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Airwaves Improve for First Responders

Annmarie Hordern, WFUV


First responders in other cities say a national network is needed.

During the Sept. 11 terror attacks, firefighters couldn't communicate well with their commanders. Police on the scene couldn't hear orders from their superiors. And none of the agencies responding could talk to each other.

A decade later, New York City emergency agencies are better trained and better equipped to communicate in a disaster. Historically tense relationships between police and firefighters have been eased, old rivalries put largely aside.

But first responders in cities around the country say the progress is not good enough. A national network is needed where police and fire departments can talk to each other and share video and other critical data.

A bill winding its way through Congress would allow the necessary airwaves and the network would cost about $10 billion.