What You Need to Know
Receiving Information Relating to Communications
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive information related to interoperability, communications, and other related topics from the HOTCOG Homeland Security Division.
For several years, the majority of radios have been programmed so that responders could utilize state and national interoperability channels to support incident response and planned event coordination. The use of these channels decreases primary channel (i.e. fire, police, and EMS dispatch) traffic load by diverting incident or event radio traffic to alternative channels. In order to use these channels, agencies must execute a memorandum of understanding between themselves and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Once signed, the MOU should be sent to ENS@hot.cog.tx.us for processing.
Project 25 (P-25) Systems
Since 2009, the federal Office of Emergency Communications and the Texas Department of Public Safety have required that all Homeland Security grant-funded communication equipment be P-25 compliant and has urged agencies and jurisdictions to migrate to a P-25 digital system. While such a migration has been cost-prohibitive for most jurisdictions across the state, many have implemented a P-25 communications system for their agency, city, or county. For those operating a P-25 system, the Texas Department of Public Safety has requested the voluntary coordination of radio unit identification numbers. The HOTCOG region has been assigned to the 10M range of identification numbers (10000000-10999999). System owners should submit a list of unit identification numbers to HOTCOG for state-level coordination. The list can be emailed to ENS@hot.cog.tx.us.
Communications Assets Survey & Mapping (CASM)
The Texas Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP) requires that all agencies and jurisdictions update their information in the CASM database. The database seeks information relating to communication system infrastructure, channels used, number of subscriber units, and other such details for use in planning for interoperability and responding to incidents. To obtain user access to CASM, email ENS@hot.cog.tx.us.
Training & Exercises
The Texas Statewide Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP) requires that all agencies integrate basic radio training for their employees and/or volunteers. The Texas Department of Public Safety has provided a template that agencies can use to customize radio training. For technical assistance in providing basic radio training, email ENS@hot.cog.tx.us.
The SCIP also recommends that agencies and jurisdictions conduct regular roll-calls on interoperability channels as a method of testing the ability of the responder and agency in utilizing the channels. The SCIP further recommends that interoperability exercises be conducted on a quarterly basis by all response and emergency management agencies. To support the implementation of quarterly exercises, the Texas Department of Public Safety has developed a drill template that can be used and customized by local agencies and jurisdictions.
Regional Interoperable Communication Plan
Beginning in 2010, stakeholders within the HOTCOG region have developed and maintained a regional interoperable communications plan. The plan identifies key communications resources, practices, and capabilities throughout the six-county region. The plan also includes a regional standard operating procedure for interoperability that governs the use of interoperability resources during planned events and incidents. Agencies and jurisdictions can participate in the update and/or revision of the plan by attending regional communications meetings or emailing their input to ENS@hot.cog.tx.us.
Public Safety Broadband Initiative
Agencies and jurisdictions are asked to identify their coverage needs for mobile data/broadband connectivity on the Texas Public Safety Broadband Coverage Mapping Tool. More information about the Texas Public Safety Broadband Initiative can be located on the Texas LTE website. Free training, which provides TCOLE credit, can be obtained on the website as well.
Upcoming Communications Activities
Guidance and Reference Documents
- National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP)
- Texas Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP)
- Texas Statewide Interoperability Channel Plan (TSICP)
- Texas Interoperable Communications Field Operations Guide (FOG)
Regional Communications Planning Documents
- HOTCOG Regional Interoperable Communications Plan *pending
- HOTCOG Regional Standard Operating Procedures *pending
- 2016 SCIP Focus Group Meeting Notes *pending