Independent Board Established to Identify Improvements to Alaska’s Emergency Communication Systems
Governor Walker signs AO 298 to improve communication when a natural disaster strikes
FAIRBANKS, AK—Governor Bill Walker signed an administrative order establishing a new independent board to identify and advocate improvements to Alaska’s emergency communication systems.
The Statewide Interoperability Governing Board, created under Administrative Order 298, is necessary because Alaska lacks a comprehensive statewide system capable of allowing public safety agencies from various levels of government to communicate effectively when a crisis occurs. Expertise and resources from throughout the first responder community are needed to resolve this complex issue.
“Many parts of our state still have no access to 911 services. That problem compounds anytime a wildfire, earthquake, or another major natural disaster strikes, and our lacking infrastructure risks setting up emergency responders who run to danger for failure,” Governor Walker said. “We can do better, and this is an issue almost everyone can agree on. This new board creates independent, non-political team that will bring real solutions to the table.”
Specifically, the board will provide recommendations to the governor on statewide and regional emergency communications interoperability efforts and on policy initiatives related to broadband, land mobile radio, 911, alerts and warnings, and emerging communications technologies.
The board will be composed of 13 members, including the chief information officer and a commissioner or deputy commissioner from each of the following agencies: Department of Public Safety, Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Social Services, and Department of Natural Resources.
Seven members who are not state officials will also serve on the board. That includes the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator and Statewide 911 Coordinator. Other members will be selected from the Alaska Municipal League, the Alaska Native community as recommended by the Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council, the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association, Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials.