Interoperable Emergency Communications Systems Will Save Lives

September 15, 2010

Emergency CommunicationsAfter the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, police in helicopters radioed warnings that the North Tower was in eminent danger of collapsing and advised the evacuation of everyone in and around the building. Tragically, while the police officers involved heard the warnings in time to react and most made it to safety, many firefighters inside the second tower did not because their radios could not pick up transmissions from the police. As a result of this shortcoming of the wireless emergency communications systems, many local and state governments have moved to upgrade their systems to allow interoperable communications between emergency service providers.

Sealevel designed a custom computer used in an industry-leading system that helps solve this problem for first responders. Our custom Relio computer designed for this application packs an amazing amount of functionality into the 1U rack space that was available in our customer’s system configuration. The Relio includes 120 optically isolated inputs, 96 digital outputs, 40 12-bit A/D channels, and serial, USB, and Ethernet functionality. To enhance reliability, the design is completely solid-state—no fans or rotating drives are used. There is even a built-in custom UPS and power detection circuit that allows the Relio to continue to operate on internal batteries long enough to create a log of the failure event and then effect an orderly system shutdown when all external power is lost. Learn more about our emergency communications application and our custom design capabilities on our website.

The scope of the movement for interoperable emergency communications has broadened in recent years with the announcement of a federal program to implement a nationwide communications network that will enable interoperable, secure communications between over 80,000 emergency responders and federal agents from various agencies including the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and the Treasury. The system that includes Sealevel’s custom Relio computer is part of the solution that was awarded this important contract. The result will be a better connected infrastructure that will enhance the safety of the public and those we call on to protect us when we need it most.