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NCJ Number: 201397 Find in a Library
Title: Failure to Communicate: When the Planes Struck the Towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, More Than Just the Buildings Were Put to the Test, A Blow-by-Blow Account of What Went Wrong--and Right
Journal: Homeland Defense Journal  Volume:1  Issue:4  Dated:July 2003  Pages:34-39
Author(s): Michelle Delio
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 6
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article draws lessons from the communication failures among New York City emergency personnel responding to the September 11, attack on the World Trade Center.
Abstract: A New York Times analysis of the September 11, attack found that over a hundred firefighters could have made it out of the World Trade Center buildings alive had their radios worked and the communications systems not failed just as they had 8 years earlier in the World Trade Center bombing. The New York Fire Department still does not have a new radio communications system in place. The results of pilot programs and tests in several city suburbs are still being evaluated. The department wants a system that will work reliably in the Empire State Building and will transmit information to and from the lowest basement and the highest floor. The new system is expected to be in place in the early part of 2004. Part of that plan will include a single emergency channel that will be accessible to all first-responders. On September 11, the city discovered that redundant communications network connections mean more than having service agreements with more than one provider. Networks and essential equipment must be located in geographically diverse areas. Since communications companies often rely on one underground cable pathway (three major communications companies relied heavily on the location in the World Trade Center), any backup service must be geographically separate. New York City's communications services were too heavily concentrated in the downtown area in and on buildings that were already known to be prime terrorist targets. Another lesson learned since September 11, is that the Internet is significantly more reliable than phone service, since the Internet breaks data or voice into separate packets and then sends them to their destination via multiple routes. Should a packet confront a downed network, it can quickly be rerouted through another pathway. Another lesson from September 11, is that police and fire departments must develop reliable cross-agency communication plans.
Main Term(s): Domestic Preparedness
Index Term(s): Civil defense communications; Computer aided operations; Counter-terrorism tactics; Emergency communications; New York; Telecommunications
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