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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > SCIP Monthly Update October, 2009

SCIP Monthly Update October, 2009


October 14, 2009


State of Maine Communications Interoperability Plan (SCIP)


MEMA’s SOP All Hazard’s Communication Plan for the Counties continues to move forward. Aroostook and Washington County’s have been completed and sent for their review. Piscataquis and Penobscot are both being drafted. I have confirmed dates in Waldo on October 15th and Hancock County on October 22nd. I am still waiting on notification and/or confirmation on other dates from other Counties, please get back to me as soon as possible to set up these meetings. I encourage all EMA Directors to review the attachment that I sent out with the possible dates to understand the importance of completing these workshops. These workshops should be attended by key stakeholders within their Counties.


COML Unit Leader Type III Training (COML) - Through the Office of Emergency Communications Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program (OEC/ICTAP), the All-Hazards Type III Communications Unit Leader (COML) Class is available to provide DHS approved National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant Communications Unit Leader (COML) instruction to ensure that every state/territory has trained personnel capable of coordinating on-scene emergency communications during a multi-jurisdictional response. This class is scheduled for November 17/18/19, 2009, at the Holiday Inn Express and Conference Center, Saco. Please contact MEMA at (624-4476) for questions or further information, or go to our communication website to see the full description and details. We will accept students from towns of less than 4000 but only pay backfill/overtime for 4000 plus. Please contact Mike Grant at (207) 624-4460. Do you need specific Communication Training? If so please contact Steven Mallory to discuss.


In the past few weeks MEMA has received and distributed 18 mobile repeaters out to a variety of organizations. During an assessment MEMA conducted throughout the state in 2008, it was determined that Maine has significant issues with public safety radio coverage. An emergency solution to assist incident commanders in facilitating communications rather than purchasing costly infrastructure; was to have mobile repeaters available on call, to extend coverage. The mobile repeaters are a VHF in-band repeater meaning that they can operate frequencies between 130- 174 MHz. This flexibility allows coverage over amateur radio bands and public safety bands. The repeaters can connect a simplex frequency together on a hilltop or be used to connect a simplex frequency to a stationary repeater. We have also successfully tested its ability to help improve in-building communications. The repeater can also be setup to communicate with P25 digital systems. Each organization that accepted a mobile repeater agreed to make it Available for response in and outside of their organizations. The recipient list includes:

  • Aroostook EMA
  • Cumberland EMA
  • Franklin EMA
  • Hancock EMA
  • Knox EMA
  • Lincoln EMA
  • Oxford EMA
  • Sagadahoc
  • Somerset
  • Waldo
  • York (Mobile Command Vehicle)
  • Forestry (Mobile Command Vehicle)
  • Bangor Fire (Mobile Command Vehicle)
  • State Police (Mobile Command Vehicle)
  • Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
  • State of Maine Radio Services

MOU and SOP Template Suite and Reference Library:

OEC recently released the Formal Agreement and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Template Suite and Reference Library. The Formal Agreement and SOP Template Suite, available on the SAFECOM website, contain nine templates that help expedite the process of creating a formal agreement or SOP focusing on communications interoperability. The Template Suite, which was vetted throughout its construction by members of the emergency response community, includes guidance documents for the creation of a: - Charter - Executive Order - State to Local Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) - Local to Local MOU - System-to-System Console Patch SOP - Mobile Gateway SOP - Shared Channel SOP - Shared System SOP - Radio Cache SOP The Template Suite is also available on the National Interoperability Information eXchange (NIIX) website in addition to the Formal Agreement and SOP Reference Library, which contains over 200 real-world formal agreement and SOP examples that emergency responders can reference. The documents contained in the Library were collected earlier this year when OEC issued a nationwide call among stakeholders requesting the submission of formal agreements and SOPs relating to communications interoperability. Taken together, the Formal Agreement and SOP Template Suite and Reference Library satisfy the following two National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) Milestones:

“Within 12 months, DHS will establish a central repository of model formal agreements (i.e., Memoranda of Agreement [MOA], MOU, and Mission Assignments) and information that will enhance interstate and intrastate coordination.”

“Within 12 months, DHS identifies and refines model SOPs for emergency communications during specific types of incidents and all-hazards response (beyond tactical communications).”

Questions or concerns relating to the Formal Agreement and SOP Template Suite and Reference Library should be directed to


The Office of Information Technology (OIT) recently held 4 regional workshops across the State. The intent of these workshops was to provide a forum for all first responders, State Agencies, and non-state agencies the opportunity to hear the current status of this major project. By providing an open forum across the state it is hoped that misunderstandings and miscommunications will be addressed.

MSCommNet is four years into a process to develop and commission a unified state land mobile radio network for state law enforcement, public safety, and public service agencies. OIT did a nice job with providing the project history, number of state agencies to be served by the project, how NGO can participate in this project in the future and a detailed overview of the project objectives and provided plenty of time for questions from the audience.

At the conclusion of the 4 workshops, OIT will post the FAQs on their website. In the meantime, if you were not available to attend a workshop, they have detailed information at the link below.


Just a quick reminder!!!

As of December 2004, the FCC mandated that all public safety radio systems move from 25 KHz to 12.5 KHz by January 1, 2013. Several things need to be done before this transition can take place in your department:

  • Assess/inventory current equipment and radio systems
  • Plan/budget for new equipment
  • Apply for new/modified license
  • File paper work
  • Establish timetable for new equipment
  • Implementation/transition
  • Implement new equipment/systems

It is important that when you are looking into new equipment you do not buy equipment that runs on 25 KHz. This equipment will no longer be accepted for use and will be illegal to use. Be careful of vendors who may try to “unload” this type of equipment by providing “great deals” or “special offers”. Some vendors may go as far as to falsely say the equipment works on narrowband.

Start work now on the transition to the new Narrowbanding guidelines is very important. The FCC has set the overall transition deadline for January 1, 2013. The deadline of January 1, 2013 may seem like a long time off but it will come quickly and there are severe consequences for not complying with the new mandate. One consequence of waiting will be increasing communication interference when new systems begin going online. This will be due to narrowband channels overlapping wideband channels. The more severe consequence will be the cancellation of your license(s) by the FCC. As of the January 1, 2013 deadline, any department(s) that has not received new or modified licenses will have their licenses cancelled immediately. Another severe consequence is substantial fines for non-compliance. These fines can be between $8,000 to $10,000 per day. By waiting, you are risking having to spend a lot more money and time later on…


If you would like to contribute articles for upcoming SCIP Newsletters to highlight innovative practices in your respective counties and/or areas, please contact



Steven Mallory


Last update: 07/20/10