November 11, 2005
Department of Homeland Security to Fix Radio Interoperability Problem By Sending Equipment Directly to First-Responders
“Incident Commanders' Radio Interface” (ICRI) is chosen for tactical communications need
Reston, Virginia – In the effort to solve the widespread problem of communications interoperability, phase II of the “Commercial Equipment Direct Assist Program” (CEDAP) has begun, allowing emergency responders in smaller jurisdictions to obtain the “Incident Commander’s Radio InterfaceTM.” Unlike a grant, this DHS program fills gaps by having equipment sent directly to departments and agencies that are challenged to find and fund the technology they need for their homeland security and mutual aid missions.
The “Incident Commanders’ Radio Interface” (ICRI) is a small, highly portable device that was used throughout the hurricane-affected region enabling first-responders from across the country to talk and coordinate despite using incompatible radio equipment. Self-powered for up to 30 hours on 8 ‘AA’ batteries, and able to be set up and configured in less than five minutes without specialized personnel or training, the ICRI satisfied the unforeseen realities of that crisis environment.
The CEDAP program, through the Office for State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness, is designed for first-responders, including college and campus security, serving populations under 100,000. From a catalogue that includes communications interoperability, information sharing, chemical detection, sensor devices, and personal protection equipment, agencies choose the "package" they need and submit their request through a simple application process.
Providing cross-band, cross-platform radio interoperability, the ICRI interconnects all commercial trunking and conventional radios, military radios, satellite phones, direct-connect and cell phones, and land-line telephones.
The ICRI satisfies CEDAP requirements for an operator to interconnect several disparate hand held radios and land mobile radios together. The ICRI is also compliant with Project 25 standards that require compatibility with existing digital and analog systems and to provide for interoperability in future systems as part of a multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary interoperability plan.
Applications for Phase II of the Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP) will be accepted starting at 0900EST on Monday, November 7, 2005 and accepted through 1700EST on Friday, January 13, 2006. The link to the updated CEDAP 2005 briefing book, which includes FAQs, equipment list, application and other guidelines can be found at the following links on the Responder Knowledge Base, The National Memorial Institute for Terrorism:
CEDAP was funded at $32 million for fiscal year 2005, and for FY 2006 the House and Senate approved $50 million through the 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.
“First-responders need interoperability equipment to work in a Murphy’s Law environment where you’re prepared for the worst. Whether the communications infrastructure is swept away, the power grid is destroyed, or personnel don’t have specialized training, responders need the ability to communicate within minutes of an emergency,” offered Seth Leyman, founder of C-AT, the manufacturer.