Five States Awarded the Opportunity to Participate in a National Governors Association (NGA) Policy Academy on Enhancing Emergency Communications Interoperability

Author: Office of Emergency Communications

To assist states in improving emergency communications capabilities, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), today awarded five states the opportunity to participate in an NGA Policy Academy on Enhancing Emergency Communications Interoperability.  The five states invited to participate are Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Utah, and West Virginia.    

Interoperable emergency communications are essential to effective public safety, response and recovery operations in the wake of disaster.  As the emergency communications landscape continues to evolve, first responders and public safety agencies are forced to rely on systems and equipment that are often incompatible with each other.  With the continued use of Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks for the foreseeable future, as well as the buildout of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) and development of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) systems, the need for enhanced interoperability is more critical than ever.

Through the Policy Academy, the selected states will develop specific strategies designed to strengthen current statewide interoperability plans, including assessing governance structures and standard operating procedures.  States will participate in a kick-off meeting to begin development of their strategies, following by in-state workshops to refine the initial recommendations and build consensus around a plan of action, considering LMR, NPSBN, NG 9-1-1 and other emergency communications capabilities.  States, in coordination with the NGA Center and OEC, will identify lessons learned and share best practices nationwide. 

Policy Academy states were selected to participate through a competitive process open to all states and territories. The states selected identified a clearly defined challenge with regard to the state’s emergency communications capabilities; described the potential benefits and expected outcomes of participation in the Academy; and identified a high level state team to be active and engaged throughout the length of the project.