Automated Situational Awareness
Written by Susan Geoghegan
November issue of Law and Order Magazine
To ensure successful management of mission-critical operations, public safety agencies continue to focus on technologies that enhance situational awareness.
Police, fire and emergency personnel rely upon a network of combined communications systems to effectively assess and control crisis situations. From wireless data, voice and video solutions to state-of-the-art mobile command centers, today’s first responders have access to an unprecedented amount of technological tools that result in enhanced public safety.
PEAKE offers customized solutions using an integrated approach that provides full connectivity in the field. Its management team has more than 30 years of combined experience, and its staff is trained and certified at the highest levels in the industry.
By partnering with leading vendors, PEAKE provides quality products and services and is dedicated to helping customers find flexible, cost-effective solutions to suit their needs. PEAKE solutions include mobile command vehicles, emergency management centers, tactical video surveillance and rapidly deployable communications systems.
TCOMM is a tactical communications vehicle that gives public safety personnel full voice, data and video interoperability at any location. Custom-configured on a Chevrolet Avalanche platform, TCOMM is equipped with ICS’ patented On-board VehiclePower architecture. Quick and easy to set up, TCOMM gives first responders access to phones, data systems and video teleconference via Tactical-IP satellite connectivity.
The Tactical-Voice VoIP solution uses standards-based, off-the-shelf systems that offer a single or set of local Direct Inward Dial (DID) line appearances. Powered by the PEAKE Tactical Incident Communications System (TICS), TCOMM delivers reliable connectivity in both urban settings and rugged, isolated areas.
The PEAKE pCom 355 is a mobile communications infrastructure solution that gives first responders essential on-scene communications and site resources in a portable platform. With 100 gallons of diesel on board, this self-sufficient system can stay powered without refueling for up to seven days. Towable by any half-ton truck, the unit comes equipped with an integrated 41-foot tower that provides site lighting, radio and repeater antennas, and wireless mesh endpoints.
The system also includes the PEAKE Outrigger Network Extension Module and 1,000 feet of tactical-grade fiber optics to provide extended system capabilities into fixed facilities or shelters. The system features an environmentally controlled electronics enclosure that meets extreme environment NEMA4X standards, can be quickly deployed by one person in less than 15 minutes, and is ideal for tighter, hard-to-reach areas.
In September of 2010, North Carolina’s Urban Search and Rescue Taskforce 8 (NCTF-8) took delivery of an PEAKE pCom 355, providing the team with an effective portable solution when natural or man-made disasters occur. The system includes an ACU-2000 interoperability switch that connects to Motorola’s XTL-5000 LMR radios, allowing operators to patch UHF, VHF and other radio networks. Also included in the PEAKE pCom 355 system is a SkyTerra MSAT G2 radio that can be integrated into the ACU-2000 or used standalone, providing L-Band satellite PTT and two-way voice capability.
NCTF-8 Program Manager/TFL Battalion Chief Frank McLaurin explained that the PEAKE pCom 355 complements their existing equipment and will encourage future interoperability efforts through the state. “Having PEAKE as a partner on this program ensured that NCTF-8 is a leader in communications capability and can directly interface and be system-level compatible with the other state teams should the need arise,” McLaurin said.
In 2009, the Salt Lake City UASI COML Group and the Charlotte Fire Department FIELDCOM unit participated in a fourday cross-training exercise that took place on the grounds of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and Fire Training Academy in North Carolina. Conducted by PEAKE and hosted by the Charlotte Fire Department (CFD), the exercise simulated a multi-agency regional incident response and allowed the two agencies to share best practices and standard operating guidelines.
After training on the new systems, which included several PEAKE solutions, the COML team established a command and communications center at the “incident” site. The CFD FIELDCOM Unit also trained on SLC’s communications systems and offered best practices for similar equipment used at their agency. The simulation encompassed two different scenarios— one a search and rescue mission, the other a surveillance response to an active shooter suspect.
Members of each team were able to patch their radios through the MITS ACU-2000 radio interoperability solution, allowing disparate radio systems to talk across the various LMR systems, SkyTerra MSAT and Broadband VSAT VoIP Links. The agencies were also able to send data and video from team to team using various methods, and at one point were sending tactical video links from each team’s cameras to the incident command structure.
Leaders from both teams noted the importance of information-sharing and interoperability testing among regions on a national level. Charlotte Fire Department Communications Lead Gregory Hauser said, “When PEAKE approached CFD with this training opportunity, we were very interested in learning how the equipment and technology was being put to use by the SLC. When Field- Comm’s equipment could function with MITS-1’s equipment, true interoperability was demonstrated.”
Salt Lake City Fire Captain Jeffrey Clark found the exercise to be a unique and immeasurable experience for their communications team: “The successful testing of interoperability between two different UASI region assets was a truly beneficial exercise that we hope to duplicate again.”
According to Chris Boyd, communications architect and vice president of Marketing and Product Development for PEAKE, the company’s turnkey applications make its solutions a better choice. After spending time with each customer to assess mission and capability requirements, PEAKE takes that information and custom builds the product around those needs. It also offers professional services that include project management, systems training and integration, deployment support and COOP development.