Published 18th May 2018, 9:1am
The Cayman Islands will soon be home to the most modern radio system for public safety and emergency communication in the Caribbean.
The brand new mission-critical radio system, its infrastructure and accompanying accessories arrived on island and will be deployed and installed over the next several months.
To facilitate implementation, the Department of Public Safety Communications (DPSC) recently met with a group of representatives from uniformed services agencies and first responders to provide a progress update on project milestones including the deployment of equipment and training as well as features of the new system.
Director DPSC Julian Lewis noted that his department was recently assigned responsibility for Government’s national public safety radio system.
“Going forward this will help the Government to make the most of shared information technology platforms and ensure that our public safety communications systems across the board are ready for whatever challenges may arise in the future,” Mr. Lewis remarked.
In addition to public safety a number of channels will be used for national emergency operations in the event of a hurricane or other disaster. The new radios also have several enhanced and customisable features including GPS tracking, the ability to send SMS messages to radios, as well as the capacity to synch with Bluetooth devices, body-cams, etc.
Addressing the attendees Home Affairs Minister Hon. Tara Rivers underscored Government’s commitment through the investment in the new system as an important means to boost the effectiveness of first responders.
The Minister also observed that the old system had reached the end of its natural life cycle while still expected to cope with a considerable amount of radio traffic. In 2017 this included nearly a million radio calls, which totaled just under 2.5 million minutes or some 40,000 hours.
The next step in the implementation process is the installation of new equipment in the Government Administration Building, DPSC and the other eight sites in Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. These works are expected to commence within the coming weeks and will take approximately six months to complete.
During this time the DPSC will be holding meetings with individual departments to customise the functionality of their radios in advance of their deployment.
The old system will remain functional during the transition to the new system ensuring redundancy in the event of a disaster. All radios are expected to be on Island and fully rolled out by November.
Agencies that attended the presentation included: Customs, Immigration, the Police Service, the Prison Service, and the Health Services Authority’s Emergency Services Team.
At the end of last year Government and Motorola Solutions signed a contract to modernise Government’s current radio system, purchased in 2003, with the next-generation P25 system designed by Motorola specifically for public sector agencies.