Texas National Guard Keeps Lines of Communication Open with Wireless Kit

— December 20, 2006

The Texas National Guard can quickly establish voice, video and data communications during emergencies, thanks to a Rapid Response Communications Kit developed by Fortress Technologies. The kits are mobile systems that enable secure wireless communications during emergency response situations.

The Texas National Guard purchased the first of these systems, which integrates secure Wi-Fi for local access with secure WiMAX for reach-back.

“One of the largest states in the U.S., Texas maintains a land and water area of 268,581 square miles, which presents a number of challenges in communicating during emergency situations,” said Major Clay Wheeler, G6-Signal Officer, Texas National Guard. “We require the ability to quickly, efficiently and securely coordinate with various entities across the state during any major incident. These mobile ‘Rapid Response Communications Kits' provide us the ability to share critical information, save time and ultimately save lives.”

PacStar will integrate Fortress' wireless and security products and Nortel WiMAX solutions from Nortel Government Solutions into a ruggedized case, offering the ability to transmit/receive email, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video feeds securely between Guard members at the scene of an incident and other organizations statewide. The “Rapid Response Communications Kits” significantly streamline the response to, and management of, a disaster situation by immediately opening lines of communications between multiple agencies such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state/local/county agencies and other first responders.

“During emergency incidents, the Army National Guard must maintain order while ensuring every step is taken to protect the lives and property of the individuals affected,” said John Dow, Vice President, Business Development and Marketing, Fortress. “Given its large border on the Gulf of Mexico and vast flatlands, Texas is a hot spot for hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. Its National Guard unit must be prepared with the most reliable and efficient response technologies available today. Fortress is proud to work with the Texas National Guard on developing and implementing this mobile communications system.”

“Rapid Response Communications Kits” have been used successfully by the Texas National Guard for a number of disasters including Hurricane Rita, to provide faster, more reliable incident control. Fortress is also working with Army National Guard units in a number of other states on “Rapid Response Communications Kits” for use in their deployable networking environments.

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