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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > SCIP Monthly Update April 2011

SCIP Monthly Update April 2011


April 14, 2011


State of Maine Communcations Interoperability Plan SCIP)

National Emergency Communictions Plan Goal 2

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) developed the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) to establish goals and priorities for improving emergency communications across the United States. The NECP’s three goals establish a baseline level of interoperable emergency communications during routine, day-to-day incidents, and for responses to significant, large-scale disasters. NECP Goal 2 focuses on the demonstration of response-level emergency communications by all counties or county-equivalents during routine incidents or events.

Importance of Goal 2 Demonstration

OEC is working with States to measure NECP Goals through an assessment process that is designed to improve the understanding of emergency communications and focus improvement activities, such as: - Identifying emergency communications needs - Developing plans for future emergency communications investments - Targeting resources and assistance to where support is needed most

Goal 2 Data Collection and Reporting

Every county or county-equivalent will report on two types of information related to response level emergency communications: capabilities and performance. Capability data is based on the foundational elements described in the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum.

Performance information collection focuses on the ability of primary operational leadership to communicate, manage resources, and make timely decisions during an incident, exercise, or planned event.

Maine National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP)Goal 2 Methodology

Statewide Approach Overview Maine is using a statewide approach to demonstrate NECP Goal 2 demonstration for its 16 counties. MEMA has asked all County EMA Directors to prepare Goal 2 capability and performance information on behalf of their jurisdictions. After all data has been entered, the SWIC will verify the data and submit the report via the web-tool to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) by September 30, 2011.


When using CONOPS make sure that you use the correct name for the channels, especially State Fire and Statewide Car to Car. Using "Statewide Fire" may confuse some. If you would like CONOPS Visor cards please email me at

Performance Measurement

Maine NECP Goal 2 Timeline - 03/16/11 – SWIC distributes NECP Goal 2 information, including background (capability and performance data), requirements, process, and deadlines, to County EMA Directors via email. - Mid May – County EMA Directors submit potential performance events to SWIC for verification of appropriateness to facilitate ease of data collection. - End of May – SWIC approves all performance events - August 2011 – SWIC verifies all capability and performance reports - By 09/30/11 – SWIC submits Maine Goal 2 report to OEC

SOP-DSPTCH: Public Safety Communications Center (PSCC) Planning and Operations Workshop


According to the National Emergency Number Association there are several thousand PSCC’s in the U.S. Most are faced with enormous demands keeping personnel trained, keeping pace with changing technology and maintaining continuity of operations plans (COOP) in the event of a major disaster or event. This workshop helps PSCC supervisory personnel plan for continuity of operations in the event of evacuations, relocations or loss of capabilities. This training helps PSCC supervisory personnel plan for continuity of communications within those Plans in the event of evacuations, relocations or loss of capabilities. This workshop can be tailored to support other aspects of PSCC operations, including migration to new technologies. Depending on requestors’ needs, this workshop can encompass technical advice on Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) systems. This one day workshop provides participants a seminar – style venue for discussing current PSCC operations. OEC/ICTAP SME’s provide real world examples of plans for different COOP scenarios ranging from earthquakes to wild fires to hurricanes. In addition, they share best practices from around the Nation that can help participants identify and mitigate the risk to PSCC continuity of operations. The workshop includes breakout sessions in which participants define specific challenges to continuity of their centers’ operations and then brainstorm approaches to meeting them. The workshop then moves on to developing the outline for a COOP and appropriate annexes that document the operating environment, the potential challenges to operations, and specific planning for various relocation or evacuation scenarios.

Deliverables: - Soft copy of populaated draft COOP Plan - Follow up review of COOP

MEMA has developed this Technical Assistance with OEC which focuses on Supervisory personnel in Maine’s PSCC’s This workshop will be held at Florian Hall at the CMCC at 0830 on June 15th, 2011.

Please contact Michael Grant or Steven Mallory at 207 624 4400 for availability and prerequisites.


By tom Driscoll MSCommNet project Office

By now, just about everyone is aware that the State of Maine is consolidating and modernizing its public safety radio communications system, and that the system will “go live” in the Fall of 2012.

Recently there has been some discussion about “co-location” of county and local equipment at the new state facilities. An email was sent to County Directors on April 6th with an attachment that outlined the process for requesting access to the new communications infrastructure. This article will discuss the issue in more detail and provide an overview of how the State’s new communications system is evolving.

MSCommNet is the Maine State Communications Network, which is being built by the Maine State Office of Information Technology (OIT). See

In 2005, the State of Maine consolidated its numerous departmental information computer systems and supporting organizations into a unified service provider, OIT. This commenced the process of additionally consolidating the numerous departmental radio communications systems and supporting organizations. The new unified MSCommNet system will consolidate the old independent systems of the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Maine Department of Public Safety (DPS), Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) Maine Department of Conservation (DOC), Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), and others.

We are all aware of the convergence of radio and computer technologies (i.e., cell phones, Blackberries, iPhones, Androids, etc.). Public safety radio communications is trending in the same direction. There is an accompanying trend for governments to consolidate the technical infrastructure and operational management of these systems to provide resources simply as a “service.” This allows for predictable costs, and frees the “customers” to do what they do best, in this case, public safety.

As a “public safety” communications network, MSCommNet is intended to replace the aged infrastructure (circa 1974) being utilized by State agencies, to maintain interoperability with county and local partners, and to set the stage for continued modernization and adoption of emerging technologies. MSCommNet lays the foundation for meeting these challenges.

MSCommNet is scheduled for completion in the Fall of 2012. You may have heard that new MSCommNet infrastructure is being built to 125% capacity. This was deliberately done to allow for future growth. Some of what is possible after the Fall of 2012 can only be imagined, as technologies are rapidly evolving, and more and more of us are coming to understand the possibilities for improved operability, interoperability, and adoption of new ways and means of communicating. Think back to early laptop computers and cell phones and compare that to what YOU are using those devices for now. Most of us could not imagine the “future” we are living today. The future of public safety radio communications is similar.

So, since the State will have a new system in operation scheduled for the Fall of 2012 - MSCommNet, and new site infrastructure was built to 125% capacity at some locations, and the State anticipated and will consider “co-location” of county and local equipment at its sites, you can see that there are opportunities created for future co-location.

Part of funding the system “in perpetuity” is for all customers to pay their fair share of ongoing operational expenses. State government “customers” will pay a bit more than others as they are funding the towers and facilities (infrastructure) and their radios and repeaters. County and local public safety “co-locaters” would be paying less of the fare as they would only be using the tower and shelters, and not the State radios or other equipment.

While “co-location” is certainly a possibility, getting there is subject to some constraints:

  1. Structural analysis: Can the tower and the shelters physically accommodate more equipment?
  2. Intermodulation study: Will the new equipment (frequencies) interfere with the existing gear?
  3. Allowable by underlying agreements: The State owns some sites, leases others, and has various “interagency agreements” and lease arrangements that may or may not allow other entities to co-locate on a particular site.

The MSCommNet sites are built to modern public safety communications standards. When the cell towers and civil infrastructure is knocked out, these towers are designed to continue in service under the worst of conditions. Initial construction of these sites is costly, but the State’s public safety community – state, regional, county, local, and federal – deserves a reliable technical system to support their mission.

Co-location on State radio sites by our county and local public safety partners is a cooperative arrangement. OIT will work with the applicants though the “Communications Infrastructure Access Request” process to determine if accommodation is possible, and then to define the costs of achieving access. Requests are managed by David Plourde, Director of Radio Services for the State of Maine. (

MEMA releases DVD in regards to Narrowbanding:

In September MEMA released a DVD “Narrowband Will You Be Ready” that explains the Narrowbanding dilemma facing all of us. If you would like a copy of this DVD please contact Steven Mallory at (207) 624-4476.

National Interoperability Field Operation guide (NIFOG)

The new National Interoperability Field Operation Guide NIFOG version 1.4 has just been released and can be downloaded at

DVD EOC Releases "A Practical Guide to Narrowbanding

To assist the Nation’s public safety community and government officials in meeting the narrowband mandate, the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) has released a guidance document entitled, "A Practical Guide to Narrowbanding.”


 627      12

How to Modify your FCC License for Narrowband

The Narrowband tool was created to assist local agencies in modifying their FCC licenses for narrowband. The information shared during this overview is outlined below:

  • The narrowbanding tool provides a step-by-step guide which allows licensees to modify their own licenses. This saves the licensee money that they normally would pay to hire a technologist to modify their license.

  • To ensure that public safety agencies were aware of the narrowbanding mandate, Maine conducted outreach to public safety agencies through the Maine Emergency Management Agency website, email, mail, and public service Narrowband DVD

To utilize this tool go to the MEMA’s Website and then Narrowbanding section or follow the link below:

**Want To check Your Narrowband License Status Of Your Town, City, or County?

OEC/ICTAP has created a Public Safety Technology Assistance Tool where you can check the status of your Narrowband license or those of your neighbors. Follow the link below, or go to the MEMA Narrowbanding website:

  • Select State
  • Select County
  • Select Cities
  • Select Frequencies and Transmitter types
  • Select Radio Services
  • Click on Map Data

A box will pop up that will show you your respective area and the total amount of Transmitters in that area:

Green balloon – Narrowband Transmitter Blue balloon – Narrowband and Wideband Red balloon – Wideband Transmitter

You can click on any of the balloons and it will show you the name and the call sign, and if it is Narrowband, wideband or both. It will also show you the address, point of contact and license status.

Some other features of this tool are:

  • You can run a report and save to an excel file
  • You can search for mobiles
  • You can search by frequency
  • You can search by Call Sign

The information and data is supplied from the FCC to this website, and are updated frequently. Be careful if you try to run a report for the whole State, your computer will typically freeze up because of too much data…

The 3rd Annual Maine Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference
Augusta Civic Center
Thursday & Friday - April 28 - 29, 2011

Partner with over 400 1st Responders, Government Officials, Emergency Managers, Business Leaders, School Administrators, Health & Human Service Providers, Faith-Based Leaders and VOAD Members

Register now at:

Don't miss this two day learning experience.

Do you know someone that wants to receive the SCIP Newsletter? It is simple to do, just follow this link to be put on the distribution list:

Contribute to the SCIP Newsletter?

If you would like to contribute articles for upcoming SCIP Newsletters to highlight innovative practices in your respective counties and/or areas, please contact



Steven Mallory


Last update: 07/20/10