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New LMR system overcomes big hurdle

Durham Communications held its 2013 Public Safety Land Mobile Radio (LMR) System Project Recap presentation earlier this week at the Sadie’s by the Sea conference room. Discussions during the recap included agency specific objectives as well as inter-agency cooperation goals in the development of public safety emergency communications interoperability.


One of the speakers for the recap presentation was DPS Commissioner William Haleck who said, “It is great to know that we now have a radio communication system that is the state of the art that is comparable to radio systems that are working in all of law enforcement in all of the emergency responders in all of the country."


 “This system came about as a result of the 9/11 incident when the US Department of Homeland Security was established,” he explained.


He said that after 9/11 occurred, authorities realized that communication for all of the emergency responders to talk to one another was not happening.


“As a result of that, the Department of Homeland Security was initiated and as a result of that, all of these things trickled down to all of the federal agencies and it also trickled down to American Samoa,” he said.


Haleck said that he was very thankful that this project was started in 2010 and completed this year. “All of the emergency responders can now talk to one another. We now have a system that we can all get on top if there is ever a disaster or an occasion that requires emergency responding in American Samoa —where we are all in a collaborative effort to work together— we now have a system capable of doing this,” he said.


Regional Representative for Durham Communications Richard Semo explained, “We were contracted by the Department of Public Safety as a lead agency in the Department of Homeland Security funded program. We put in a Land Mobile Radio System for the Department of Public Safety with the priority going to the Fire, Police and EMS, Homeland Security and Airport Security.”


He stated that two months ago the system was put into place and tested. It worked,  and  the Department of Public Safety, the DPS Fire Department and the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are making use of it.


Yesterday’s recap presentation was for all First Responders, where presenters shared with the other departments what they have, and what is in place.


The American Samoa Department of Homeland Security Director Utualii Iuniasolua Savusa was on hand for the presentation, and he noted, “Having to respond to emergencies around the world, in my previous career, was a must.”


In speaking about communication, he said that it is one of the first priorities that must be established before anything else. He spoke on the importance of good communication for first responders, especially for the people here in remote areas such as the Territory.


He said that there are still some 'dead spots' around Tutuila, as well as Aunu’u, and in Manu’a— there are a few dead spots there as well.


“I am glad that Homeland Security was able to fund this project, with the second phase coming in and we are looking at putting together the requirements for that. I will definitely be involved in the requirements for that second phase to ensure that everybody else receives this capability,” the head of the local DHS said.


The presentation consisted of an all morning session that included keynote speakers from the American Samoa Government Public Safety Community-Senior Management Level.


Also acknowledged during the presentation was the implementation of a standard base level Public Safety E911 Dispatch System, supported by an operational Public Safety LMR Communications System infrastructure.