2011-11-04 / Top Stories

CityWide Disaster Services Comes To Rockaway

CityWide Disaster Services Inc. (CDS), a non-profit emergency two-way radio network, announced today that it is creating an emergency radio program to specifically meet the needs of the Rockaway - Jamaica Bay community. The new program, named “Rockaway Alert,” features channels dedicated specifically to local healthcare facilities, first responders and emergency service providers, such as local CERT teams and grass-roots community service organizations, increasing their ability to coordinate and communicate during emergency situations.

“We created the “Rockaway Alert” network to provide health and emergency service providers in the Rockaway - Jamaica Bay area with a stable communications network,” states CDS Executive Director Keith Brooks. “During the recent hurricane, it became evident that without a dedicated, interoperable two-way radio system providing communications between emergency service groups and agencies, evacuation efforts in the area become disjointed. Buses being used for evacuations had difficulty communicating with the healthcare facilities they were evacuating and agencies found it difficult to utilize resources in everyone’s best interest. The new system will provide interoperability, allowing all participants to communicate with one another efficiently and creating a better flow of vital information. With the situations we’ve dealt with lately, from the earthquake to the recent Blackberry problems, it has become evident that a dedicated interoperable emergency communications system for this area is long overdue.”

CDS Chief of Operations Ken Fisher sees the new system as an important tool benefitting area providers. “The Rockaway Peninsula in particular has always been a problem child in emergency service planning circles because of its unique access and exit limitations. If we know anything, it is that when there is an emergency, a timely, coordinated effort is critical to the safety of people who live and work in Zone A areas. The ‘Rockaway Alert’ network will enhance the communication capabilities in the Rockaway - Jamaica Bay area; we just hope that local emergency service and health care providers take full advantage of it.” Fisher also noted that with the main CDS Emergency Radio Communications Center located at Floyd Bennett Field, just across from the peninsula, a secondary, back-up system for “Rockaway Alert” already exists.

Still CDS is sparing no expense, investing heavily in FCC licensing and radio equipment for the project. Testing of the system will begin shortly in order for CDS to meet their deadline of the network becoming operational by Thanksgiving weekend. “CDS has been creating and implementing emergency radio networks for over 35 years,” states Director Brooks, a Rockaway resident. “With our expertise, we can offer the area something it has never truly had; a dependable, affordable and dedicated interoperable emergency communications system. An added benefit is that the system will work with most organizations’ current equipment. In most cases, there will be no need to purchase additional radios. CDS can program the new network into a participant’s current radio and they can begin using the system immediately.”

For more information, contact CDS at 347-860-8239 or at adams@city wide-citylink.org

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