After 9/11, communications still a focus for VA emergency response

Emergency Management Alert, September 15, 2009

During the 9/11 attacks, emergency workers at the Pentagon in Arlington County and the World Trade Center in New York City weren't always able to communicate because different radio systems were used, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Since the attacks, Virginia has struggled to finish a radio system that state police, as well as 20 other state agencies, could use to speak to one another during emergencies. Some areas are now using an Internet-based technology, called COMLINC, to use different radio systems to talk to one another.

Another problem faced by the state arose after the Virginia Tech shootings. Colleges and universities are not on the same emergency communication systems, mainly because they have not been eligible for homeland security grants, according to the Times-Dispatch.

Emergency communications have accounted for about one-third of $268 million in federal homeland-security grants the state has received since 2003. (That total does not include about $330 million spent in Northern Virginia and the rest of the Washington region, or spending on bioterrorism and hospital readiness.)

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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