Radio Communications Key in Crisis

ALOHA STADIUM (KHNL) - Radio communications, something so basic for emergency crews yet something that can easily break down.

So Honolulu police, fire and other emergency response agencies worked on tuning their radios together Friday during a training exercise at Aloha Stadium.

"We want to make sure if this thing happens we want to be able to communicate across the board," said Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

"No matter what the radio system is we want them all communicating on the same system," Hannemann said.

In many cities, police, firefighters and medical teams use incompatible radio systems, leaving them unable to communicate.

"Cities all over the country, all over the globe for that matter, have all these different technologies in place," said Gordon Bruce, city information technology director.

Emergency teams want to make sure that different agencies can all talk to each other using their own radio systems. Organizers said that was one of the breakdowns that compounded the tragedy of the 9-11 attacks in New York.

"Nine-one-one, the fire were in the building, police could not tell them to get out," Bruce said. "Simple as that."

Including Emergency Medical Services and the Honolulu Police Department, there's a total of 20 different agencies across the state that can communicate over the same radio network.

Organizers declared the exercise a success but say there's room for improvement.

"It's all about being ready in case of an emergency, a disaster of some sort," Hannemann said.