Ten Years After 9/11, First Responders Remain Vulnerable

Posted on September 6, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By Scott Orr

Ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks made clear the need for an enhanced communication network for first responders, Congress has failed to act.

We can’t help but wonder why, especially since we’ve been tracking legislation that could enhance public safety and better protect first responders at minimal cost. And this measure has broad bipartisan support on the Hill, is endorsed by President Obama and has the backing of every major law enforcement group in the country.

Getting Congress to act on this legislation could have significant impacts on tech industries, broadband wireless networks, radio spectrum interests and all security related businesses. Turner GPA is prepared to make sure your interests are represented as debate gets underway.

“The inability of first responders to communicate with each other on demand was a critical failure on 9/11,” members of the 9/11 commission recalled this week in a report entitled “10th Anniversary Report Card: The Status of the 9/11 Commission Recommendations.”

“Incompatible and inadequate communications led to needless loss of life,” it said.

The report renewed the commission recommendation that Congress allocate the “D-block” of radio spectrum to create an interoperable public safety network.

“We support the immediate allocation of the D-block spectrum to public safety and the construction of a nationwide, interoperable broadband network. Because we don’t know when the next attack or disaster will strike, we urge the Congress to act swiftly,” the report said.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), the sponsor of legislation to meet the recommendation, called the report “a wake-up call for everyone reflecting on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.”

“Implementing a national, interoperable radio system for our first responders is within our grasp. It will save lives all across the country, and we owe it to first responders to get it done,” Rockefeller said adding that “there is bipartisan legislation awaiting Senate action that would accomplish this goal.”

Like us, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) wondered why a bill with such broad support is gathering dust in Congress.

“President Obama supports the reallocation of D-Block for public safety, as do the Department of Homeland Security, Republicans and Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee and virtually every public safety group and the seven largest governance groups in the country.

As America takes time to reflect on that awful day 10 years ago, we hope Congress will take this simple life-saving step. We’ll be watching and so should you.

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