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Why our Nations Communications System Needs Urgent Overhaul To Prevent More Unthinkable Disasters

Much of the chaos in New Orleans could have been avoided if police, fire and emergency personnel had been able to communicate with their command centers and with each other. Failure to communicate turned a natural disaster into an unthinkable disaster!

The fact that first responders in New Orleans and the surrounding areas could not communicate is a national disgrace and should be corrected before another disaster of this magnitude, says security expert Robert Jordan, spokesman for IsAmericaSafe.com, a internet page dedicated to defending Americans and the Homeland.

"It is national disgrace because this has been a federal priority for more than ten years -- hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in it -- and the positive need for reliable, secure wireless communications was highlighted yet again after 9/11," says Jordan whose report on the lessons to be learned from Hurricane Katrina is available costless on http://www.isamericasafe.com.

"Despite this, first responders across the country make use of scores of different radio systems -- many of which cannot communicate with each other. The New Orleans police and fire departments and three neighboring parishes all used different systems... and all failed," Jordan says.

Authorities in New Orleans recognized this problem and installed equipment in the Fire Departments Communications Center that would have allowed these different systems to communicate with each other. However, the equipment was rendered inoperable when the center flooded.

"Had the first responders been able to communicate with their command centers and each other, there could have been a much more concerted crackdown on the lawless elements and a more coordinated rescue effort," says Jordan.

"After 9/11 we learned how vulnerable our wireless communications systems were. They jammed due to congestion, calls we are interrupted or calls did not get through. Despite that lesson, attempts to implement an interoperable tactical wireless communications capability continue to run into roadblocks."

"The complexity and cost of developing a nationwide network of interoperable communications is enormous but it is a challenge we must face and overcome. Until we do, we cannot deal effectively with major emergencies, whether natural disasters or terrorist attacks," says Jordan.


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