Oregon to unveil emergency link

Oregon's Regional Alliance for Infrastructure and Network Security (RAINS) is planning an August 20 launch for an automated response system linking local emergency workers with organizations involved with homeland security.

It will be one of the first automated secure links in the nation. RAINS executives will demonstrate this first production version of RAINS-NET to Portland city officials and then publicly announce that the link has "gone live".

A RAINS spokesperson refused further comment.

At the first Oregon Security Summit held in March in Portland, executives said this early stage deployment of RAINS-NET would distribute incident alert information from the Portland 911 center to local federal agencies, state and local government, key businesses, Portland schools and first responder organizations.

RAINS-NET in June took part in a national anti-terrorism exercise conducted by the Defense Department's Homeland Security Command and-Control Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration.

A coalition of Oregon technology companies started RAINS early last year as a way of using existing assets to forge secure, interoperable communication links for homeland security. It was also seen as a way to stimulate the Oregon technology sector, which has been badly hit by the economic downturn. Anything that is developed and tested under RAINS can be sold to other states or local entities looking for proven homeland security products.

RAINS officials hope the program will be a model for other states and localities. A Washington state chapter held its first inaugural meeting in May, and Virginia has signed an agreement to establish a version of RAINS.

Charles Jennings, chairman of RAINS and chief executive of Swan Island Networks Inc., an Oregon technology company and one of the founding members of RAINS, believes as many as 10 states could eventually sign on as licensees.

Brian Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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