Steve Jones, Lawrence County Coordinator for the Office of Emergency Management and Director of the Lawrence County Communications Centers recently attended the 2011 Arkansas Interoperability Conference.  The Conference, a yearly event, was held October 12-14, 2011 in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The Conference brought together communications specialists responsible for initiating and directing emergency communications in the State of Arkansas.


Highlights of the Conference were presentations by Senator Linda Chesterfield, Chair Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs’ Committees, Arkansas Senate on inoperability from the legislators’ view and  Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on the roles of emergency responders  and how that interrelates with interoperable communications.


Topics covered were updates on the Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN},  Arkansas  response to the Joplin tornado,  communications issues concerning the 2011 flooding and tornados in Arkansas, improving incident response with inoperable communications, various grants and loans  available for emergency communications by the USDA Rural Development, and Incorporating MARS and amateur radio resources with emergency communications.   Vendors made presentations on the future of public safety and interoperable communications and Voice over IP and broadband LTE.  The Arkansas Department of Health updated the conference attendees on the new trauma project.  A representative of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave an update on narrow banding requirements that will take effect on January 1, 2013.