Annapolis, Maryland - It wasn't a real terrorist attack. But when hundreds of fire, police, and emergency personnel responded to a mock bombing inside a Baltimore Metro station on a recent Saturday, they had their hands full. Scores of wounded "victims" clogged the station exits on South Broadway, and they reported a "violent explosion" had killed many commuters in the 3-level underground structure.
As the first responder teams from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, and Anne Arundel County went to work, their radio systems were monitored and recorded by a specially-equipped Mobile Command and Communications vehicle-MCCU-1-provided by Anne Arundel County. MCCU-1 is equipped with the unique AWINSTM radio interoperability technology developed by ARINC Incorporated.
The system can tune simultaneously into dozens of radio bands used by the region's public safety agencies. The mobile technology is also capable of providing fully interoperable communications when needed.
"By monitoring and recording the radio activity from all the agencies on the scene, we can give the Baltimore City Fire Department a minute-by-minute record of team responses and coordination," stated Marvin Ingram, ARINC Senior Director, Public and Enterprise Solutions. "This will greatly help them evaluate the success of the exercise."
In addition to a crew from Anne Arundel, MCCU-1 was staffed by ARINC employees. For several crew members, it was a repeat of their work after Hurricane Katrina, when they helped set up emergency communications for medical teams, police, and National Guard outside New Orleans.
The only vehicle of its type, MCCU-1 took part in this year's exercise in Baltimore at the invitation of the Baltimore City Fire Department. Other agencies participating included the Baltimore City Police Department, Anne Arundel County Fire Department, EMT and SWAT teams, the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue, and the Baltimore City Bomb Unit.
ARINC's AWINS technology is capable of providing full interoperability between emergency agencies, connecting all types of fire, police, and EMS systems.
"AWINS eliminates the need to replace costly radio systems in order to achieve interoperability," continued Ingram. "Public safety agencies can connect and inter-communicate on demand, without replacing their existing equipment. AWINS can help first responders be better prepared with real-time information to equip and position themselves. It can greatly improve their ability to save lives and protect property."
ARINC Incorporated is on the Web at www.arinc.com.