Incident Command, Control and Communications Interoperability

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					    Incident Command, Control and Communications Interoperability


The __ Fire Department is pleased to submit this grant application for a project that aims to provide effective incident
command, control, and communications interoperability for our fire department and supporting public safety agencies.
This application seeks equipment and training that will achieve incident command and control by providing resource and
data tracking and real-time communications. The training component included here will ensure that all the firefighters
and supporting public safety providers are equipped with the knowledge in using the equipment during day-to-day
emergency response operations. The equipment and training requested in this grant will help us to fully operationalize
and streamline NIMS/ICS throughout our operations and pre-planning.


     a. Needs Assessment
The __ Fire Department determined that this project is necessary for our day-to-day operations based upon an
assessment of the challenges we face in streamlining NIMS/ICS and effective management – all impacting our ability to
enhance firefighter line-of-duty life safety. Our assessment is based on several key indicators such as:
     1. communication problems
     2. frequency of need
     3. preparedness for major incidents
     4. protection of critical infrastructure sites
     5. efforts to increase firefighter life safety

The project will provide an automated incident command system that will ensure streamlined implementation &
compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) in all
planning, prevention, response, and recovery processes.

The __ fire department is located in __ county in the State of __ . Our department consists of __ fire stations where we
have a total of __ career firefighters __ volunteer firefighters. We have a total response area of over __ square miles and
serve a population of more than __1. We are located __ miles from ___ [provide name of major city] – a city designated
under the Urban Area Security Initiative - and includes [list which apply - urban, suburban, and rural] communities. The
population density of __ is __ persons per square mile according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2.

Most importantly, this region serves as a major center for [list which applies - economic development, industry,
agriculture, higher education, etc.] in the State of __. Our fire department provides all vital emergency response
functions & services, [list which services apply – Structural Fire Suppression, Wildland Fire Suppression, Airport Rescue
Firefighters, Medical-First Response, Basic Life Support, Advanced Life Support, Hazmat Operational Level, Hazmat
Technical Level, Rescue Operational Level, Rescue Technical Level]. Our response are also encompasses many critical
infrastructure3 sites that we help to protect, [list specific sites, may include: public water, electrical generating sites, major
businesses, shopping centers, chemical facilities, nuclear power plants, LNG terminals, major rail & highways, petroleum
and natural gas pipelines or storage facilities, large public gathering areas/stadiums/arenas, and large industrial facilities]

Achieving mission critical command, control and communications interoperability are key issues for our fire department
for both day-to-day mutual aid and for major incident preparedness. Our fire department is often required to support
response and recovery operations while interfacing with other public safety agencies such as Emergency Medical
Services, law enforcement, and others. This level of inter-agency response requires the application of collaboration and
decision-making tools that provide capabilities for effective incident command, control and communications
interoperability. Currently, we do not have adequate tools to streamline NIMS/ICS in our operations - this grant

 Obtain location-specific population figure from the US Census Bureau at -
 Obtain location-specific population density figure from the US Census Bureau at -
 Critical infrastructure is defined as: “any system or asset that, if attacked or
impacted by a hazardous event, would result in catastrophic loss of life or catastrophic
economic loss.”

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  Incident Command, Control and Communications Interoperability

requests funding to obtain these basic tools and provide for training that supports their use. With the equipment
obtained in this grant we will be able to:

    1.   provide interoperable communications that ties-in different radio systems, mobile devices, and computers
    2.   track personnel and equipment resources during incidents – ensure accountability & enhanced life safety
    3.   simplify collection of data for populating ICS forms and NFIRS reporting
    4.   improve capabilities for other mission critical response functions

Currently our department lacks the tools necessary, often causing response effort to result in unnecessary confusion and
inefficiency – and in-turn negatively affecting fire ground operations. This capability gap decreases the quality of fire
protection that could result in greater risk to firefighter life safety and reduce the protection to the greater public we are
responsible for serving.

It is our day-to-day needs, and desire to streamline NIMS/ICS compliancy, that determined the solution characteristics
required to fill this mission critical capability gap. Our department has reviewed various technologies and the best suited
solution for an incident command system and communications interoperability for our department is an electronic
software-based system that doesn’t require a large hardware investment - and one that provides all of the capabilities
listed above that help to ensure effective response operations and protection of life safety. Taking all major factors into
considerations, [list those that apply: dense urban/suburban population served, multitude of critical infrastructure sites,
presence of a “new risk”, high frequency of mutual aid responses] and the current lack of key tools for incident
command, control, and communications interoperability – it is crucial that our department’s firefighters and supporting
public safety providers are equipped with the ability to effectively manage operations and communicate during incident
response, recovery, and planning.

    b. Proposed Solution
The __ Fire Department will acquire equipment that will be obtained through this Assistance to Firefighter grant
request. Our desired solution is equipment that is electronic turn-key software that provides incident command, control
and communications interoperability for our day-to-day operations. We have carefully reviewed available technology
and determined that the solution that fulfills our critical needs must meet the below criterion:

        Compatibility with our current radio, communications, and computer equipment
         Compatibility with our existing equipment will ensure that we will be able to use all our past investments and
         technology assets. Our proposed solution will utilize our existing equipment while significantly improving its
         functionality. Additionally, it will not require our department to replace our computers, portable and mobile
         radios, personal mobile devices, and other communications equipment.

        Resource & personnel tracking for real-time accountability and situational awareness
         When the fire service in our region is equipped with this collaboration tool they will have access to real-time
         resource & personnel tracking are instrumental to reducing risk of line-of-duty firefighter injury or death. With
         this solution the Fire Chief/Incident Commander is equipped with the accountability tools that maximize the
         efficiency of incident coordination. Additionally, our incident commanders will also gain a significantly
         heightened level of situational awareness that will allow them to make better decisions during pre-planning,
         response, and recovery.

        Incident-level communications interoperability with tie-in of multiple radio frequencies and mobile devices
         In our fire protection area our fire department and other public safety agencies utilize different radio systems
         (i.e. UHF, VHF, 800 MHz) that cannot interoperate. Our proposed solution will provide us with a platform
         for communications interoperability that allows our first responders to communicate across differing
         frequencies by utilizing all existing handheld and portable radios. This solution also allows to tie-in cell phones,
         personal computers, and other communication devices. It delivers interoperability for all the first responders in
         our response area regardless of their existing communications equipment. It is also massively scalable to
         accommodate new participants, and is future-proofed to allow for the next-generation hardware systems as
         they become available – thus, this investment will never become obsolete.

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  Incident Command, Control and Communications Interoperability

         It will also serve as a platform for text-based (i.e. instant messaging, text messaging) communications. With the
         equipment provided in this grant we will use test-based communications to exchange critical information in
         real-time. Our implementation will be integrated with our existing standard operating procedures to create pre-
         defined user groups for simplifying the communication process.

        Automatic data and information collection for completion of NFIRS and ICS forms
         Our proposed solution will be configurable with electronic versions of Federal Emergency Management Agency-
         based ICS 200 series forms and simple population of NFIRS reports. It is critical that data is collected and managing
         during operations. With this functionality we will be able to automate incident data collection and management. It
         will allow us to complete the forms on-scene and share the information during shift changes for continuous critical
         incident information. Most importantly, this enhances our efforts to streamline NIMS/ICS compliance.

        Easy creation, access, & use of electronic incident action plans (IAPs)
         The creation and applied use of electronic-based IAPs by first responders in our region will greatly improve our
         efficiency. Putting this into perspective, with this solution we will eliminate the confusion and wasted time that
         comes with managing paper forms and impractical binders. This equipment will allow for more timely and
         effective information management so that our Fire Chiefs/Incident Commanders can focus on their primary
         concern - protecting life and property during fire ground response and recovery.

We have reviewed multiple software-based equipment solutions that are readily available, and based on our review we
have determined that the available solutions will provide for dynamic electronic collaboration & decision-making. These
new tools are cost-effective and can easily be customized to provide all of the characteristics and functions for incident
command, control, and communications interoperability. Feedback from fellow __ Fire Chiefs using similar tools to fill
the same gaps in their communities have share their experience and verified the improved level of fire protection they
are able to provide to their communities. Filling this critical capability gap will ensure our firefighters to be better
prepared and respond more effectively in emergency operations.

This initiative – and the proposed equipment solution – also includes a critical training component. This grant request
includes funding for training that will be delivered to all firefighters and supporting public safety providers in our
response area. The training will provide our first responders with knowledge and understanding of NIMS/ICS and
interactive exercises using the equipment in varying response scenarios. We will also incorporate the experience of our
fellow __ Fire Chiefs who are already using similar equipment to support the training efforts. Most importantly, the
integrated training with incident command, control, and communications interoperability equipment will allow for
streamlined operational NIMS/ICS.


This application includes requests for incident command, control, and communications interoperability equipment and
specialized training in order to maximize equipment benefits and is compliant with the FY2009 AFG guidelines. Below
is a summary of the budget with estimated equipment costs based on our research of multiple solutions. The costs
below are inclusive of all necessary components, hardware and software. All of the equipment and software are eligible
expenses and meet the criteria for high priority funding. This grant will be completed within the twelve month
performance period, projected completion within just a few months from the grant award.

The following is an estimated budget:

         Incident Command & Control Network & Components = $20,000
                  All of the key fire service representative (Chiefs, Captains, etc.) and other public safety leaders in our
                  community will receive equipment and software including 25 registered users on the system

         Communications Interoperability Module = $17,500
               Estimated cost to provide all key fire service and public safety leaders in our response area with the
               interoperable communications module, which will be integrated into the incident command & control
               network. Price does not include professional services, product training or the cost of a radio gateway

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     Incident Command, Control and Communications Interoperability


Our fire department needs grant funding because we have no other means to purchase this critical equipment. The
majority of operating budgets (95%) is from taxes and fundraisers like annual boot drives and community meals. The
other (5%)4 of operating budgets is derived from federal grant programs, fee for service, and other fundraising efforts.
Funding for this project cannot be obtained from our existing budget, especially given the current economic situation
and as a result we have experienced severe budget cuts. Our current operating budget is already committed for use for
purchasing basic supplies; maintaining apparatus; fuel for apparatus; meet training requirements as outlined by OSHA
and NFPA standards. The funding from this AFG grant application is required to achieve desperately-needed incident
command, control, and communications interoperability with the proposed solution. Available public funds from
municipal/county government and fundraisers funds will be used for the 20% match requirement on this grant.

Our department has thoroughly researched all of commercially available technology solutions for responder
collaboration & decision-making, as well as communications interoperability technology solutions. We considered
purchasing a new radio system such but obtaining one of these systems, adapting existing infrastructure and purchasing
new radios for all first responders would easily cost over $4.2 million and therefore, is not be a feasible or cost-effective
option. Additionally, a new radio system like this will not solve incident command or control. These options do not
meet our needs for day-to-day operations and NIMS/ICS compliancy.

We have determined, based on needs assessment; cost-benefit analysis; functionality and characteristics; and
performance review, that the most cost-effective solution to improve daily operations and ensure all-hazards
preparedness is a customized software-based incident command, control, and communications interoperability system.
Since this system utilizes existing computers, radios, and other communication devises there is no need to purchase new
assets. There are nearly no overhead costs associated with our proposed solution since it does not require special vehicle
or services to be to dispatched to the scene; instead, the incident management and communications interoperability
solution is immediately available at the incident scene for all our first responders.


Our proposed solution will have greatly positive benefits and direct affect on daily operations if we receive this critical
funding. The equipment, along with training workshops will achieve effective incident command, control, and
communications interoperability for our entire fire service and supporting public safety providers. With incident
command, control & communications solved, emergency response, recovery, and planning will be greatly improved –
and preparedness for any major all-hazards event will be dramatically enhanced. On any given day, there are vehicle
accidents requiring extrication, structural fires, and emergencies at high-occupancy residences, and countless other
hazards5 to which our fire department must respond. As previously explained, the equipment and training requested in
this grant will provide the tools for effective (NIMS/ICS compliant) incident command, control, and communications
interoperability that is desperately needed to improve our daily operations. The results achieved by this grant project will
be measurable by the efficient direction taken by officers and firefighters for hearing and receiving directions and critical
information on the emergency grounds. These critical capabilities will help to prevent injury and save the lives of
firefighters as they respond to protect the lives and property in our community.

    Be sure to provide accurate figures for the specific fire department and describe the current funding sources
    List key functions and examples of day-to-day emergencies relevant at the specific location

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Jun Wang Jun Wang Dr
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