Interoperability Continuum: A Tool for Improving Emergency Response Communications and Interoperability [open pdf - 797KB]
"Emergency responders--emergency medical services (EMS), fire-rescue personnel, and law enforcement officers--need to share vital data or voice information across disciplines and jurisdictions to successfully respond to day-to-day incidents and large-scale emergencies. Many people assume that emergency response agencies across the Nation are already interoperable. In actuality, emergency responders often cannot talk to some parts of their own agencies--let alone communicate with agencies in neighboring cities, counties, or states. Developed with practitioner input by the Department of Homeland Security's SAFECOM program, the Interoperability Continuum is designed to assist emergency response agencies and policy makers to plan and implement interoperability solutions for data and voice communications. This tool identifies five critical success elements that must be addressed to achieve a sophisticated interoperability solution: governance, standard operating procedures (SOPs), technology, training and exercises, and usage of interoperable communications. Jurisdictions across the Nation can use the Interoperability Continuum to track progress in strengthening interoperable communications."