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Texas National Guard uses Fortress Technologies' secure wireless for emergency response

Written by Sara Kugler

TAMPA, FL—Representatives from Fortress Technologies, a leader in secure wireless networking, announced that they developed a next generation “Rapid Response Communications Kit” for the Texas National Guard. These Rapid Response Communications Kits are mobile systems that enable secure wireless communications during emergency response situations, allowing the Texas National Guard to quickly establish voice, video and data communications in environments that have no available infrastructure. The Texas National Guard purchased the first of these systems, which integrates secure Wi-Fi for local access with secure WiMAX for reach-back.

“One of the largest states in the U.S., Texas maintains a land and water area of 268,581 square miles, which presents a number of challenges in communicating during emergency situations,” said Major Clay Wheeler, G6-Signal officer, Texas National Guard. “We require the ability to quickly, efficiently and securely coordinate with various entities across the state during any major incident. These mobile Rapid Response Communications Kits provide us the ability to share critical information, save time and ultimately save lives.”

Combining Fortress’ wireless and security products and Nortel Government Solutions’ WiMAX technologies in a ruggedized PacStar case, these “Rapid Response Communications Kits” offer the ability to transmit/receive e-mail, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video feeds securely between Guard members at the scene of an incident and other organizations statewide. The Rapid Response Communications Kits significantly streamline the response to—and management of—a disaster situation by immediately opening lines of communications between multiple agencies—such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state / local / county agencies and other first responders.

“During emergency incidents, the Army National Guard must maintain order while ensuring every step is taken to protect the lives and property of the individuals affected,” said John Dow, vice president of business development and marketing at Fortress. “Given its large border on the Gulf of Mexico and vast flatlands, Texas is a hotspot for hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. Its National Guard unit must be prepared with the most reliable and efficient response technologies available today. Fortress is proud to work with the Texas National Guard on developing and implementing this mobile communications system.”

Rapid Response Communications Kits have been used successfully by the Texas National Guard for a number of disasters including Hurricane Rita to provide faster, more reliable incident control. Fortress is also working with Army National Guard units in a number of other states on Rapid Response Communications Kits for use in their deployable networking environments.


Published in Public Safety IT, Jan/Feb 2007

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