Originally published: May 27, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 10:41am
Nine years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, first responders such as police and firefighters are still imperiled by substandard communications technology. Witnesses testifying to the House Science Committee's technology panel on Thursday said technological problems continue to put first responders in danger. Mobile radio devices sometimes cannot communicate with other devices — even ones made by the same manufacturer — despite interoperability standards intended to guarantee just that, according to David Boyd, a director at the Homeland Security Department. Boyd and Chris Orr, a program manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said the need for action is "extremely urgent" and called for tests so to ensure technology operates across vendors, townships and agencies.