Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help

Skip First Level Navigation | Skip All Navigation

MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > SCIP Monthly Update July 2009

SCIP Monthly Update July 2009

Many respondents feel there is room for improvement in SOPs and TACOPs


July 10, 2009


State’s Interoperability Vision

The State of Maine will have a firmly established, formally managed and maintainable communications environment, based on technology, protocols, training and usage, that will provide seamless communications capability to all emergency management, first responder, and response support organizations at the local, regional and State levels, enabling them to exchange information via voice and data means, as required by standard NIMS response procedures, to provide effective, coordinated and timely all hazards response to our citizens.

State Interoperability Communications Coordinator

The Communication Survey results:

The results can be accessed on the MEMA website: Go to programs and then Communications.

This is how you rated the Interoperability Continuum in your own communities.

Preliminary results of the Survey question #4: Standard Operating Procedures and Tactical Operations:

  • Excellent: 02%
  • Needs Improvement: 05%
  • Average: 17%


  • This is an area that we could improve, very poor, needs improvement
  • Both Municipal Police Agencies are nationally accredited
  • The basics are in place, but an outdated and lack of vision for the future or common goals
  • SOP's are shared with mutual aid departments; need more regionalized SOP’s in the County
  • Fire/Police could be more on the same page
  • Need to work with communities
  • Procedures follow NIMS/ICS Structure. Training of Resources is slow due to the volunteer nature of Ares, but moving steadily forward
  • Limited but simple
  • Written P&P need to be developed, refined, and adopted
  • Continued training will help work out bugs and put everyone on the same page
  • We have SOPS - Some are works in progress
  • We are working to improve SOPs

Maine Interoperable Communications Committee (MICC)

The Maine Interoperable Communications Committee (MICC) met in June to approve a Public Safety Interoperable Communications (PSIC) budget modification request. This request was submitted to DHS and as of July 8th has been approved.

One of the projects approved by both the Technical Team and the MICC is to fund in whole or part, the reprogramming or replacement of existing fire pagers.

This is to help in preparing for the narrowband conversion.

We will begin to develop a project plan for the items that was recently approved by the MICC.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Steven Mallory.

Lesson Learned from the Table Top Exercise

On June 25, 2009, a tabletop exercise took place at the Elks Lodge in Augusta. The exercise was designed by several critical agencies who would be involved in the event of a mass power outage due to a severe ice event and solar storms. The design of this exercise was paid from a regional support grant through FEMA and Department of Homeland Security. The financial support for the exercise will be paid under the Public Safety Interoperability grant. The exercise created ideas on changes that need to take place in agency plans and prepared agencies for a functional exercise in October, 2009.

As with any exercise, we identified several strengths and areas for improvement. Listed below are a few of the strengths our evaluators identified:

  • Many of the counties have a working relationship with their private sector infrastructure providers.
  • ARES/RACES members are already integrated in the county plans, which are a critical addition to communications capabilities.
  • State and County EOC’s admitted to having working generators that are tested regularly and all have adequate fuel reserves.

Some areas for improvement are as follows:

  • Improved planning needs to be addressed between State and County EOC’s for staff needed to fill positions if an event lasted longer than 72-96 hours.
  • The relationship between some EMA’s and some of the smaller private power and telecommunications partners should be more robustly developed.
  • Some participants identified that standard response operations were insufficient to manage a prolonged statewide disaster.

What is Interoperability?

“Interoperability” simply refers to the ability of public safety personnel to communicate by radio with staff from other agencies, on demand and in real time. Public safety agencies require three distinct types of interoperability: Day–to–Day, Mutual Aid and Task Force.

Day–to–day interoperability involves coordination during routine public safety operations. Interoperability is required, for example. When firefighters from around a county join forces to battle a structural fire or when neighboring law enforcement agencies must work together during a vehicle chase.

Mutual aid interoperability involves a joint and immediate response to catastrophic accidents or natural disasters and requires tactical communications among numerous groups of public safety personnel. Airplane crashes, bombings, forest fires, earthquakes and hurricanes are all examples of mutual aid events.

Task force interoperability involves local, state, and federal agencies coming together for an extended time to address a public safety problem. Task forces lead the extended recovery operations for major disasters, provide security for major events and conduct operations in response to prolonged criminal activity.

Where can I learn more about Interoperability?

Go to:

If you haven’t received a State of Maine Conops Disk please contact Steven Mallory at (207)624-4476 or email

NEWS from our March Workshops……

Here are six concerns from the County Workshops that were held in March. I selected comments that were mentioned from the majority of the Counties...

Top six (6) Concerns:

  • Governance: Overall not bad, but leadership in small communities can change rapidly
  • SOP: Understood - works well, not formalized though
  • Voice Tech: Looking for extra funds to upgrade equipment
  • Data Cap: Would like to see more funds for tech support - need more
  • Training: Much training is needed for dispatchers and RCC staff
  • Usage: Always room for improvement good training between many organizations so we are ready on actual events

Five tips for COML Training:

  1. In your COML Kit you should have at the least Radio programming equipment, GPS. First Aid Kit, paper, pencils, tape, multipurpose knife, food and water, and a 24 hour clock
  2. The COML manages the Technical and Operational aspects of the communications functions.
  3. The COMT works for the COML
  4. Know the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum
  5. P-25 stands for Public Safety Digital Radio Standards.

COML Training

The Communications Unit Leader (COML) Training that was held in Waterville last week was an outstanding success; friendships and networks were made and reinforced and I believe all of those that attend came away with a better understanding of how the process works and what resources are available and when to use them. We had 23 people attending and a big thank you to the instructors who brought a lot of knowledge to the table. Thank you all for attending and making the sacrifice to attend this important class. I would also like to thank the Bangor MCV for allowing the rest of the class to see and experience this tremendous asset.

Is another COML Training Class needed? If you are interested please contact Steven Mallory at MEMA and if we have enough interest we can schedule another class.

SOP Project:

Starting on July 13th MEMA will begin meeting with Aroostook County for an all hazards communications plan project. This Plan will entail…

  • SOPS to include multi-jurisdictions and show how inter-agencies will need to work together.
  • Demonstrating increased operability, increased interoperability, and validate information collected for the SOPS.
  • Determine current Emergency Communications Environment

Mobile Repeaters update:

The first mobile repeater has arrived and been tested only to find a small defect and a few minor modifications that needed to be made. The prototype has been returned and the rest of the repeaters are being shipped to MEMA - We will keep you posted when the training dates will be before the disbursement.

Upcoming APCO Conference

The APCO International 75th Annual Conference & Exposition is being held in Las Vegas on August 17-21. The conference will provide opportunities to; learn new skills, explore new products and services, and connect with other public safety communication officials. The Association of Public-Safety Communication Officials (APCO) is the world’s largest organization dedicated to public safety communications.

Interoperable Technologies Must be Used to be Learned

It’s hard to know what you’re missing if you never experienced it to begin with. This is the challenge facing many of the Nation’s emergency responders serving on the front lines. As a communications leader in Maine, I see the importance of practitioners needing to use interoperable technologies and apply best practices every day.

Regularly applying interoperable technologies and methodologies will help users to improve communication across disciplines and jurisdictions when a large-scale event or emergency occurs. When a major incident like a natural disaster or terrorist attack takes place, responders who use the interoperable technologies frequently will deploy the necessary interoperable tools more readily and successfully.

Thoughts and/or Comments? Please email me at



Steven Mallory
207-624-4400 / 800-452-8735


Last update: 07/20/10