August 10, 2009
Got P25? Great, but don’t forget your phone
PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie
P25 (a.k.a. APCO-25, or Project 25) refers to a suite of standards for interoperable digital radio communications for public safety agencies. Radios built to the P25 standards let first responders from all over the country converge on a disaster area and talk with each other almost right away.
Terry Betts, Interoperability Program Director for San Francisco Bay Area UASI, tells PoliceOne that in the case of a major catastrophe — one that requires a response from multiple agencies and multiple jurisdictions — many arriving cops, firefighters, and EMTs may be forced to rely on cell phones for at least a little while upon their arrival.
“If you’ve got a P25 system and somebody comes in from someplace else in the United States, it’s going to take a little while to do the programming and authorization of that new radio to be able to talk on it within that area’s system.” During this time, it’ll be critical to be able to use text (SMS) and voice calling.
This, Betts says, it because “black boxes” and other such things require a little time to get set up. “Until permissions and authorizations are set for inbound P25 radios, a lot of people will be using their personal PDAs and cell phones,” he says.