Emergency responders cannot always talk to each other during crisis situations.
The Legislature’s Solution
The Washington State Legislature formed the SIEC through legislation effective July 2003. The legislative intent requires managing the state’s licensed frequencies and considerable investment in radio communications to engender the most cost-effective use of the state’s resources and to improve government emergency services at all levels.
- One in three public safety agencies have experienced operational difficulties due to lack of wireless interoperability
- Jurisdictions invest in different, incompatible wireless technologies
- Public safety communication is spread over ten bands of spectrum
- Washington's diverse geography presents logistical problems
Please visit the SIEC Members page for a list or SIEC members and the agencies and jurisdictions they represent statewide.
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) is the lead agency for interoperability in Washington. The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) provides an administrative staff role to support the SIEC. WSP Chief John Batiste is a voting member of the SIEC.
SIEC Staff Advisory Work Group
The SIEC Staff Advisory Work (SAW) Group was chartered by the SIEC to assist with the following areas:
- Identify legislative barriers that hinder statewide interoperability
- Monitor the F.C.C. and other rule-making agencies for rules and legislation that may impact interoperability
- Research and develop policy recommendations for the SIEC
Duties and Responsibilities of the SIEC
The SIEC is responsible for the following:
- Develop policies and make recommendations to the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) for technical standards for state wireless radio communications systems. The standards must address, among other things, the interoperability of systems, taking into account both existing and future systems and technologies.
- Coordinate and manage on behalf of the ISB the licensing and use of state-designated and state-licensed radio frequencies, and serve as point of contact with the Federal Communications Commission on matters relating to allocation, use, and licensing of radio spectrum.
- Seek support, including possible federal or other funding, for state-sponsored wireless communications systems.
- Develop recommendations for legislation that may be required to promote interoperability of state wireless communications systems.
- Foster cooperation and coordination among public safety and emergency response organizations.
- Work with wireless communications groups and associations to ensure interoperability among all public safety and emergency response wireless communications systems.
- Perform other duties as assigned by the ISB to promote interoperability of wireless communications systems.
Call to action
The SIEC asks people to work together across jurisdiction and agency boundaries to determine the best solutions before disaster strikes. The SIEC believes people who live and work in an area are the best people to define interoperability needs at the local level. For planning purposes, you may wish to follow, the Seven Steps of Achieving Interoperability.
With your help the SIEC seeks to:
- Develop partnerships between state and local agencies
- Develop a wireless communications plan for Washington state
- Identify funding resources
- Further establish national emergency protocols and standards
- Make coordinated investments in statewide systems
This problem can be solved through a collaborative approach, saving time, money and most importantly – lives. Collaborating on system design and development will enable emergency responders to provide more services, more efficiently, increase interoperability and reduce long-term costs.