Mayor Graham Richard today discussed results of a report that examined ways to enhance communication systems in a major, communitywide emergency.

Lou Dollive, President and General Manager at ITT Industries and Wayne Iurillo, Site Executive at Raytheon, co-chaired the Disaster Communication Response BEST Team (Building Excellent Services through Teams). The team also included officials from the City of Fort Wayne and Allen County. Mayor Richard and Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters created the BEST team in September 2005.

“There is great value in working with respected local experts as we work through community challenges,” said Mayor Richard. “A high trust, high performance public-private partnership with ITT and Raytheon improves our ability to respond to emergencies. We will begin a thorough review of the recommendations and look to incorporate changes that will enhance services for residents.”

* The current Fort Wayne-Allen County public safety communications system is capable and robust against routine equipment failures

* Some vulnerabilities that need to be addressed include: unity of effort, maintenance and upgrade of existing systems, and overload of 911 dispatchers

* The public safety communications system is complex and technologically challenging

* The overall management of the system needs to be improved

* Continue with maintenance and system development plans
* Continue to update vulnerability charts and evaluate influences on the current system
* Build redundancies for current 800 MHz system
* Prior to an emergency, ensure the operation and maintenance of the system is centrally managed
* Add military radio systems to achieve interoperability and facilitate interagency communications early in a disaster
* Expand amateur radio participation
* Add a web-based approach to current 911 system
* Initiate emergency calls through fire stations during widespread telephone outages
* Educate the public on the use of the 911 system in a major disaster
* Partner with local media to pre-plan communication plans in a disaster