Certainly, the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida has many facets to it as far as preventing another, similar event, and after-action items. From the gun ownership discussion to the emotional healing, and on to the review of the public safety response. In initial, unofficial, post-action review, it seems that the event may have overloaded the Broward County’s public safety communications system. See story from Action News, Tampa Bay area.
“The radio system police and rescue crews used to communicate was overloaded, leaving crews unable to talk to each during some of the earliest moments of response from the Broward County high school shooting,” according to the story.
But how does a public safety system plan for such a large, one-time, event when trying to build a flexible communication system? Let alone while living within budget constraints and allowing for peak radio traffic times in addition to the average daily volume of traffic? It can be similar to wanting to build a 58-lane highway to ease rush-hour traffic, twice a day on weekdays, but what is the rate of return on the extra lanes in the off-peak hours? What if we were to factor the cost of building them and keeping them maintained?
Bruce Moeller, a public safety consultant with Fitch and Associates, provided insight for the story, “even the most powerful systems will have their challenges when a crisis occurs and everyone tries to respond.”
How well would your system handle an event such as this? Is it flexible enough to scale up on such a large-scale response and then scale back down after the incident? What protocols do the communications center professionals have in place to guide them in taking charge of re-routing non-essential or common-themed radio traffic in such a large-scale event?
At Savvik, we currently do not have a specific radio/communications vendor plan. But, perhaps we should scale-up our discussions for such support. As members, what vendors have you found to be the most helpful in helping you plan a scalable communications system vs. simply selling you the latest/greatest technology that spends every dime of your budget target?
We would like to hear from you about how we can help with your radio/communications needs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what might be helpful as far as helping to plan and purchase radio and other communications systems.