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NJ Office of Emergency Management Increases Communication Capabilities For Emergencies

New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) and NJ Office of Information Technology (OIT) officials today announced an improved capability to deploy emergency communications assets to disaster-ravaged communities. 

A flooded street in Little Egg Harbor during Hurricane Irene
A flooded street in Little Egg Harbor during Hurricane Irene (Shawn Michaels,Townsquare Media NJ)

The new mobile “Strategic Technology Reserve” (STR) equipment will ensure that emergency personnel are able to maintain communications during an emergency or major disaster.

“Experience has demonstrated that disaster conditions can severely impact local emergency communications capabilities over a widespread area,” said State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes, Director of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management.  “We worked closely with OIT to insure that the Strategic Technology Reserve equipment will enable the NJOEM to help restore these critical lifelines as quickly as possible, and allow local responders to aid community members impacted by the event.”

“This is one of several initiatives OIT has undertaken to ensure that the public safety community is equipped statewide with the necessary communications tools to respond to emergency situations,” said  E. Steven Emanuel, New Jersey’s Chief Information Officer. “OIT is building partnerships like this one throughout the State to ensure that the technology needs of various government entities are addressed.”

The STR equipment consists of three “Communications Site on Wheels” (CSOWs).  The CSOWs are deployable communications trailers, each equipped with a 700 Megahertz (MHz) trunked system, very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) and 800 MHz conventional repeaters, an interoperability gateway and caches of portable radios.  The units can accommodate full deployment of the Incident Command System, or serve as a replacement for a destroyed local communications system.

 

The CSOWs will also be deployed during emergency management exercises and planned public events where supplemental communications are needed, to relieve the load on the day-to-day communications facilities of the jurisdiction.   The non-emergency deployments provide the added benefit of training, familiarity and operational readiness with the units.

The $3.1 million in STR equipment purchases are funded through a Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) grant that was awarded to OIT.  The grant is administrated by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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