November 1, 2008
The Telex Dispatch systems at the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management (installed by BearCom) ensured seamless emergency services communications for the evacuation and monitoring of the area during Hurricane Ike in September 2008. Though the EOC’s infrastructure took a beating during the hurricane, including serious storm surge, the Telex equipment kept working.
The Galveston County EOC needed an extremely reliable Radio IP system as their facility becomes the routing hub for all communications from regional emergency services to federal agencies during extreme weather situations like Hurricane Ike.
“We selected a Telex Radio IP system as a solution for our emergency management and interoperability radio communications needs,” says Lee Lockwood, Operations Coordinator at the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management. “Through the combined efforts of the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management and the Galveston County Emergency Communication District, we not only implemented an in-house dispatch console system but also a countywide link to the VHF/UHF interoperability frequencies for all PSAP's.
“Since all PSAP's in Galveston County are connected via a fiber network, we have extended the capabilities to them as well,” adds Lockwood. “By installing IP-223s at the remote locations and integrating them into their existing consoles (from various manufacturers) using tone remote, they now have access to any/all RF resources in our facility.”
“Now every workstation in our EOC has a C-Soft console. During Ike, we communicated with the various cities, counties, public safety agencies, and state/federal departments that came in to support our operations. Cross-band patching was utilized and was a huge success. Several of the PSAP facilities in Galveston County are not built to withstand extreme high winds and storm surge. Therefore, several of them transfer their E911 and radio communications to our Sheriff's Department. Our Sheriff's Department moves their dispatching operations here to the Emergency Management Facility as well, since our building is a CAT5 storm-resistant structure. This meant that at some points during Hurricane Ike we were dispatching for over 15 public safety agencies, all using Telex IP223's and C-Soft. Telex IP-223 systems are housed in the main emergency management facility, connected to various radios and repeaters for two-way radio communications. These transceivers are accessible via the C-Soft applications installed on all PCs in the emergency operations center, for use by personnel during large scale events like Hurricane Ike.
“The response from the PSAP's regarding this equipment has been so positive that some are even considering upgrading to the C-Soft software in their locations and doing away with existing consoles,” Lockwood adds, “and since the project began, the agency that was considering upgrading to the Telex system has already ordered the software and several IP-223s for their dispatch center. We have also deployed the C-Soft application with several IP-223s in our mobile operations trailer using 900Mhz and 4.9Ghz wireless connectivity back to the primary location.”