Doña Ana County

FIRST RESPONDERS TEST RADIO COMMUNICATION BEFORE POTENTIAL EMERGENCIES

FIRST RESPONDERS TEST RADIO COMMUNICATION BEFORE POTENTIAL EMERGENCIES

            Before a potential disaster strikes, several Doña Ana County first-response agencies participated in a test exercise Tuesday to check radio communication interoperability between one another. New Mexico State Police Officer Sandy Lopez, left, and Sgt. J.L. Arellano receive instructions over the radio as part of a test exercise with the Office of Emergency Management Tuesday.
            The exercise was organized jointly by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Local Emergency Planning Committee. Area agencies that participated include New Mexico State Police, Las Cruces Police, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Services, the U.S. Border Patrol, American Medical Response, Civil Air Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, Sunland Park Police and Fire Departments, and the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority (MVRDA).
            According to the OEM, today’s exercise was a result of six months of planning and was designed to ensure every first-response agency in Doña Ana County can effectively communicate with one another.
            “The time to test communication capability isn’t in the middle of an emergency,” said Cullen Combs, emergency manager for Doña Ana County and the City of Las Cruces. “Today’s exercise provided an opportunity for us to test everyone’s radio systems and ensure that every agency can be heard from any point within Doña Ana County.”
NMSU Deputy Police Chief Andy Bowen helps test radio interoperability with Marc Lopez, American Medical Response. Photo credit: Kelly Jameson            Combs reported there were no major complications between systems, but did identify some gaps that were quickly addressed.
            The OEM is a joint emergency response agency of Doña Ana County and the City of Las Cruces. Its mission is to provide training to emergency response agencies and to oversee emergency mitigation and advance planning in Doña Ana County with support from the Local Emergency Planning Committee.     
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