Twelve Fire Chiefs Join Ranks Of First Response Coalition To Push Hill For Action On Interoperability Crisis

Washington, D.C. – Another 12 fire chiefs from across the United States have joined the First Response Coalition.

FRC Coordinator Gene Stilp, a volunteer firefighter, EMT and vice president of the Dauphin-Middle Paxton Fire Company #1, in Dauphin, Pennsylvania, said that the rapidly expanding membership of the First Response Coalition shows that “rank-and-file first responders agree that the Nextel spectrum grab rubberstamped by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is not the answer to the threat posed to the public by inability of many police, firefighters and EMTs to communicate across different radio systems.. Our members want Congress to step in to salvage the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is on the table right now to deal with both the interference and interoperability problems.”

The newest members of the First Response Coalition are the chiefs of the following firefighter units:

  • Adin Fire Protection District, Adin, CA;
  • Rocky Hill Fire Department, Rocky Hill, CT;
  • Farmingham Fire Rescue, Farmingham, ME;
  • Stateline Volunteer Fire Department, Stateline, MS;
  • Davis Volunteer Fire Department, Davis, NC;
  • Union City Ohio Fire Department, Union City, OH;
  • Blaine Hill Volunteer Fire Department, Elizabeth, PA;
  • Cardington Fire Department, Upper Darby, PA;
  • Carbon Cliff Volunteer Fire Department, Carbon Cliff, RI;
  • Ripley Fire Department, Ripley, TN; and
  • Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department, Edinburg, TX

Additionally, FRC now counts among its ranks the assistant chief of the Grangerland Volunteer Fire Department, Grangerland, TX. More additions to the ranks of the First Response Coalition are expected to be announced in the coming days.

Stilp said, “Now that the FCC has dropped the ball, it is time for Congress to step in and set things right. Police, firefighters and EMTs would be best served by a more comprehensive approach. Congress can set this mess straight by killing two birds with one stone: the Nextel-created interference problem and the unresolved interdepartmental communications problems highlighted in recent days in the 9/11 Commission report. The Coalition continues to believe that the superior – and, in fact, the only legal response – is a spectrum auction that dedicates sufficient funds to first responders to correct the interference problem and to wipe out the interoperability crisis.”

During August, the Coalition is underscoring its call to action with key Capitol Hill meetings, including sessions with members of the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform Committee, and Select Committee on Homeland Security and the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

About The Coalition
The First Response Coalition consists of citizens, individual first responders, and advocacy groups who are particularly concerned about first responders having the best possible communications capabilities. The First Response Coalition believes interoperability issues must be addressed by the FCC or Congress in any plan that reorganizes spectrum and, as a result, will disrupt public safety communications systems across the country. The First Response Coalition has developed a white paper, “It’s Time To Talk: Achieving Interoperable Communications For America’s First Responders,” which is available online.

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