STEVENSVILLE, Md.– In an effort to share best practices, standard operating guidelines and simulate a multi-agency regional incident response, the Salt Lake UASI COML Group and the Charlotte Fire Department Field Communications Unit (FIEDLCOM) recently participated in a 4-day cross-training event held by PEAKE. The exercise took place on the grounds of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and Fire Training Academy in North Carolina.The Salt Lake UASI recently took delivery of several new communications assets:• Two PEAKE Communications Support Trucks (CSTTM) dubbed the “MITS” – Mobile Interoperable Tactical Solution• One Tactical Incident Communications System (TICS®) to be used for flyway and mobile communications associated with the UCANN Radio System Mobile IR Trailer• AgileMesh Tactical Video Surveillance Solution deployed with either system or standalone• Tandberg Tactical Video Teleconferencing (VTC)
The COML team initially trained on each system, establishing a command and communications center at an “incident” site and using the communications systems to support the exercise. The CFD FIELDCOM Unit provided lessons-learned, offered best practices for similar equipment that are in use there and also trained on SLC’s communications systems.The teams deployed the communications systems around two different scenarios. The first was in support of an Urban Search and Rescue mission involving significant structural collapse due to tornados. The second involved placing AgileMesh cameras around the training academy campus simulating a surveillance response for and active shooter suspect on the loose. All cameras were connected via a mesh network and were viewed in each MITS command center. The teams were able to train on deploying the cameras, establishing the mesh network, and exploring the extensive capabilities of the dynamic cameras.Simulating a multi-agency response, members of each respective communications team were able to patch their radios through the MITS’ ACU-2000 radio interoperability solution, allowing the disparate radio systems to talk across the various LMR systems, SkyTerra MSAT and Broadband VSAT VoIP Links. Connecting different radio systems is a crucial element of a response effort that allows for appropriate and significant communication between agencies on scene. In addition to these systems, the MITS team was successfully able to provide a VTC SITREP to Charlotte Fire Chief Officers about the deployment via Charlotte Fire’s Video Teleconferencing Bridge.
The teams also spent time in a classroom environment receiving recurrent training on JPS ACU Operations, IP-Networking operations, Voice over IP and mesh networking theory."This training was a true testament to how interoperability is progressing on a national level”, stated Charlotte Fire Communications Lead Gregory Hauser. “When PEAKE approached CFD with this training opportunity, we were very interested in learning how the equipment and technology was being put to use by SLC. When FieldComm's equipment could function with MITS-1's equipment, true interoperability was demonstrated."“Training with the Charlotte Fire department was a unique and immeasurable experience for our communications team,” said Salt Lake City Fire Captain Jeffrey Clark. “The successful testing of interoperability between two different UASI region assets was a truly beneficial exercise that we hope to duplicate again. Training and working together with counterparts from other UASI regions is a great step forward on a national level of the preparedness and operational aspects of the UASI program.”