Article Archive
Communications Package
Providing cellular, satellite links
Volume 23. No 4

The most precious tool firefighters have during any fight is effective communication, which can often make the thin difference between a successful fight and tragedy.

Unfortunately when fires rage, infrastructure is often lost, hindering the ability of firefighters to communicate with outside agencies from within the incident location. Now it's possible to deploy cutting edge disaster communications technology in less than five minutes, providing departments with the network and satellite infrastructure they need to safely do their job.

NOMAD combines this essential communications infrastructure, power, advanced incident command software, and full, remote office capability in a unit that weighs 50 pounds and can be deployed to any location by one person.

"This is a state-of-the-art unit designed by experienced first responders who have served in disaster areas, and made possible through the technological expertise of Fortified DataCom and Microsoft," said Steve Cooper, Fortified Holdings Corporation president, whose background as the former Chief Information Officer of both the American Red Cross and the Department of Homeland Security served as a driving force behind NOMAD's development.

This modular unit can run independently for up to 24 hours because it operates on a sophisticated power management unit fixed into the box, which leverages chargeable and replaceable, military-standard BB batteries.

NOMAD's quad-radio mesh network controls multiple radios capable of running at different frequencies. It is customer configurable and can provide up to 30 miles of wireless network, providing simultaneous support for multiple radio frequencies including 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz (WiFi), 3.5 GHz (WiMAX), 4.9 GHz (Emergency Responder Network), and 5.8 GHz, as well as GSM cellular capabilities at 1,800 to 1,900 MHz.

It is already easing the communications burdens on first responders around the world.?

NOMAD units have been used in support of natural disasters such as the 2007 California wild fires, tornadoes in the Midwest, and they are now deployed to every FEMA region within the United States. They can be found worldwide in locations ranging from Afghanistan to the Middle East to South America. Only a week after the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in the Sichuan province of China, a NOMAD was shipped to the region to provide continuity of operations for IBM in China.

"NOMAD's GPS tracking gives commanders the ability to create a location-aware infrastructure," said Brendan Reilly, Fortified Holdings Corporation chief financial officer. "In California, NOMAD's incident command and control and mapping software provided commanders deployed in the field situational awareness so they could deploy their fire trucks, ambulances and ladder trucks to the appropriate location."

NOMAD's safety aspect has also caught the attention of local fire departments including New York City, where the device's tactical access points are being added to fire trucks to provide wireless communication. "They're dropping wireless video cameras around burning buildings to provide surveillance," Reilly said. "Those wireless cameras then have the ability to be presented to any laptop or smart device on our network, and because we have a backhaul link via cellular or satellite, we can push the video through the network and back to the emergency operations center or critical incident responders located anywhere else in the world."

In turn, the wireless video access afforded by NOMAD enables firefighters to view all entrance and exit points, monitoring who has gone into a building.

When fire burns and lives are at stake, every second is crucial. Effective communication from the heart of the battle is essential. With this new technology at their disposal, firefighters now have one less worry when that call comes.

"NOMAD is helping to resolve many of the communications and logistics issues faced by firefighters, enabling them to do their jobs more safely and efficiently," Reilly said. "When you start with a 20- to 24-hour sustainable power source, layer on networking capabilities, add the option to create a private, mobile GSM cellular network, then provide backhaul via redundant cellular and satellite links, what you have is a unit that provides command and control software in a remote office. This allows users the ability to make a phone call, hold a video teleconference, send and receive e-mail, access the Internet, move documents over the network, print, fax, scan and copy - all from one NOMAD deployed within five minutes by one person anywhere in the world."

For more information about NOMAD, visit www.fortifieddatacom.com or call (888) 899-3678.

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