ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI-HSSP Workshop Examines Standardization for Emergency Communications


New York, Dec 19, 2005

More than 70 experts and leaders from the standards and emergency communications community gathered for the second meeting of the American National Standards Institute Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) workshop on standardization for emergency communications, December 14-15, 2005. The day-and-a-half workshop session was hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD and sponsored by Motorola, T-Mobile, Hughes Network Systems, SimplexGrinnell and ArrayCom.

ANSI-HSSP co-chair and workshop leader Dan Bart of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) stated he was “very pleased with the strong turnout and diversity of participating organizations for this crucial component of homeland security.” He added that standards play a very important role for successful emergency communications and he was looking forward to continuing to explore this role with workshop participants.

Presentations and dialogue covered the key facets of emergency communications, including technology being used, private and public sector initiatives, and the challenges facing the emergency communications community. Some highlights included emergency communications lessons learned from the recent string of hurricanes in the United States, issues surrounding persons with disabilities and non-English speakers, the use of satellite communications, secure conferencing and web collaboration, the work of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) both nationally and internationally, and congressional initiatives to create a National Alert System.

Breakout sessions allowed for interactive discussion on how standards should best address many of the areas. These sessions centered on the following emergency communications areas:

  • individual/organization-to-individual/organization,
  • individual/organization-to-government, and
  • government-to-individual/organization.

Experts in these sessions began to identify the current standards and needs areas for things such as employer-to-employee communications during an emergency, issues involved with 9-1-1 calling, and public alerting/warning during an emergency.

Matt Deane, program manager for the ANSI-HSSP, noted that the purpose of this workshop is to “identify existing standards and active standards projects for emergency communications, where there are gaps, and make recommendations for addressing these gaps in a timely manner.” He further noted that the categorized matrix of standards ultimately produced by this workshop will be included in the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Database (www.hssd.us), as well as included in the final workshop report that is submitted to Department of Homeland Security (DHS), standards developing organizations, and other stakeholders in the homeland security community.

For more information on this specific workshop or the ANSI-HSSP in general, including joining for 2006, please contact Mr. Deane (mdeane@ansi.org).

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