SENATE COMMERCE MEMBERS NEED TO VOTE YES FOR THIS TOP PRIORITY
WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 7, 2011 – The Public Safety Alliance (PSA) is calling for Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to work together for the benefit of the safety of the American people. One day before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation's scheduled Wednesday markup of the "D-Block" allocation bill by Chairman Jay Rockefeller and Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison, the PSA announced that it is absolutely critical for members of the Senate Commerce Committee to approve S.911: the SPECTRUM Act of 2011, which is consistent with public safety’s top priority to gain D-block allocation and federal funding necessary to realize a nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network.
“After nine hearings on this issue in less than a year, it’s time for all Members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats – to get behind this bill and support America’s first responders,” said PSA spokesman Chief Christopher Moore. “It’s long overdue for this bill to move out of committee. And, the votes tomorrow will demonstrate who believes the safety of the American people is what’s most important in this debate.”
Nearly 10 years ago, police, firefighters and EMS workers lost their lives because of inadequate public safety communications networks during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In March, the chairmen of the 9/11 Commission announced their support for the policy that would finally advance the allocation of the D-Block spectrum to public safety – a key 9/11 Commission Report recommendation.
“One day in the future, our nation will face another catastrophic event and our first responders will, again, put their lives on the line,” said Chief Moore. “If we do not have a public safety network that is as great as our first responders, then Congress will have failed in their duty to us.”
A nationwide public safety broadband network would allow first responders to view building diagrams, hydrant locations, maps, and highway information on hand-held devices. It would provide video to facilitate instantaneous situational awareness of major law enforcement, fire and hazmat incidents in real-time. A future capability for emergency medical operations are portable ultrasound and other critical imaging, diagnostic EKG and multi-vital signs monitoring, field blood work, and two way video – all transmitted between the scene or ambulance en route to the hospital and an emergency department physician dozens of miles away. Law enforcement would use the wireless broadband network for numerous applications from field fingerprint identification to the rapid access of criminal records. For more information on a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network, visit www.psafirst.org.