MD Eastern Shore Interoperability Outreach
CHHS recently completed work on an exciting new interoperability outreach program for the Eastern Shore Communications Alliance (ESCA) – a cooperative alliance that serves the Shore’s emergency communications interoperability governance body. ESCA is dedicated to improving interoperability, and tackling other issues facing 9-1-1 call centers and emergency managers on the Shore. ESCA also manages the Maryland Eastern Shore Interoperability Network (MESIN), the Shore’s primary technical interoperability solution. As a group, ESCA sets regional interoperability policy, and works with state and federal partners on interoperability issues. CHHS has worked with ESCA over the past two years, assisting with coordinating interoperability trainings and exercises, as well as drafting and maintaining regional standard operating procedures and Tactical Interoperable Communications Plans.
One of the lessons learned from ESCA’s previous trainings and exercises was that many first- responders on Maryland’s Eastern Shore are not fully aware of MESIN’s impressive capabilities. This is especially true of those working in local organizations that do not use interoperable communications technologies (like MESIN) as part of their daily duties. Should a regional disaster strike the Shore, many radio users would be required to communicate using technologies with which they are currently unfamiliar. To address this gap, CHHS Senior Law & Policy Analyst Chris Webster worked with ESCA to develop an outreach and educational program to increase interoperability capability awareness.
This outreach effort included the production of a brief video aimed at interoperability stakeholders on the Shore. The video, produced in coordination with Queen Anne’s County Television (QACTV), briefly describes the history of interoperability on the Shore, and details some of MESIN’s core capabilities. The intent of this video is to educate individuals on the background of interoperability on the Shore and the importance of interoperable emergency communications, as well as prompt individuals to seek additional training or information if appropriate. The video features local first-responders, directors of emergency services, and real-life equipment filmed on location, on the Shore.