DHS Releases National Emergency Communications Plan

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released the National Emergency Communications Plan on Thursday, saying the 83-page document is intended to address deficiencies and lead improvements in emergency response communications around the country. The document sets successively higher goals for 2010, 2011, and 2013.

"This is a comprehensive plan designed to drive measurable and sustainable improvements to operable and interoperable emergency communications nationwide over the next three years. It emphasizes the human element and cross-jurisdictional cooperation, going beyond simply buying new equipment," said DHS Under Secretary Robert Jamison. "We have recently approved Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans for all 56 states and territories. Aligning these plans with the NECP will move emergency communications forward and further promote a coordinated nationwide strategy."

The goals set deadlines for federal, state, local and tribal authorities:

* By 2010, 90 percent of all high-risk urban areas designated within the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) can demonstrate response-level emergency communications within one hour for routine events involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
* By 2011, 75 percent of non-UASI jurisdictions can demonstrate response-level emergency communications within one hour for routine events involving multiple jurisdictions and agencies.
* By 2013, 75 percent of all jurisdictions can demonstrate response-level emergency communications within three hours of a significant event, as outlined in the department's national planning scenarios.

The plan is consistent with the National Response Framework; National Incident Management System; National Preparedness Guidelines; and Target Capabilities List. It was developed by the DHS Office of Emergency Communications in cooperation with more than 150 public and private-sector emergency communications officials. To read it, visit www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/national_emergency_communications_plan.pdf.

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