Communications flight stays sharp for any emergency situation
By Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum, 111th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 12, 2012
WILLOW GROVE AIR RESERVE STATION, Pa. -- Team members of the 111th Communications Flight set up their mobile communication hub on Jun. 4, 2011 to run personnel through the steps of its set-up and operation, which is required on a reoccurring basis. The Joint Incident Site Communication Capability (JISCC) kit offers a unique dimension of connection and information transfer. The demand for real time crisis management communications for federal, state and local authorities increases at the speed of technology.
"This trailer package can be transported and setup close to any emergency location to provide comprehensive communications needs to any number of agencies." said Chief
Master Sgt. Thomas Hickey, cyber systems manager for the 111th Communications Flight. "Once in operation, this hub can become the one-stop-shop for relaying on-sight information. It provides wireless computer networking capabilities, radio transmittal options on various radio wave lengths and linking from radio to cell phones. It can function to repeat, or boost, hand held mobile radio signals doubling their effectiveness," he added.
Tech. Sgt. Eric Jones, client systems specialist for the 111th Communications Flight said, "The unit is able to function as a stand-alone unit. Having its own multiple power generating ability, environmental controls as well as supplies of hand held radios and laptops make it ideal for usage at any disaster location." Precise satellite positioning and linking is essential to provide signal strength and error free transmissions.
"Quarterly, the individuals stage the equipment for operational checks, training, qualification and computer updates. The seven person team stays fresh on all the many pieces that come together to make this an indispensable onsight command post asset. Once on location, the kit can be assembled and fully functional within two hours," said Sergeant Jones.
The kit has been put into action for several real world needs. During the 2008 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC., the unit was assembled at a nearby school house and readied for a variety of local and federal agencies communication needs. Additionally, joint emergency response exercises with other guard units have been ongoing since 2007.
Limited numbers of the JISCC kits exist throughout the country. Pennsylvania is fortunate to have three. The associated equipment will evolve as information platforms improve and
transform. The unit stands ready for immediate transport and prolonged employment. This tool flexes the muscle of the 111th Communications Flight to reach out when needed and provides a service few can offer.