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BAE Systems Demonstrates Emergency Communication System for First Responders


HEMPSTEAD, New York — The Hempstead and West Hempstead, New York, fire departments have successfully completed three weeks of field trial of BAE Systems’ First InterComm™, a communications system that enables first responders to communication more effectively during emergencies.

The First InterComm system allows first responders to communicate using existing radios and frequencies at incident scenes without use of additional infrastructure, including construction of temporary towers. The system automatically provides interoperability and interconnectivity when multiple agencies arrive at an incident scene.

During the field trial -- which began May 20, 2008 -- BAE Systems’ First InterComm equipment was installed on two emergency vehicles. In responding to routine fires in Hempstead and West Hempstead, the system enabled the departments to communicate with equipment that otherwise would be incompatible.

“The First InterComm system provided an affordable means to communicate with our surrounding communities,” said Tom Talento, Hempstead Fire Department chief. “The solution has been especially useful in the true emergencies and working fires we have encountered in the past few weeks. The system has definitely helped to minimize risk to my personnel.”

The system can be configured so that “my personnel can use their existing radio equipment when on scene and receive valuable information en route, allowing us to safely and correctly position our vehicles and maximizing our usefulness,” said Peter Lilly, West Hempstead fire chief.

“There is a nationwide need for first responders to have communications interoperability,” said Mike Greene, director of homeland security solutions for BAE Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire. “Upon acceptance of the trial results, various mutual-aid departments throughout Long Island and specifically in Nassau County, New York will be able to purchase the First InterComm system.”

In 2004, the 9/11 Commission report documented the difficulties first responders 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. First InterComm is among several capabilities BAE Systems now offers to help first responders communicate more effectively.


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