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Appendix H - Interoperable Communications Plan

Section 1. Introduction

1.1 Overview

Binghamton University is located in Broome County in south central New York and is bounded by the State of Pennsylvania to the south, Tioga County to the west, Delaware County to the east and Cortland and Chenango County to the north. The population of Broome County is just under 200,000 and is divided into one City, seven Villages and sixteen Towns. The topography is rolling with three major valleys; two north to south and one from northeast to southwest.

Law enforcement in Broome County is provided by the Broome County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, one City Police Department, one Town Police Department and 4 Village Police Departments. Other Law Enforcement agencies that are present in the County are the New York State Park Police, New York State University Police, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police, New York State Forest Rangers and Broome County Security.

The County is also protected by three career fire departments and thirty three volunteer fire companies, one Airport CFR Department, one private fire brigade and a University Emergency Response Team. Emergency Medical Service is provided by one totally proprietary ambulance, four private/volunteer ambulance corps and six volunteer ambulance corps.

All public safety agencies in the county are served by the Broome County Office of Emergency Services consolidated 911 Center which receives and direct dispatches all calls for service, both hard-line and wireless; this includes the direct dispatch of New York State Police and New York State Park Police in the closest car concept for all 911 calls. The dispatch function utilizes computer aided dispatching, direct radio dispatching, mobile data terminals and automatic vehicle location with mapping. In the event of a communications failure the County utilizes three back up sites as well as a complete back up of all 911 telephone lines and non 911 lines in remote locations. In the case of a major incident or event the Office of Emergency Services has two mobile command/communications/operations vehicles that can be utilized to completely “take over” all on scene communications. The Broome County 911 Center also has the capability of communicating with the following agencies: local highway departments, American Red Cross, State Emergency Management Office and surrounding County Fire Control Centers.

The Broome County 911 Center utilizes six hilltop transmitter sites and one local transmitter site. All sites are linked by a 5 GHZ microwave system which allows radio and data transmission. Utilizing this arrangement the dispatch center has 100% mobile radio coverage, 90% portable radio coverage and 95% pager coverage. The radio systems range from low band, high band and UHF for fire agencies, high band for EMS agencies and high band repeater for law enforcement agencies. The majority of public safety communications is in clear language with no codes utilized.

As communication equipment is purchased every attempt is made to coordinate purchases so that all equipment is interchangeable by make and model.

1.2 Included Agencies

This plan shall include all emergency service agencies that operate within Broome County (town, village, county, state, and federal). These agencies include but are not limited to the following organizations:

Fire Departments (career & volunteer)

Law Enforcement Agencies

Emergency Medical Service (ambulance) agencies

State University of New York (Binghamton University)

1.3 Points of Contact

Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan:

Name: Brett Chellis
Title: Broome County Director of Emergency Services
Address: 153 Lt. VanWinkle Drive, Binghamton, NY 13905-1559
Phone: (607) 778-1208
E-Mail: bchellis@co.broome.ny.us
 
Swap Radios
Name: Tom Vroman
Title: Broome County Deputy Fire Coordinator
Address: 153 Lt. VanWinkle Drive, Binghamton, NY 13905-1559
Phone: (607) 778-1887
E-Mail: tvroman@co.broome.ny.us
 
SyTech RIOS Gateway Radio
Name: David J. Hubeny
Title: NYS University Police, Emergency Manager
Address: Binghamton University, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13760
Phone: (607) 777-2049 (o) (607) 343-3602 (c)
E-Mail: dhubeny@binghamton.edu
 
 

Section 2. Governance

2.1 Overview

The Broome County Office of Emergency Services operates a consolidated 911 Center and is the primary emergency management agency for Broome County. The office is managed by the Director of Emergency Services.

In addition to the Broome County 911 Center, Binghamton University operates a 911 Center that serves the Binghamton University campus. This center is operated by the New York State University Police Department (NYSUPD) and is ultimately managed by the NYSUPD Chief of Police.

It will be the responsibility of the Broome County Director of Emergency Services to manage the Interoperable Communications Plan. The NYSUPD Chief of Police shall be responsible for the management of the Gateway radio equipment. At the discretion of either manager, a designee may be appointed to represent his/her agency and/or a committee may be created to manage interoperable communications.

2.1 Membership

Local, county, state and federal agencies / organizations will be invited to participate in training and offer opinions on the use of interoperable radio equipment. Any organization that would like to participate in this process should contact the Broome County Director of Emergency Services (listed above).

Section 3. Interoperability Equipment

3.1 Swap Radio

Broome County Office of Emergency Services maintains a cache of portable radios that may be utilized for emergency incidents and planned events. The county maintains the following equipment:

3.2 Shared Channel

During the normal day to day activities of a 911 Center the dispatch and information provided to public safety agencies in Broome County is undertaken on that agencies normal dispatch frequency. In the event of a major emergency or inter-jurisdictional event the following can occur:

3.3 Gateway

Binghamton University owns and operates a SyTech SR-3001 R adio I nter O perability S ystem (RIOS).

3.4 Shared System

All equipment listed in this plan is available to all agencies that participate as part of the Broome County mutual aid plan or as approved by the Broome County Director of Emergency Services and/or the NYSUPD Chief of Police.

Section 4. Policies & Procedures for Interoperable Equipment

4.1 Swap Radios

Technology Overview

Broome County Office of Emergency Services maintains a cache of portable radios that may be utilized for emergency incidents and planned events. The county maintains the following equipment:

The Swap Radios have multiple frequencies pre-programmed (the number of available frequencies depends on the model radio being used). Channel 1 of all UHF Swap Radios is preprogrammed to the UHF repeater. All other radio channels are programmable and can be set to a variety of frequencies.

Rules of Use

The Broome County Swap Radios are maintained by the Broome County Office of Emergency Services. Once the radios have been delivered to any other agency that agency becomes responsible for the radios and any related equipment (i.e. chargers, batteries, etc.). A signature from a person authorized to assume responsibility for the radios is required before the radios can be transferred.

Interoperable Communications Request

The Broome County Swap Radios may be requested for use at emergency incidents or planned events.

Emergency Incidents:

To request Swap Radios for an emergency incident, the incident commander shall contact Broome County dispatch and formally request the equipment. The dispatch supervisor will then contact the County Fire Coordinator or Deputy Fire Coordinator to evaluate the request. If it is determined that the radios will be made available, the radios will be immediately delivered to the scene.

Planned Events:

To request Swap Radios for a planned event, a senior official for the event must contact Tom Vroman, Deputy Fire Coordinator at 778-1918. The request will be evaluated and the availability of the radios will be determined within a few days of the request.

Radio Cache Activation

The radio cache will become active once the radios have been officially turned over to the requesting agency. If the UHF repeater is necessary, a representative from Broome County Office of Emergency Services (OES) will work with the requesting agency to determine the most appropriate setup and use of the unit.

Radio Cache Deactivation

When the requesting agency determines it no longer requires the radio cache equipment it will immediately notify the radio cache coordinator. The requesting agency shall collect and inventory all of the radio equipment prior to turning over to the radio cache coordinator. All equipment will be inventoried by the coordinator upon receipt.

Problem ID and Resolution

All problems / difficulties that are experienced with the Swap Radios shall be immediately reported to a Broome County Fire Coordinator or Deputy Fire Coordinator. The details of the problem shall be provided to the Fire Coordinator’s office in writing, or verbally when circumstances prevent the timely submission of a written report.

4.3 Gateways

Technology Overview

Binghamton University owns and operates the SyTech SR-3001 R adio I nter O perability S ystem (RIOS). The RIOS allows for the ability to communicate between any types of dissimilar communications systems, e.g. radios, telephones, computers and other forms of communications systems may be connected into “Talk Groups”. In addition to voice communications, the RIOS will also allow for data inter-operability, using 802.XX technology.

The RIOS consists of a computer, I/O chassis and the inter-connecting radios. The portable RIOS is small enough to be carried on a commercial airliner as checked baggage and can be easily configured in a vehicle such as a Suburban or any SUV. The I/O chassis provides for a DC input from the vehicle 12-volt system. The portable RIOS is typically used with portable hand held radios but may be used with land mobile radios (LMRs), thus increasing output power. LMR’s that are computer controlled may be controlled from the dispatcher console, thus allowing for the dispatcher to remotely control the frequency of the radios. This remote radio control allows for the RIOS to have the frequency of the gateway radio match the frequency of the field radios.

The communications between the radios is controlled through the use of a PC computer and SyTech designed and developed software. The software is used to setup communications links between all types of communications systems. The RIOS will allow for the full capabilities of a dispatch center (telephones, radios and data). The main computer functions both as the database and recorder server. Additional PC’s can be connected via a LAN as client stations. These client stations have the full and complete suite of software to allow for the control of all communications. As audio from the communications is being recorded, the radio dispatcher/controller may also view the radio data (e.g. Caller ID, start time, duration, etc). Audio is recorded immediately to the archive media, magneto optical or DVD. Available to the radio dispatcher/operator is the full suite of the Advanced Digital and Analog Collection (ADACS) analysis software. After the call has ended, the operator may play back the call and use MS Word to provide a complete transcription of the recorded call. The playback audio is displayed as a frequency spectrum. This frequency spectrum allows the user to identify speakers or allows for forensic analysis. A remote computer may be connected to the system through the use of high-speed WANs or Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) lines. The system is fully compliant with all police, fire and EMS radio communications. A report writer-generator allows for the automatic creation of any reports required by Police or Fire Departments. For example, Traffic Reports and Individual User Reports are fully automated.

In the United States, there are certain channels within the VHF and UHF range of frequencies that are reserved for interoperable communications. These frequencies can be used on a non-routine basis for interoperable communications between any local or state entity. Additionally, these channels can be used across interstate borders with neighboring public safety jurisdictions. The FCC has made these frequencies primary status as of January 1, 2005. Below are the frequencies and suggested labels.

VHF High Band (150-174 MHz)

UHF High Band (450-470 MHz)

Rules of Use

The Binghamton University RIOS is maintained by the New York State University Police. Unless otherwise arranged, the RIOS will be delivered with at least one Binghamton University operator. The Binghamton University employee sent with the RIOS will be the only individual(s) that will be allowed to operate the radio. While the equipment is under the control of a trained operator/university employee, Binghamton University shall maintain all responsibility associated with the RIOS hardware. If arrangements have been agreed upon that allow the RIOS to be operated by non-university employee, the agency operating the equipment will assume all responsibility for the RIOS system and all associated hardware.

Prior to Binghamton University allowing other agency employees / members to operate the RIOS, each individual that will operate the RIOS must attend a training session on the proper use and maintenance of the equipment. Arrangements for training can be made be contacting Dave Hubeny, New York State University Police Special Services Coordinator at 777-2049.

Interoperable Communications Request

The Binghamton University Gateway Radio (RIOS) may be requested for use at emergency incidents or planned events.

Emergency Incidents:

To request the RIOS for an emergency incident, the incident commander shall contact Broome County dispatch and formally request the equipment. The dispatch supervisor will then contact the County Fire Coordinator or Deputy Fire Coordinator to evaluate the request. If it is determined that the RIOS should be made available, Broome County shall contact the New York State University Police dispatch desk and request the equipment and an operator be sent to the scene. NYSUPD shall advise Broome dispatch of the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the RIOS and the operator.

Planned Events:

To request the RIOS for a planned event, a senior official for the event must contact Dave Hubeny, Binghamton University Emergency Manager at 777-2049. The request will be evaluated and the availability of the RIOS will be determined within a few days of the request. Broome County Emergency Services will be kept advised of all scheduled uses of the RIOS.

Gateway Activation

When the gateway radio arrives on the scene, the operator will report to the incident command post. With the Incident Commander, the gateway operator will determine the location where the equipment will be set up and what agencies need to communicate with each other. The RIOS operator will require one radio per agency, per frequency, that is included on the list of supported radios.

Prior to linking agencies / frequencies / bands, the RIOS operator will confirm with the IC the RIOS configuration. When a link between agencies / frequencies / bands has been established, the RIOS operator will transmit a message stating that the link has been established. Prior to breaking a link, the RIOS operator will transmit a message stating that the link will be discontinued.

While the RIOS is operating, the operator will monitor and record all transmissions. Requests to create and break links should be made to the incident command post (ICP) and then from the ICP to the RIOS operator.

Gateway Deactivation

When the RIOS will be deactivated, the operator will transmit a message stating that all links will be discontinued. The RIOS will be shut down and radio communications will return to normal status. The RIOS operator will advise the Broome County Office of Emergency Services (OES) that the RIOS has been shut down.

Problem ID and Resolution

All problems / difficulties that are experienced with the RIOS shall be immediately reported to the RIOS operator or Dave Hubeny, New York State University Police Special Services Coordinator at 777-2049. The details of the problem shall be provided in writing, or verbally when circumstances prevent the timely submission of a written report.

Section 5. Plans for Tactical Communications During an Incident

5.1 Participating Functional Disciplines

Tactical / emergency operations shall take priority above planned or non-emergency events. If interoperable equipment has been distributed and an emergency arises where the equipment is necessary, every effort shall be made to make the equipment available for the emergency operation.

5.2 Plan for Tactical Use of Interoperability Resources

Interoperable resources shall be used and managed within the structure of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Form ICS-205 (INCIDENT RADIO COMMUNICATIONS PLAN) shall be used to manage these resources. The ICS form shall document the following items:

Incident Command : Detail what method or specific interoperability resources will be used for communication among the Incident Command Staff and with other Sections General Staff.

Operations Section : Detail what method or specific interoperability resources will be used for communication within the Operations Staff and with other Sections Operations Staff.

Planning Section : Detail what method or specific interoperability resources will be used for communication within the Planning Section and with other Sections.

Logistics Section : Detail what method or specific interoperability resources will be used for communication within the Logistics Section and with other Sections.

Finance Section : While often not activated until later in a major incident (typically during the recovery phase), maintenance of detailed equipment and personnel activities and expenditures is critical for disaster reimbursement. If there is a communications requirement for this Section, detail what method or specific interoperability resources will be used for communication within the Finance Section and with other Sections.

Section 6. NIMS Training

All incidents requesting the use of interoperable radios shall follow the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Communications unit leaders, equipment radio operators, and other appropriate personnel shall meet all training and operational requirements set forth by NIMS.

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Last Updated: 4/7/14