October 11, 2005
HPWREN's Fifth CDF Incident Response Deployment
On Wednesday afternoon, October 5, 2005, the HPWREN staff received an official request for a high-speed data communications setup from the San Diego California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) Emergency Command Center Chief Tom Gardner. This ad-hoc connectivity would support firefighters working to control the Border 50 Fire near Tecate, CA. The Incident Command Post would be located at Potrero County Park northeast of incident. This ICP site was surveyed by the HPWREN team in July of 2004 as one of the key locations designated by CDF for San Diego County. By late afternoon the needed preparations were completed, but due to the lateness in the day, the deployment was delayed until the next morning, on October 7th. Prior to the connection request, HPWREN already collected real-time fire images via ad-hoc cameras via deployed network cameras.
On October 7th, two teams were created, one went up to Lyons Peak to attach the antenna and radio on tower, and then connect to the HPWREN backbone, and another team to drive on to the ICP at the Potrero County Park, to install a relay site and the connection target at the ICP itself. The connection was completed from Lyons to Potrero around mid-afternoon, and running multi-megabit per second speed. CDF first responders require high-performance data connections during such incidents, including to access maps, aerial imagery, telemetry data, and to work on forms, and resource and incident status to Sacramento. Also during the afternoon the team had installed high-speed data connections to ICP components, such as staff support offices and Comm Unit, planning, and finance trailers.
With the cooler weather and aggressive firefighting operations, on Sunday October 9, 2005, the ICP site was shut down and the HPWREN connection dismantled.
Border 50 Fire deployment photos are found at http://archive.hpwren.ucsd.edu/Photos/20051006/. The Border 50 Fire incident was the fifth HPWREN ICP deployment, following the Volcan Fire in September of this year, with photos at http://hpwren.ucsd.edu/Photos/20050907/.
The CDF Border 50 Fire summary can be found at http://www.fire.ca.gov/cdf/incidents/Border%2050_188/incident_info.html. The Volcan Fire summary can be found at http://www.fire.ca.gov/cdf/incidents/Volcan%20Fire_184/incident_info.html.
"Once again CDF called and HPWREN answered our call to provide high speed internet access for our Incident Base," described Tom Gardner, CDF Emergency Command Center Chief for San Diego. "As the Command Staff at the Incident do more and more work via the Internet to provide updated fire information to the public and updated conditions to the firefighters, the need for a reliable connect in remote areas of San Diego County is rising. HPWREN has been there and shown that it can be done. We now need to start looking at VoIP for future connections."
The successful deployment of ad-hoc wireless incident management connectivity via the National Science Foundation funded HPWREN has shown that high performance networking is a viable option even for these remote-location ICP scenarios, and that with prior planning and experience, the deployment times were significantly reduced and streamlined. In addition, more technology and expertise transfer to CDF Information Technology staff personnel was seen during this recent collaboration.
Ron Serabia, HPWREN First Responder Coordinator
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