San Francisco channels crisis data
- By Brian Robinson
- Apr 10, 2001
With the opening of a new emergency communications center last week, the
police, fire and other departments in the city and county of San Francisco
can finally talk to each other.
Using 800 MHz wireless technology provided by Motorola Communications
and Electronics Inc., the digital communications system enables emergency
services personnel to interact over 23 voice and six data channels. It also
allows for prioritized use of channels, enabling the officials needed for
a particular emergency — and no one else — to communicate.
"None of this was possible with the old system," said Kerry Dalrymple,
director of client services for San Francisco's emergency communications
department. "Then, there was just one channel that each department had to
use. And departments couldn't talk with each other. Now, the system automatically
picks a free channel that everyone can use, and we can literally assign
hundreds of prioritized talk groups."
The system also covers a much greater area than the old system, she
said, which had several dead spots. Now San Francisco can communicate with
other police forces in the area, something that wasn't possible before.
And staff members are already thinking about what else they can do with
the system, Dalrymple said, adding that they're thinking about a 311 non-emergency
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.