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Quality Digest

Standards

New Task Force Will Create Interoperable Standards

Published: Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 22:00

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to form a task force to develop standards to facilitate interoperability of communications equipment used by various emergency personnel. A recent DHS report highlights the need for interoperable emergency communications devices. The task force will initially focus on reaching agreements on terminology and language, proper governance, standard operating procedures and training on the use of equipment. First responders will be invited to participate in the task force in order to identify functional requirements and guide purchasing decisions for the generation of emergency equipment.

Michael Chertoff, DHS secretary, says, “The problems associated with the lack of coordination in the public safety community . . . include a lack of a shared and agreed-upon priority for achieving interoperability, and they also involve limited sharing of interoperability solutions.”

To assess the current state of interoperability among state and local governments, the DHS recently launched the National Baseline Interoperability Survey. The department has asked 75 metropolitan-area governments to submit interoperable communications plans. Since 2003, the DHS has allocated more than $2.1 billion to states for interoperable communications, equipment, planning and training.

For more information, visit www.ansi.org.

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