July 25, 2006
HPWREN Provides Network Connectivity and VoIP to Horse Fire Incident Command Post
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) contacted HPWREN on late Sunday afternoon (July 23rd) to set up communications for a high-speed wireless data at an Incident Command Post (ICP) in support of firefighting operations during the Horse Fire in San Diego County. The fire is situated within the Cleveland National Forest and firefighting efforts are being led by the United States Forest Service (USFS).
Since it was too late in the day to undertake the deployment, the installation was planned for Monday morning. The initial work included installation of a radio and antenna at the HPWREN backbone site on Lyons Peak, which provides connectivity to the ICP located at the Viejas Community Center.
Once the Lyons Peak site was in order, the HPWREN team moved onto work at the Viejas Community Center ICP site. The first step at the ICP was setting up an initial test radio, which revealed that the link provided marginal connectivity; this was due to an obstruction between the Lyons Peak antenna and the ICP antenna. Although the San Diego Sheriff's Department offered their tower locations for a possible relay site between Lyons Peak and the ICP, a nearby hill on Viejas land appeared to be an ideal site for such. To secure applicable permissions, a California State Senator's team got involved, and eventually an escort was provided by the Viejas tribal leaders so that an ad-hoc relay was positioned atop the water tower site. Installed quickly, the relay operated via a large battery and encompassed a radio and two tripod-mounted antennas. This initial ad-hoc relay site allowed for reliable and speedy network performance until the CDF was able to establish a longer-term solution.
When the CDF Emergency Operations Support Mobile Communications Center vehicle arrived, the ICP radio and antenna were installed onto that vehicle. CDF's Doug Mitchell then took over the connectivity within the ICP itself. HPWREN also provided Mitchell with four Voice-over-IP phones, which communicate via HPWREN with phone lines provided by the San Diego Sheriff's Department near downtown San Diego.
Highlights of this ICP installation:
More photos of the installation are at http://archive.hpwren.ucsd.edu/Photos/20060724/.
A National Science Foundation press release has been posted at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=107121&org=olpa&from=news
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