It sure is good to see the federal-response agency nightmare we call the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) doing something to actually prepare for an emergency. You know, instead of waiting until an emergency hits and then scrambling to figure out how to get water to catastrophe victims.
With the new Obama administration cleaning up the mind-boggling mistakes made by the Bush team, it seems FEMA is gearing up to ensure that emergency first-responders have adequate lines of communications during and after a disaster. FEMA recently took bids from the wireless telecoms industry for contracts to supply the federal response agency with the hardware and infrastructure necessary to maintain a working communications network in the most trying of times.
RCR Wireless reports that FEMA accepted bids from AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless to help the agency, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, in coordinating disaster relief efforts. AT&T has been tapped to provide the wireless and WiFi services that FEMA will use in their daily operations. Verizon will be providing infrastructure and hardware for emergency communications, with Strata Technologies handling satellite communications.
All wireless carriers are signed up to work with FEMA on a one-year contract, with four possible one-year contract extension options at FEMA’s discretion.
The new FEMA administration is seemingly taking a proactive approach that may just result in faster response times and more coordinated response efforts. “This is an example of the new FEMA,” said Rex Whitacre, the agency’s acting deputy CIO.