Get Started• Apply online for the 2014 AFG here and at the U.S. Fire Administration’s website• Click here to find the FY 2014 AFG Funding Opportunity Announcement, AFG Application Checklist, AFG Grant Application Get Ready Guide, and AFG Narrative Get Ready Guide• Read the FY 2014 AFG Workshop Presentation and System for Award Management• Read the FY 2014 SAFECOM Guidance for Emergency Communications Grants• Call the AFG Help Desk at 1-866-274-0960 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – the Help Desk is staffed throughout the application period to assist with the automated application and questions of eligibility. Help Desk hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST on Saturdays.• All applicants are required to have a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number. Applicants can receive a DUNS number at no cost by calling 1-866-705-5711.Government grants can help your agency pay for upgrades to be better prepared to fight fires and keep officers safe – but you’ve got to apply by December 5, 2014. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is accepting applications for its FY2014 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) Program, awarding direct financial assistance to fire departments, nonaffiliated EMS organizations, and state fire-training academies. The program awards grants for critically needed resources to protect the public, train emergency personnel, foster interoperability, and support community resilience. The purpose of the AFG Program is to enhance the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel and to provide a continuum of support for emergency responders regarding fire, medical and all-hazard events.The application deadline is Friday, December 5, 2014, at 5 p.m. EST and may be submitted through the AFG Application Portal. Motorola Solutions’ team of funding experts can help you identify which grants you’re eligible for, answer your questions and offer advice on how to write an effective application. For current funding opportunities, proposal-writing tips and step-by-step strategies, contact us today at 1-888-325-9336 or visit www.motorolasolutions.com/govgrants. Dhiren Chauhan is Manager, Fire & EMS for Motorola Solutions, Inc.For more information on Motorola’s Fire & Emergency Services products and solutions, please visit www.motorolasolutions.com/fire. Read other blogs by Dhiren Chauhan.
A bolt of lightning strikes but there is no storm in sight. The sky is calm and it looks like it’s going to be a clear, extremely dry day. Unseen and unheard, a small fire erupts in the midst of a large forest due to that bolt of lightning. A mere few hours later, it has spread for miles and firefighters are being dispatched to the ever-expanding scene. With wildfire season in full swing, firefighters, incident commanders, and first responders are working to effectively and efficiently beat these fires. Communication amongst themselves, dispatch and the community at large is necessary to accomplish this goal and keep citizens informed and protected.
Nowadays, first responders rely on LMR voice networks to communicate and coordinate their response efforts. However, during disasters such as wildfires, an LMR voice network may not be enough. The future of communications for critical infrastructure industries is based around broadband technologies. LTE is the pipe that will enable next generation applications to dramatically change the way first responders handle natural disasters and man-made events. Applications such as video streaming, high resolution imaging and location tracking will become an essential component of first responders and emergency personnel’s day-to-day tools.
Next generation applications and value-add services are common place for commercial LTE networks; however, mission critical communications cannot rely on commercial grade solutions. Critical infrastructure industries require a high-degree of reliability and security. Cell phone service during wildfires and other natural disasters and man-made events is intermittent to non-existent. Furthermore, the world is an unpredictable place. There is no way to know when or where the next major catastrophe is going to occur requiring first responders to be prepared to take action at a moment’s notice. Therefore, it is critical to augment terrestrial based mission critical networks with a rapid deployable solution.
An LTE mission critical deployable solution can provide localized applications for situational response or can integrate into a larger fixed terrestrial based network. The LTE deployable is built in a modular design and fully equipped with redundant power, and solar power with a full suite of applications including push-to-talk, video streaming, location, and presence all with end-to-end encryption which makes the solution secure and feature rich for Public Safety personnel.
Rishi talks about Motorola's LTE deployable response solutions at IWCE earlier this year.
Some typical use cases for a deployable solution:
1. Event driven emergency response
2. Fill in coverage gaps in rural areas
3. Locations where fixed sites are not attainable
In addition to rapidly providing voice, video and data to help coordinate tactical response in the wildfire situation illustrated above, a deployable solution can be used during group events like demonstrations or riots. Group events typically unfold very quickly; therefore, mobilizing the appropriate response rapidly is critical to a safe outcome. The use of a deployable equipped with applications like video surveillance can help control the situation at a safe distance and help identify the instigators that need to be apprehended.
Rishi Bhaskar is MSSSI Vice President for Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Learn more about LTE Deployables and what Motorola is doing for Public Safety LTE.
Public Safety agencies are continually challenged to provide excellent quality of service in the face of increasing threats and changing needs. This challenge is exacerbated for smaller cities whose budgets are susceptible to change in economic conditions. Local city and state governments are looking for ways to provide consistent, improved quality of service at predictable costs and to adopt new technologies with lower upfront investment.
To meet this demand, public safety technology providers are revolutionizing how their technology is delivered and accessed. They are breaking the traditional model of installing servers at a customer’s data center, and building multi-tenant Cloud-based applications that can be offered over the Internet to small and large public safety agencies alike.
Moving to the Cloud has several advantages for both public safety technology providers as well as public safety agencies. The elasticity offered by the Cloud can be leveraged to instantly provision resources and onboard new customers quickly. Resources can be pooled to create new applications that require intensive computing power. The Cloud enables storage of vast amounts of data that can be correlated and aggregated into intelligence, which can be shared by public safety agencies.
The Cloud delivery model facilitates the Software as a Service business model, with little upfront investment required by customers. Public safety agencies can subscribe only to services they need and yet have access to cutting edge technology. Since there is a single point of management, new product features become available instantly to all agencies across the board. This delivery model helps agencies increase efficiency and keep operational costs under control.
While moving to the Cloud provides cost and operational benefits, public safety agencies should carefully evaluate Cloud-based applications they would like to use and technology providers for partnerships. Agencies create confidential records and communications in their day-to-day handling of incidents that are restricted from public access. Moreover, agencies access confidential information from federal and state agencies that require strict controls on who has access to this information and how it must be used and protected. Services offered over the Internet are also prone to availability issues in case of outages.
In order to address security concerns, large Cloud infrastructure providers are now beginning to provide secure physical locations that confirm to stringent standards such as IS027001, FedRAMP and CJIS. Technology providers can partner with Cloud infrastructure providers to offer Cloud-based applications that ensure data security in transit over the Internet and at rest in the data center. Moreover, with the help of encryption and multi-factor authentication mechanisms, technology providers can ensure that data is stored securely and accessed only by authorized personnel.
In order to address availability and reliability concerns, infrastructure providers are beginning to offer dedicated data connections between agency and data centers where cloud applications are physically hosted. Technology providers are creating innovative fault tolerant hybrid models in which a component of their solution lies at the customer premise so that critical services are available in case access to the Cloud infrastructure fails.
While there are some risks associated with moving to the cloud, technology providers are finding innovative ways to mitigate those risks. Public safety agencies are already using the Cloud for email and collaboration tools to enhance communication and productivity, and have started adopting domain specific applications. Technology companies are moving toward cloud-enabled applications, providing public safety agencies with greater options to realize benefits of cloud-based applications.
Amit Arora is Offer Manager, Intelligence-Led Public Safety Solutions, Motorola Solutions.
Learn more about Motorola’s Cloud Core capabilities here.