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AWARN provides complete radio coverage, interoperability among city, state and federal

Anchorage- The Anchorage Fire Department (AFD) is the first of the Municipality of Anchorage's
public safety agencies to transition to the Anchorage Wide Area Radio Network (AWARN).

The new two-way radio system provides fire and medic responders with complete radio coverage
and, as other agencies migrate to the system, interoperability among all municipal, state and
federal agencies.

In this first phase, fire and medic units are able to communicate with each other and the
911 Dispatch Center from many areas in the Anchorage Bowl where radio coverage had
been spotty or non-existent.

Construction of the system will continue to include the entire Municipality - from Girdwood to the
Knik River and beyond. Once complete, all Municipal agencies, including the Anchorage Police
Dept. and the utilities, will utilize this single radio system, replacing several outdated, 1980s
systems that do not provide interoperability, have spotty coverage, and are becoming difficult and
expensive to maintain.

Federal grants funded 55 percent of the $25 million needed for the system; 18 percent was
funded by the State of Alaska and the balance was paid through several bonds authorized by
Anchorage voters.

AWARN has been recognized by the Federal Department of Homeland Security as utilizing the
best practice for radio communication by public safety and disaster agencies of all branches of

AWARN users have complete interoperability within the Anchorage area with the statewide
Alaska Land Mobile Radio System (ALMR) operated by the U.S. Dept. of Defense and
the State of Alaska.

AWARN construction involved replacing all the equipment at the Municipality's fixed antenna sites,
construction of an earthquake-resistant building next to Fire Station 12 (7920 Homer Drive) to
house the system controllers, and replacement of vehicle-mounted and hand-held portable radios
used by all first responders and most other field employees.

For further technical information contact Trygve Erickson of the Municipality's Wireless
Communications Division at ericksontj@muni.org or 343-7910.
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