Canadian police officers, firefighters and paramedics must have access to modern and reliable communications

NNLCRIMEbeatTHUNDER BAY – Crimebeat – If you remember back to September 11, 2001 one of the major problems on that terrible day in New York City was that the various law enforcement, Firefighters and Emergency First Responders did not have the ability to communicate with each other. They were all on different radio frequencies.

That is likely to end in the near future as moves are being made in Canada to allow Canadian and American First Responders to communicate directly on their radios. Canada is moving to set up a seamless intergration with the 700 MHz radio frequency band.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) and Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada (EMSCC) joined together to express their support for the Government of Canada’s designation of spectrum in the 700 MHz band for public safety broadband use.

“We applaud the Government of Canada’s commitment to designate spectrum in the 700 MHz band for public safety broadband use,” said Chief Dale McFee, President of the CACP. “This will allow Canada to align with the United States for true cross-border interoperability between public safety agencies.”

Together, the Tri-Services committee of Police, Fire and EMS Chiefs have been advocating for a 20 MHz portion of the 700 MHz spectrum to ensure seamless communication among responders.

“Canadian police officers, firefighters and paramedics must have access to modern and reliable communications capabilities, including high speed data and video, to communicate with each other across agencies and jurisdictions during emergencies,” added Chief Michael Nolan, President of the EMS Chiefs of Canada. “Access to the 700 MHz bandwidth is a requirement for 21st century communications for Canada’s First Responders. We are pleased that public safety’s voice has been heard.”

On February 17, 2012, U.S. Congress agreed to allocate an additional block of bandwidth to public safety and support the development of a mission-critical, nationwide public safety broadband network. The U.S. had already allocated 10 MHz to broadband and with the inclusion of the D Block it gave public safety 20 MHz of broadband.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis has indicated that Ottawa is reviewing the implication of the designation by the United States of the D-block of the spectrum for public safety use and will consult stakeholders on a similar option for Canadian first responders.

“We are encouraged by the Government of Canada’s intention to mirror the U.S. allocation, which will improve the ability of emergency responders to protect communities and save lives,” said Chief Rob Simonds, President of the CAFC. “Spectrum allocations are essential to the Canadian Tri-Services’ vision of improved interoperability and integrated emergency management.”

The Tri-Services Associations also recognized the strong leadership role the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG) has played in bringing this issue to the forefront in Canada. The Police, Fire and EMS Chiefs are proud of the success of this important partnership, first created in 2008.
For more information on 700 MHz Broadband for Mission Critical Public Safety Data, visit www.action700.ca.