Technology is a critical tool for improving interoperability that should meet the needs of practitioners on the front lines and should address regional needs, existing infrastructure, cost verses benefits, and sustainability. The resources below provide examples of the technology currently used in the public safety environment.
Technology Policy Resources (.pdf, 2.8MB)
The Technology Policy Resources booklet contains several documents developed by the Technology Policy Committee.
Alerts and Warnings
This document, known as the “Ten Keys,” provides organizations a series of governance, coordination, planning, cybersecurity, and resiliency best practices to help ensure the successful implementation of their emergency alert, warning, and notification (AWN) systems and programs. Government and non-government emergency managers, alert originators, system administrators, system operators, and managers can leverage this foundational guidance to deliver timely and actionable messaging during the critical moments of an incident when coordinated communications—down to the second—can save lives.
Essentials of Alerts, Warnings and Notifications (AWNs) (.pdf, 819KB)
SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) developed this document in collaboration with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to provide an overview of existing national AWN systems. It is designed to offer public safety officials, Smart City planners, and alert originators the information and tools needed to familiarize themselves with AWN systems. It is the companion document to Ten Keys to Improving Emergency Alerts, Warnings, and Notifications.
The Interoperability Continuum provides a graphical depiction to demonstrate the five critical success factors to achieving interoperability. This tool also provides a framework from which all emergency response agencies at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels could use to baseline their planning and implementation of interoperability solutions.
Moving Towards Credentialing Interoperability (.pdf, 2.2MB)
Provides information to non-Federal organization and their decision makers about the value of strong credentialing practices using Federal standards.
Provides background on OIC, which was established in 2004 to strengthen and integrate interoperability and compatibility efforts in order to improve Federal, State, local, and tribal emergency response and preparedness.
At the Urban Area Summit in 2004, participants convened to share best practices, lessons learned, and other experiences gained from planning and implementing communications interoperability solutions. This report shares the valuable information learned from that meeting and provides a framework for communities and regions to use in their communications interoperability planning efforts.
SAFECOM: The Road to Interoperability (.pdf, 8.8MB)
This pamphlet describes the practical use of the Interoperability Continuum and its scalable ability to fit many types of disaster response.
Provides background on communications interoperability and tools to carry out technology initiatives that make interoperability possible.
Inter-RF Subsystem Interface (ISSI) Fact Sheet (.pdf, 214KB)
This document provides an overview of the Inter-RF Subsystem Interface (ISSI), which provides a standards-based connection between two or more Project 25 (P25) networks to form a “system of systems.” An ISSI can be an invaluable tool to enhance interoperability, extend coverage, and permit system-to-system roaming between partnering agencies and increases the efficiency and reliability of interoperable communications during emergency response and daily operations.
CISA, in collaboration with SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC), developed the Approach for Developing an Interoperable Information Sharing Framework report to describe the ongoing development of an Information Sharing Framework (ISF) for public safety. The ISF is designed to integrate public safety technology into operational practices and recommends the ISF structure, requirements, and policy considerations.
Land Mobile Radio and Broadband
With legislation establishing the First Responder Network Authority, this document takes a look at the analysis needed to being planning for a national public safety broadband network.
The Hybrid Public Safety Microphone “Turtle Mike” (.pdf, 69KB)
Introduces the Hybrid Public Safety Microphone, or “Turtle Mike,” which enhances legacy radio system capabilities by allowing the use of commercial broadband networks for improved communications interoperability.
Interoperability Planning for Wireless Broadband (.pdf, 1.84MB)
Created in coordination with the emergency response community, this document assists Statewide Interoperability Coordinators with planning for wireless broadband use in emergency communications.
Provides a quick overview of the ISSI Technology.
Summarizes the key information collected throughout the Rapid Emergency-Level Interim Communications Interoperability (RapidCom) initiative.
Public Safety Communications Evolution Brochure (2019) (.pdf, 1.65MB)
CISA updated this brochure in collaboration with SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC), with the support and input of public safety officials to help educate the public safety community and elected and appointed officials about the future of emergency communications.
Created by SAFECOM and NCSWIC, this document provides the implications for the public safety community and the effects of the Public Law 112-96 to recover and auction T-Band spectrum.
This document provides a high-level introduction to the RFP Toolkit to include the purpose and intended use of the toolkit, as well as brief descriptions of each toolkit component.
- Request for Proposal (RFP) Best Practices for Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Subscriber Units Procurement (.pdf, 411KB): This document provides high-level best practices the public safety community should consider when planning and developing LMR subscriber unit RFPs.
- Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Information (RFI) Roles and Responsibilities for Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Subscriber Units Procurement (.pdf, 411KB): This document outlines the roles and responsibilities which the public safety community should consider when creating a team to plan, develop, issue LMR subscriber unit RFPs.
- Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Information (RFI) Development Timeline for Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Subscriber Units Procurement (.pdf, 528KB): This document outlines the timeline and significant steps involved in developing an RFP or RFI to purchase LMR subscriber units.
- Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Information (RFI) Sample Language and Resources for Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Subscriber Units Procurement (.pdf, 1.02MB): This document provides sample content structure and language, along with a list of general user resources, for developing LMR subscriber unit RFPs and RFIs.
Communications and Cyber Resiliency
The ability to maintain voice and data communications at all times is critical for public safety agencies to perform their life-saving missions. By establishing resiliency measures, public safety communications can better withstand potential disruptions to service. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) developed the Public Safety Communications and Cyber Resiliency Toolkit as a collection of resources to assist public safety agencies and others responsible for communications networks in evaluating current resiliency capabilities, identifying ways to improve resiliency, and developing plans for mitigating the effects of potential resiliency threats. To facilitate viewing available resources, an interactive graphic is provided. Topic specific systems-based resources appear as building shapes (blue); threats are cloud shapes (red). Clicking on a topic reveals a list of resources accompanied by a brief description.
Cyber Resiliency Resources for Public Safety Fact Sheet (.pdf, 506KB)
Cybersecurity is a shared mission across all levels of government, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and the public. In this context, organizations must take proactive measures to enhance their overall cybersecurity posture. As achieving secure and resilient communications is essential for agencies to execute their missions, first responder organizations should use available resources to assess the cybersecurity and resiliency of their networks. To help meet this need, CISA has compiled the Cyber Resiliency Resources for Public Safety Fact Sheet. The document provides a non-comprehensive list of cyber resiliency resources available to public safety partners to help assess the cybersecurity and resiliency of mission-critical systems.
Ten Keys to Obtaining a Resilient and Route Diverse Local Access Network helps organizations mitigate threats to communications continuity and supports resilient, “always available communications.” This document presents ten key steps organizations can follow to determine if local network infrastructure communication paths are sufficiently diverse to minimize communications outages.
Complete end-to-end network resilience is difficult to achieve, but an organization can greatly improve “always available” communications by identifying and mitigating resilience issues through a self-assessment of its local access network. The Public Safety Communications Network Resiliency Self-Assessment Guidebook provides instructions on how to assess resiliency of a public safety communications network, describes common critical resiliency gaps in public safety networks, proposes mitigation solutions for assured communications in stressed network environments, and demonstrates a proven methodology for data gathering, connectivity mapping, and analysis. CISA recommends use of the Guidebook for organizations performing resiliency self-assessments of their critical facilities.
Resiliency Fact Sheet (.pdf, 578KB)
The Resiliency Fact Sheet introduces the topic of communications continuity, and discusses the importance of network resiliency. The Fact Sheet provides the available resources to (1) establish a process to assess threats and vulnerabilities to communications networks, (2) enable organizations to conduct self-assessments and (3) identify mitigation solutions. It also conveys the benefits of performing a resiliency self-assessment.
Radio Frequency Interference Best Cyber Practices Guidebook (.pdf, 1.12MB)
Developed by SAFECOM and NCSWIC in collaboration with CISA and the DHS S&T, this whitepaper educates public safety organizations on RF interference threats and the implications they pose to public safety communications. The document provides an overview of the different types of RF interference; summarizes ongoing efforts related to awareness, preparation, mitigation, and current legislation pertaining to such interference; and offers information on how public safety organizations can best recognize, respond to, report, resolve, and become resilient against RF interference incidents.
Risks to Public Safety: Ransomware Guide (.pdf, 380KB)
Public safety organizations are increasingly becoming targets for cybercrimes, such as ransomware attacks. To help improve public safety cyber resiliency and preserve mission-critical functions, CISA developed the Cyber Risks to Public Safety: Ransomware guide. The document provides an overview of how ransomware attacks function, the potential impact on emergency response operations, common cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and best practices to help secure public safety networks. The guide also provides reporting resources for organizations experiencing ransomware attacks. The guide aims to help public safety partners improve resiliency against ransomware threats and secure mission-critical functions.
Public Safety Communications Dependencies on Non-Agency Infrastructure and Services was developed by SAFECOM and NCSWIC. This white paper provides several examples of infrastructure and service dependencies that public safety agencies might have on non-agency entities. For example, agencies readily rely on commercial vendors for subscriber units or on commercial utilities for power supply. Just like the agencies, these contracted entities can be vulnerable to disruptive events. Agencies might engage in several activities to help secure system resiliency and continuity of services.
Infrastructure Obstructions to Radio Propagation (.pdf, 520KB)
The Infrastructure Obstructions to Radio Propagation aims to equip communications system planners and administrators with knowledge to better prepare for changes to existing infrastructure by highlighting potential obstructions (e.g., bridges, wind turbines, cranes) and providing examples of prevention and mitigation approaches. In addition to best practices within the document, it also highlights certain states, territories, or cities that have chosen to pursue more formal guidance to prevent and mitigate signal obstruction.
The Communications Dependencies Case Study: 2020 Midwest Derecho document provides emergency communications administrators with knowledge to better prepare for severe power outages impacting communications and work with commercial providers during and after inclement weather incidents. In addition to lessons learned, the document highlights key takeaways and communications dependencies best practices.
Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSET®) Demonstration for Public Safety
A 90-minute Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) webinar for public safety organizations that demonstrates the Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSET®), and its specific application for emergency communications practitioners. CSET® is a standalone desktop application that guides asset owners and operators through a systematic and repeatable process of assessing the cybersecurity posture of their Operation Technology and Information Technology networks.
For additional information on public safety communications resiliency, please contact CISA at email@example.com.
Public safety communications have already been adapting to the Internet of Things (IoT). Use of a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or navigational system has introduced some of the benefits and risks posed by an IoT environment. Successfully harnessing IoT will allow public safety to maximize existing infrastructure investments and provide near-real time decision support experiences that can change how they operate. As a result, CISA has developed The Internet of Things: Impact on Public Safety Communications white paper to provide guidance on how the community can use IoT-enabled devices to promote information sharing, collaboration, and training, while also addressing the associated cybersecurity, privacy, and system design considerations.
Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft System Resource Guide (.pdf, 363KB)
The Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Resource Guide outlines multiple resources available to public safety communications stakeholders when developing a UAS program or deploying or encountering UAS in the public safety environment. Specifically, the document provides links to publications and other resources containing relevant information about using UAS, developing a UAS program, engaging with the community, responding to unfamiliar or malicious UAS use, and managing UAS with available tools. This resource may also help organizations encountering UAS during emergency response, as may be the case during an event where multiple jurisdictions are involved.