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Chicago's $20 million grant upgrades emergency responder radios


By Fran Spielman
Chicago Sun Times

CHICAGO — Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a blistering report suggesting that first responders in Chicago and Cook County were ill-prepared to communicate with one another in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

Chicago ranked among the worst for disaster communication of 75 metropolitan areas rated in a mock disaster exercise. Homeland Security cited a "fragmented regional communications infrastructure" with "insufficient channels for joint operations," forcing many first responders to use their own cell phones.

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