Updated 2018 Emergency Communications System Lifecycle Planning Guide Release

The Joint SAFECOM and National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) Funding and Sustainment Committee is proud to announce the recent release of the 2018 Emergency Communications System Planning Guide Compendium. Developed in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), the updated Lifecycle Guide serves as a follow-on to the 2011 Emergency Communications System Lifecycle Planning Guide. The updated Lifecycle Guide provides guidance to state, territorial, tribal, and local officials to sustain, operate, upgrade, procure, and maintain their communications systems; and enable practitioners to better deploy public safety communications systems. The updated Lifecycle Guide emphasizes that funding public safety communications is not a one-time investment, but instead requires an investment approach.

Additional challenges impacting public safety communications capabilities include the expansion of the emergency communications ecosystem, rapid advancements in technology, shorter lifespans for communications equipment, and limited availability in replacement parts.

To assist public safety community, the 2018 Emergency Communications System Lifecycle Planning Guide includes key considerations, recommendations, and easy-to-use checklists for each lifecycle planning phase. The checklists combine best practices and lessons learned by public safety personnel and practitioners who have successfully managed communications systems across the Nation—from initial planning through final disposition. The 2018 Emergency Communication Systems Lifecycle Planning Guide includes the following seven essential phases:

  • Phase 1: Pre-Planning to inform and secure the decision and funding needed to replace, upgrade, maintain, dispose of, or acquire a communications system
  • Phase 2: Project Planning to formalize the project management team; identify and approve the operational technical requirements for system replacement or upgrade; and develop the project plan to include key elements such as the purpose, objectives, timeline, and budget
  • Phase 3: Request for Proposals and Acquisition to select the appropriate procurement vehicle, oversee an objective review process, and procure necessary systems and systems components
  • Phase 4: Implementation to develop a plan; install and test new systems or components; transition or cut-over to new systems; upgrade operational procedures and train users; and promote new communications capabilities and benefits to the community
  • Phase 5: Support, Maintenance, and Sustainment to maintain the system and equipment, manage the budget, and continually assess and communicate needs
  • Phase 6: End-of-Lifecycle Assessment and Replacement to conduct ongoing assessments of current systems, refresh or upgrade systems as needed to extend the life of the systems, and determine when to replace the system or system components with the solution to best fit an agency’s operational and technical needs
  • Phase 7: Disposition to weigh the options for disposal; dispose of the old system or system components in accordance with legal limitations and business requirements; and ensure minimal impact to operations of the new or upgraded system

This document reflects the expertise of the Joint SAFECOM and NCSWIC Funding and Sustainment Committee, along with DHS and OEC coordination efforts to share best practices and lessons learned in funding and sustaining public safety communications systems. The Funding and Sustainment Committee remains committed to developing effective guidance materials and resources for the public safety community. Agencies may contact the SAFECOM or NCSWIC inboxes with questions or requests for assistance.