is a nationwide problem," said Robert Doke, the state fire marshal of Oklahoma. "Grady County first responders will now be able to communicate with each other during any fire, car accident or large-scale disaster, expediting response times and eliminating any communication gaps."

Mobile Traffic Service Proved Invaluable During Hurricanes

Last September, Galveston, Texas, and much of the Gulf Coast looked down the barrel of approaching Hurricane Ike - with frightening memories of Hurricane Katrina's devastation - and fled to their cars to evacuate before disaster struck. Many evacuees were able to find the safest and quickest path to higher land courtesy of their cell phone.

The 3rd Dimension Mobileyes service for mobile devices was launched in December 2007 to serve the region's more than 2 million daily commuters. Users can view traffic cameras on their mobile devices before leaving their home, office or school in order to plan the quickest and safest route.

The service was especially helpful during Ike.

"Through a partnership with Houston TranStar, 39 Traffic Jam Cell Cams track about 600 cameras along highways around Houston, allowing the public to see snapshots of traffic on their highways of choice," said Dinah Massie, public information officer of Houston TranStar. "In the week Ike hit the southeast Texas region, the public accessed about 60,000 camera views for some 20,000 Houston-area users."

Cute and Cuddly

The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), located in Anniston, Ala., strives to be the training facility of choice for America's emergency response providers. One of the center's innovative training approaches is using stuffed animals during triage training. Students prioritize the needs of the sick and wounded following a mock explosion, but what they find may be a furry

experience. At the mock explosion site, students find more than 75 stuffed animal "victims" tagged with ages and symptoms. Time is of the essence, so students must quickly decide which "victims" are viable.

The CDP training staff has been using this triage technique for the past 10 years and found it provides an effective representation of a mass casualty incident. Instructors have also observed that the stuffed animals touch the students' sensitive side. The students have 30 seconds per "victim" and must triage as many as possible using the START (simple triage and rapid treatment) method.

CDP training opportunities include 38 courses that offer emergency response providers a wide range of training. All CDP courses are available as resident training, and select courses are available through nonresident programs that include mobile training units - at no cost to the responder or his or her jurisdiction. FEMAfunds all training.

The CDP features interdisciplinary training for emergency response providers in 10 disciplines: emergency management, emergency medical services, fire service, governmental administrative, hazardous materials, health care, law enforcement, public health, public safety communications and public works.