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Landmark US Patent Granted for National Emergency Communications Network

Landmark US Patent Granted for National Emergency Communications Network

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Published by John Simmons
SchoolSAFE Communications founders Patrick Hobby and David Petty have been awarded United States Patent No. 7,813,750, which provides the core technology for a new national emergency communications network.

The patent addresses the lack of interoperable communications between professional first responders and those they are trying to rescue. This has been a key issue encountered in the Columbine High School massacre, the World Trade Center attack, the 2008 Mumbai hotel attacks, and countless other deadly incidents around the world.

The patent, issued October 12, 2010, was awarded based on the inventors' low-cost system that allows multi-layered communications in the heat of most emergencies. This communications approach during a crisis enables instant partnering among response agencies, 9-1-1, and citizens trained in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS). The system in effect multiplies the number of people available to handle an incident, and minimize personal injury and property damage.

Read excerpts from the patent application.
SchoolSAFE Communications founders Patrick Hobby and David Petty have been awarded United States Patent No. 7,813,750, which provides the core technology for a new national emergency communications network.

The patent addresses the lack of interoperable communications between professional first responders and those they are trying to rescue. This has been a key issue encountered in the Columbine High School massacre, the World Trade Center attack, the 2008 Mumbai hotel attacks, and countless other deadly incidents around the world.

The patent, issued October 12, 2010, was awarded based on the inventors' low-cost system that allows multi-layered communications in the heat of most emergencies. This communications approach during a crisis enables instant partnering among response agencies, 9-1-1, and citizens trained in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS). The system in effect multiplies the number of people available to handle an incident, and minimize personal injury and property damage.

Read excerpts from the patent application.

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Published by: John Simmons on Oct 12, 2010
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Landmark US Patent for School Safety 
School Safety Partners
SchoolSAFE founders have beenawarded a US patent for a nationalemergency communications network that will give top priority to schools.
Centennial, CO, October 12, 2010 --SchoolSAFE CommunicationsfoundersPatrick Hobby and David Petty have beenawarded United States Patent No. 7,813,750, which provides the core technology for a new national emergency communicationsnetwork.The patent addresses the lack of interoperablecommunications between professional first responders and those they are trying to rescue. This has been a key issue encountered in the Columbine High School massacre, the World Trade Centerattack, the 2008 Mumbai hotel attacks, and countless other deadly incidents around the world.The patent, issued October 12, 2010, was awarded based on the inventors' low-cost system thatallows multi-layered communications in the heat of most emergencies. This communicationsapproach during a crisis enables instant partnering among response agencies, 9-1-1, and citizenstrained in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System(ICS). The system in effect multiplies the number of people available to handle an incident, andminimize personal injury and property damage.In Colorado, where SchoolSAFE Communications is based, every school must have staff memberstrained in NIMS and ICS, and many of the leading school districts have implemented theSchoolSAFE system with their local sheriffs and 9-1-1 authority boards.Senator Tom Wiens will host a series of conferences to help set up statewide emergency communications networks around the country. The former lawmaker was a principal author of theColorado Safe School Act. There are currently SchoolSAFE pilot programs in other states includingCalifornia, Idaho, Utah, Illinois, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Florida.Before developing SchoolSAFE, Hobby and Petty had already established themselves in publicsafety as leading providers of interoperable communications in the region, through their company,QDS Communications. "Schools are still trying to catch up with the communications advances seenin public safety over the last 10 years," said Hobby. "That was a gap we had to bridge because on any given school day about a quarter of the population is in a school building or on a college campus."
SchoolSAFE provides interoperable communications
 
 
"This is why we developed not only the system, but also a way to speed up deployment," addedPetty. "We can set up a 60-school network and train a school district in a matter of days." Plans areunderway to scale up the SchoolSAFE system to the state and national levels to help coordinatecrisis response among multiple jurisdictions for major disasters, and to feed into a nationwidecommunity that can share best practices and lessons learned. Wiens predicts that SchoolSAFE installations at university hospitals, sports stadiums, concert halls,and dormitories will help introduce the technology to the broader private sector.The following are excerpts from the patent application:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Many organizations have internal radio systems to manage day-to-day operations to includeorganization security. Various staff or security personnel may be equipped with radios enabling basic two-way communications between personnel. For many years, emergency or first responderssuch as law enforcement and fire departments have used radios for communications.Because of the required range and necessity for reliability, government officials communicating by radio are typically equipped with highly advanced radio systems that are unable to directly communicate with the less complex radio systems used by organizations. When there is anemergency incident occurring at an organization, the standard method to contact emergency responders is by a telephone call to 911. A 911-call center is able to obtain the location of the caller inorder to dispatch emergency responders. However, emergency responders have no direct means of radio communication with personnel located at the emergency location. Regardless of the nature of the incident and the identity of the emergency responders, it is very difficult for organizationalpersonnel to directly speak with the responders prior to the responders arriving at the location.Many emergency situations are time critical and the ability for organizational personnel to provideinstantaneous information as to the status of the emergency can make the difference betweenemergency responders properly handling the situation as opposed to such responders not havingadequate information, and the emergency situation then turning into a tragedy. No matter the typeof emergency situation, the ability to provide accurate and timely information by those directly affected by the emergency situation often results in a more complete and rapid response by emergency responders.Emergency responders typically have two-way radios installed in their vehicles to allow rapid andreliable communication between these emergency responders and their dispatch center or PSAP tocontrol and coordinate their emergency actions. Many police officers and firemen also carry handheld radios that operate on the same radio system. Because of the necessity to ensure thatemergency responders have the ability to communicate with one another, Federal regulations limitthe types of organizations that may operate on the same frequency bands as emergency personnel. As mentioned above with respect to organizations who use two-way radio systems for daily operations, these radio systems are not able to communicate with emergency radio systems sinceeach operate on very distinct frequencies, and the nature of the RF signals produced during the
 
communications are very different. Therefore, other than the 911 telecommunications, affectedpersonnel at the organization cannot communicate with emergency responders until they arrive atthe scene.Therefore, there is a need for a system and method whereby direct communications can befacilitated between emergency responders and affected organizational personnel during emergency situations. Additionally, there is need to provide a communication system where organizations canavoid the expense of purchasing more sophisticated and expensive radio communication systems,and the ability to directly communicate with emergency personnel can be on a selective andcontrolled basis. Additionally, there is a need to provide a communication system that may timely inform a network or group of organizations regarding an emergency situation coupled with theability of a 911 call center to select which organizations within the group can directly communicate with selected emergency response personnel.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In accordance with the present invention, a communication system and method is provided forhandling emergency situations wherein complex public safety radio systems can be used to directly communicate with normally incompatible radio systems used by organizations such as schools,hospitals, and other large independent facilities. The system of the present invention includes aradio communication patch or bridge that is selectively activated by emergency personnel to contactone or more selected organizations. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, thecommunication system further includes a communication network, such as a local area network (LAN) or a group of LANs and a high speed interconnecting network such as the Internet. Activationand deactivation of the bridge is achieved over the LAN(s). A computer server may be located at oneof several locations such as at a 911 call center, school district headquarters, or school districtsecurity center. This server is used to monitor and control the emergency communication system with one or more communication endpoints that are linked to the server. Each of thecommunication endpoints, such as separate schools, each have an IP address that allows them to beconnected over the network(s) by the server. Each of the communication endpoints also has theirown local two-way radio system and a communication patch or bridge device that is activated orenabled by IP commands over the network(s). Activation of the bridge is typically prompted by a 911call by the affected organization at the communication end point. The 911-call center then evaluatesthe particular emergency, and can selectively activate over the network(s) the radio bridge. Once the bridge is activated, personnel located at the communication end point can then directly communicate with the emergency responders who have been dispatched and who are operatingtheir radios on the public safety radio system. The local radios at the communication endpointsoperate on their normal frequency/channel and once the bridge is activated then the local radios areautomatically merged with the public safety radio channel or talk group. When the bridge isdeactivated, the radios cease to operate on the public safety radio frequency/channel and areautomatically returned to their normal channel operation.Functionality of the system is achieved through computer software or firmware installed at the 911-call center, at the location of the emergency responders, and at each communication end point. This

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