Interoperability Planning for Wireless Broadband
The Interoperability Planning for Wireless Broadband document was created in coordination with the emergency response community, to assist Statewide Interoperability Coordinators with planning for wireless broadband use in emergency communications.
Public Safety Communications Evolution Brochure
The Public Safety Communications Evolution brochure was developed to help educate the public safety community and elected and appointed officials about the future of emergency communications; describe the evolution of emergency communications and how traditional land mobile radio (LMR) communications used today may converge with wireless broadband in the future if specific requirements are met; and further discuss some of the most important requirements that must be met to achieve the desired long-term state of convergence.
OEC Technical Assistance Catalog
The Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) Technical Assistance Catalog, version 2, is an "evergreen" document that is regularly updated as technical service offerings are modified, added or deleted. Changes to the Catalog are documented on page 1 of the Introduction. These service offerings, which are provided at no cost, include instruction and assistance with planning, governance, operational, and technical aspects of developing and implementing interoperable communications initiatives. Many OEC/ICTAP service offerings may be combined or tailored to meet the specific needs of the requesting organization. This Catalog is also posted at www.publicsafetytools.info. Please submit questions or comments regarding the TA catalog to OEC@hq.dhs.gov.
OEC Technical Assistance Request Form (DHS Form 9043)
An interactive version of the Technical Assistance Request Form which allows for requests to be automatically submitted online to OEC is available at www.publicsafetytools.info.
SWICs may fill out the TA Request form and submit it online (Technical Assistance Request Form (Online Form)). SWICs should insert their name, phone number and date in the SWIC signature block and insert the State Administrative Agency's (SAA) official's name and date coordinated in the SAA signature block (an actual signature is not required). Upon receipt of the submission, an email with all information from the completed form will be sent to OEC with a copy to the requestor to verify the submission.
As an alternative, SWICs may download the TA Request form in PDF format (Technical Assistance Request Form (PDF)), complete it at their workstation and submit it electronically as an attachment to an email to TArequest@hq.dhs.gov or printed copies of the PDF format may be Faxed to (202) 343-4015.
Regional Interoperable Communications Plan Template - September 2011
The RICP template assists States with regional strategic planning efforts by documenting regional strategies for achieving communications operability and interoperability. Statewide Interoperability Coordinators and State Regional Coordinators can adapt and customize this template based on a State’s individual needs. The RICP template uses a standardized format to collect information, ensuring the same information is gathered, leveraged for Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan updates, and shared with other regions for planning and emergency response purposes. The RICP is designed to align the State and regional communi cations interoperability plans, objectives, and goals to the National Emergency Communications Plan.
Regional Interoperability Communications Plan - September 2011
This document offers States guidance on completing the RICP template and provides further explanation on the types of information contained in each of the sections of the RICP template. It is a companion guide to the RICP template itself, which can be customized by States prior to sending the RICP template out to its regions for completion. It is the intent of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) to provide States and their regions with a manageable template that can be easily adapted for their specific need.
Emergency Communications System Life Cycle Planning Guide – August 2011
The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications within the National Protection and Programs Directorate’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications developed, with practitioner input, this System Life Cycle Planning Guide to assist you in your efforts to design, implement, support, and maintain a public safety communications system. The guide walks you through a number of steps and provides a high-level description of each area to help you fully engage in successful systems life cycle management. The guide is a starting point from which your organization can begin to plan and budget for a public safety system’s implementation. Additionally, the guide provides information to help you educate agency or jurisdictional leadership on the complexity of public safety systems in support of your system justification.
The Communications Unit Leader (COML): A Valuable Resource for Incident Commanders
Although the COML is positioned in the Logistics Section, including a COML in planning meetings, operational meetings and/or tactical meetings can bring enormous benefit to the overall coordination of operations. When a COML understands how an incident is being managed from an operational and tactical perspective, he or she can anticipate communications needs and allow teams to work faster and more effectively. The Incident Commander or Operations Chief make the call to include the COML in planning meetings, so it is up to them to ensure that COMLs have the information and level of participation necessary to do their job effectively.
Communications Interoperability Performance Measurement Guide
Interoperable capabilities have improved in recent years through a multi-dimensional view of the issue, statewide strategic plans across the nation, and a national plan presenting a practical vision. National goals today target practical outcomes and impacts rather than mere means to these ends. This guide addresses current performance measurement efforts and presents a step-by-step process to build a performance management framework, apply it, and use results to refine strategy.
Practical Guide to Narrowbanding
The OEC Narrowbanding Guide is a best practices guide, helping emergency responders comply with the FCC narrowbanding mandate. The guide lays out a step-by-step approach for narrowbanding communications equipment and licenses. Five State case studies from Nevada, California, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Missouri illustrate common narrowbanding challenges and their solutions.
Customizable Letter to Local Officials with Budget Authority
The OEC Narrowbanding Guide includes a customizable letter template to spread awareness to Local Officals.
NECP Capabilities Assessment Guide
This document is intended to provide practical guidance for assessing interoperable communications capabilities and will be particularly useful during NECP implementation efforts in 2010 and 2011. The primary audience is Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (SWICs) responsible for implementing their Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans (SCIPs), as well as Urban Area Working Groups (UAWG), and tribal representatives. Capability assessments can identify challenges and successes and help you build effective strategies for achieving and sustaining interoperability.
Formal Agreement and Standard Operating Procedure Template Suite and Reference Library
The Formal Agreement and Standard Operating Procedure Template Suite and Reference Library provide members of the emergency response community with the guidance they need to construct their own formal agreements and standard operating procedures (SOPs) relating to communications interoperability. The Template Suite provides guidance for the construction of a Charter, Executive Order, Local to Local Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), State to Local MOU, System to System Console Patch SOP, Mobile Gateway Patch SOP, Shared Channel SOP, Shared System SOP, and Radio Cache SOP. When leveraging these resources, emergency responders are encouraged to also review the real-world Charter, Executive Order, MOU, and SOP examples contained within the Reference Library. The Reference Library is available through the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council National Interoperability Information eXchange (NIIX) Web site. The NIIX Web site is accessible at www.niix.org.
Popular Tools Catalog: Guidance Documents Supporting Communications Interoperability in Alignment with the National Emergency Communications Plan
The Popular Tools Catalog identifies tools and methodologies created by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications, the SAFECOM program, and other organizations committed to improving communications interoperability nationwide. The Catalog provides a brief overview of various tools and guidance documents, demonstrates their alignment to the National Emergency Communications Plan, and provides a direct Web link to each resource highlighted by the Catalog. These resources identify and promote best practices for interoperable communications by highlighting guidance for stakeholders to advance along the Interoperability Continuum by improving their statewide governance, developing standard operating procedures, managing technology, supporting training and exercises, and encouraging usage of interoperable communications practices.
The Interoperability Continuum provides a graphical depiction to demonstrate the five critical success factors to achieving interoperability, beyond just technology. This tool also provides a framework from which all emergency response agencies at the local, tribal, state, and Federal levels could use to baseline their planning and implementation of interoperability solutions.
Statewide Communications Interoperability Planning (SCIP) Methodology
The Statewide Communications Planning Methodology (SCIP) describes a step-by-step process for developing a locally-driven statewide strategic plan for enhancing communications interoperability.
Operational Guide for the Interoperability Continuum
At the Urban Area Summit, held on October 27th and 28th, 2004 in Washington DC, public safety practitioners and leaders from the ten RapidCom urban areas along with key stakeholders from the local, state, and federal levels convened to share best practices, lessons learned, and other experiences gained from planning and implementing communications interoperability solutions. The purpose of this report is to share the valuable information learned from the representatives of the public safety community that participated in RapidCom and to provide a framework for communities and regions to use in their communications interoperability planning efforts.
Creating a Charter for a Multi-Agency Communications Interoperability Committee
This tool provides guidance for developing charter documents for multi-agency communications interoperability committees. The document is laid out in a recommended Charter structure with suggested headings for each section. Each section poses questions to consider when writing content for a charter. Sample paragraphs are included for your reference.
Writing Guide for a Memorandum of Understanding
This tool provides guidance for developing an MOU. The document is laid out in a recommended MOU structure with suggested headings for each section. Each section poses questions to consider when writing content for an MOU. Sample paragraphs are included for your reference.
Writing Guide for Standard Operating Procedures
The purpose of the Writing Guide for Standard Operating Procedures is to assist communities that want to establish formal written guidelines or instructions for incident response. Each section poses questions to consider when writing content for SOPs. Sample paragraphs are included for your reference.
Data Messaging Standards Guide for Requests for Proposals
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a Data Messaging Standards Guide for Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Developed with practitioner input, the Guide is intended to assist procurement officials who develop RFPs for emergency response information technology systems. The language provided in the guide requires manufacturers to incorporate Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) messaging standards into their products. EDXL standards enable emergency responders to share critical data—such as a map, a situational report, or an alert—seamlessly across disparate software applications, devices, and systems. Effective exchange of this type of data is essential during emergency response operations.
Communications-Specific Tabletop Exercise Methodology
The Communications-Specific Tabletop Exercise Methodology is intended to help local policymakers and Federal technical assistance programs plan, conduct, and evaluate communications-specific exercises in collaboration with the emergency response community. A communications-specific tabletop exercise is a forum to evaluate current communications plans, communications concepts, resources, and interoperable capabilities. The exercises developed and executed as a result of this methodology will help localities identify interoperability capabilities and gaps in existing processes. Replicable nationwide, this methodology may be tailored to the specific needs, realities, and organizational cultures of diverse localities.
Establishing Governance to Achieve Statewide Communications Interoperability: A Guide for Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP) Implementation
Developed by the Office of Emergency Communications, Establishing Governance to Achieve Statewide Communications Interoperability: A Guide for Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP) Implementation demonstrates a methodology to implement SCIP strategic initiatives by leveraging collaborative practitioner-driven statewide governance. The guide promotes a coordinated practitioner-driven approach to ensure comprehensive implementation of communications interoperability strategies outlined within the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP); each State’s SCIP; and regional/local strategic planning documents. In particular, the guide supports NECP Initiative 1.1: “Facilitate the development of effective governance groups and designated emergency communications leadership roles.”
The guide is separated into two major sections: Chapters Two and Three offer an overview of statewide governance for communications interoperability while Chapters Four and Five focus on leveraging practitioner-driven governance to support SCIP implementation. Together, these two sections provide comprehensive insight into the establishment, improvement, and usage of governance to enhance statewide communications interoperability.
Regional Intrastate Governance Guide for Interoperable Emergency Communications Efforts
Developed with input from stakeholders, this guide explains how to set up regional governance organizations for emergency communications. Regional governance organizations support strong statewide governance and provide a way to unite stakeholder voices and ensure that local concerns are heard and addressed at the state level. Additionally, these organizations can provide a new means for establishing procedures, communicating, and sharing resources within a region.
Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP) Template
The Tactical Interoperable Communications Plan (TICP) is designed to allow urban areas, counties, regions, states/territories, tribes, or Federal departments/agencies to document interoperable communications governance structures, technology assets, and usage policies and procedures. The TICP is used to clearly define the breadth and scope of interoperable assets available in the area; how those assets are shared and how their use is prioritized; and the steps individual agencies should follow to request, activate, use, and deactivate each asset. Completed TICPs were required for all 2005 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) sites and are encouraged for newly designated UASI (and non-UASI) cities, counties, multi-county regions, tribes, and states/territories. The TICP Template provides a description of the standard structure of a TICP and the relevant sections to be populated according to the unique needs of an urban area, county, region, state/territory, tribe, or Federal department/agency.
The TICP Template was recently updated and reorganized so that each asset type and its associated standard operating procedure are now in the same section. Additional updates include:
- Added mobile communications assets
- Added a referenced materials appendix
- Updated and expanded the Incident Command System appendix
- Replaced the Training section with a Regional Emergency Resource Staffing section
- Added a section on the Communication Assets Survey and Mapping tool