Emergency Responders Test Communication Equipment At Tulsa Fairgrounds

Thursday, October 20th 2016, 5:40 pm
By: News On 6

A natural or man-made disaster can happen at any time, and communication is important.

Thursday, emergency responders met at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds as they tested their communication systems.

You don't often see what goes on inside mobile communication units because they are typically only brought in during times of tragedy.

But the information crews gather in the units helps crews on the ground save lives.

Oklahoma has experienced its share of disasters; and each time, first responders have been there.

"We all work together. Oklahoma has more disasters than any other state, other than maybe Florida,” said Bryan County emergency manager, Kenneth Eppler.

But the people behind the first responders have an important job too - making sure communication between agencies is seamless.

Together, the people who operate the communication centers know where to send help.

Officer Damita Kinard with the Tulsa Police Department said, "They want to know if we're out on something big, can I talk to you even though we don't work in the same agency."

About 12 local, state and Indian agencies spent Thursday afternoon in Tulsa, testing out their communication centers. 

Most communication is through radio, but the different agencies don't operate on the same frequency.

"It's a good idea to get everybody together and test because it may work in your jurisdiction, but your radios may not be program compatible with other jurisdictions,” Eppler said.

Instead of finding out about potential communication issues when tragedy hits, they are working those kinks out now; it’s just a matter of time before the training will be put to the test.

"You think about all the things that could happen in Oklahoma alone that have gone on, even before the earthquakes started - we get tornadoes, we get ice storms, anything that is going to decimate a community, that's why these people are here," Kinard said.

Organizers say the fall is typically one of the calmest times of the year, so it's a perfect time to test out the equipment.