A new emergency preparedness study released by the Department of Homeland Security reports that Cleveland is among the worst-prepared metropolitan areas in the nation, at least with regard to emergency communication systems. The study, released today, evaluated the interoperable communications capabilities in 75 metropolitan areas.
What's Cleveland's problem? Apparently Cuyahoga County lacks a countywide communications system, and there is insufficient compatibility among the communications systems utilized by first responders and other government agencies in the area. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer story,
Police and firefighters in the county's 59 communities talk on about 50 different radio systems. Some cities have separate radio systems for their police and fire departments.Lack of communications interoperability is not an Ohio thing, however, as Columbus scored quite well.
The systems can be linked only by following complicated steps. As an alternative, safety forces pass messages through dispatchers when emergencies cross borders, risking delays and confusion.
Columbus was among a small group that finished with top scores in the Homeland Security Department's study of 75 metropolitan areas. Others were Washington, D.C.; San Diego; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Laramie County, Wyo.
Joining Cleveland at the bottom were Chicago; Baton Rouge, La.; Mandan, N.D.; and American Samoa.