Wildfires Spark Improved Responder Communication
Creek County, Oklahoma and Motorola Solutions solve interoperability challenges in wake of wildfires with new radios and infrastructure enhancements
- After wildfires struck central Oklahoma in 2012 and destroyed more than 400 homes, a variety of first responders who came to aid Creek County first responders found they could not communicate because their radios weren’t interoperable.
- A federal grant of $10 million allows the county to have Motorola Solutions build new infrastructure to put all safety agencies on the same network.
- Motorola Solutions will also provide state-of-the-art radios with the latest features to provide interoperability with the statewide radio network.
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. – April 14, 2016 – After a series of devastating wildfires in summer 2012 that burned 60,000 acres and destroyed more than 400 homes, Oklahoma’s Creek County has joined with Motorola Solutions (NYI: MSI) to supply new communications infrastructure, command center technology and radios to connect its public safety agencies.
More than 130 different agencies ranging from fire, police, emergency medical response and specialized entities such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs responded to the fires only to find they couldn’t talk to each other by radio.
A federal grant provided $10 million to help put Creek County agencies on the same ASTRO® 25 system using Project 25 (P25) standards– the Oklahoma Wireless Information Network (OKWIN) built by Motorola Solutions – as well as connect the county by radio to nearby first responders. The plan will even set aside extra radios for visiting public safety officials who would respond to a future wildfire threat.
“When you fight fires like the ones we faced, you can have all the manpower and the bulldozers and the tanker trucks, but it doesn’t mean much if you can’t communicate,” said Creek County Commissioner Newt Stephens, who helped coordinate the firefighting effort and fought for funding to solve the interoperability problems. “Now we’ll have a robust system where we’re all going to be talking on an 800 MHz network and it’s going to make a huge difference in how we do business. We didn’t leave anybody out.”
Creek County features more than 70,000 residents spread over nearly 1,000 square miles, making the public safety challenge that much greater and amplifying the importance of reliable communications infrastructure, technology, support and devices. Over the next 14 months, Motorola Solutions will provide:
- An ASTRO 25 system that connects Creek County to Oklahoma’s OKWIN statewide communications network used by the Department of Public Safety as well as Oklahoma’s State Patrol
- Improvements to six transmission sites that improve coverage throughout the county CommandCentral Inform, a layered, geospatial intelligence application that helps agencies track their staff and equipment in real time.
- APX™ 4000, APX 4500 and APX 8000 radios for state-of-the-art features and reliability
“With so many of Oklahoma’s key public safety agency players already working with us and our technology, it made perfect sense for Creek County to work with Motorola Solutions to bring its first responder community to one platform that also works seamlessly with statewide partners,” said Rick Rigsbee, territory vice president of sales for Motorola Solutions. “We want our customers to have the very best tools to improve public safety every day as well as prepare for situations where outside agencies are assisting in emergencies and need immediate interoperability.”