BAE’s system qualifies to save lives

1 min read

BAE Systems’ First InterComm first-responder interoperable communications system has received SAFETY Act designation from the US Department of Homeland Security as a qualified anti-terrorism technology.

According to BAE Systems, First InterComm enables emergency services to interoperate using their existing radios and frequencies. The vehicle-mounted units link all of the radios at an incident scene without towers or other infrastructure.

The system also allows the creation of "talk groups" to eliminate distractions resulting from too many people talking on the radio at the same time. Using First InterComm, an incident commander can maintain communication with all emergency services while designating which agencies to isolate into talk groups.

The system has been demonstrated in a series of trials and exercises, including operation by emergency services during actual emergencies. Police and fire departments from Amherst, Bedford, and Merrimack, New Hampshire, recently conducted a mock test of First InterComm in which officials were automatically patched in with other radios of different frequencies and operating modes, enabling them to communicate instantly.

The SAFETY Act designation is provided under a 2002 federal law known as the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act.

In 2004, the

9/11 Commission

published its report documenting the difficulties emergency services faced due to a lack of communications interoperability at the

World Trade Center

. That same year, BAE Systems established a homeland security initiative to address those needs.