Canada's First Responders Cite Better Collaboration and Communication as Key to Keeping Canadians Safe - First comprehensive national survey of First Responders Provides Roadmap for Improvement



    TORONTO, Dec. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's First Responders - the front
line in emergency response for all citizens - have for the first time jointly
identified factors including inter-agency interoperability; a unified approach
for incorporating best practices; and centralized research and testing of
technologies as critical to improving their ability to enhance public safety.
These findings come from Keeping Canadians Safe: A Technology, Research and
Development, and Emergency Preparedness Situational Analysis of Canadian First
Responders, released today by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA)
and conducted for the Canadian Police Research Centre (CPRC).
    "The results of this study clearly demonstrate the important role
Advanced Security technology plays in ensuring that First Responders have the
tools they need to guarantee the safety of Canadians," said John Reid,
President of CATA. "That is why CATA has expanded its support of the advanced
security industry in Canada and the role of technology companies in supporting
security initiatives through participation in thought leadership research and
public sector/private sector partnerships."
    As part of its work in policing and public safety science and technology,
CPRC commissioned the study in partnership with CATA to improve the level of
understanding of the changing patterns in the scale, nature and spatial
distribution of Canadian First Responder organizations; gain a better
understanding of their use and application of Information and Communications
Technology (ICT); and provide recommendations as to how the Canadian Police
Research Centre can work with all Canadian First Responders.
    For the first time in Canada, Fire, Police, Paramedic and Emergency
Response organizations were exclusively asked about their current use of
technology, about emergency preparedness capabilities, and to identify a range
of services they would like to see available to improve collaboration and
cooperation amongst various jurisdictions. A total of 144 Chiefs (or
equivalent) from Fire, Police, Paramedic and Emergency Response Organizations
responded to the study.
    Funding for the research was provided, in part, by TELUS.
    "TELUS, CATA and CPRC share a commitment to a safer Canada," said Rod
Piukkala, marketing director, TELUS Business Solutions. "This survey was
critical to examine the issues facing the first responder community now and,
most importantly, in the future."

    Key Findings

    The majority of respondents identified natural disasters, fire, and
epidemic/pandemic events as presenting the top three risks to Canadians'
safety.
    The survey then identified a number of significant concerns inhibiting
First Responders' ability to deliver the best possible service in any
emergency situation. These include:

    
    - Interoperability - Issues related to technology, jurisdictions, and
      on-the-ground chain of command challenges were identified as the
      primary threat to their emergency response abilities;
    - Funding - Funds for the appropriate testing and use of equipment and
      technology was also a significant concern - less than half of
      respondents agreed there is sufficient funding in this area. When
      probed about their satisfaction with products and services available to
      First Responders, the compatibility of communications devices received
      the lowest rating;
    - Centralized Research Facility - Respondents agreed that there is a very
      strong need for a range of services which would be offered through a
      centralized research facility: access to knowledge and expertise across
      the First Responder community, development of product and service
      standards, evaluation of products in an operational setting, and
      providing access to market intelligence and trends. This signals strong
      support for the expanded mandate of the CPRC to address the needs of
      the broader First Responder community.

    Recommended Next Steps

    Work is already under way to begin to bring together the collective wisdom
of public safety and communications leaders and experts, looking for a unified
approach to problem solving by all First Responders, for First Responders. A
number of initiatives have been identified as necessary as a result of this
study, including:

    - Ongoing support to the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest
      Group, bringing together representatives from public safety, industry,
      academia and government to help shape the direction of research and
      development related to interoperability amongst Canadian public safety
      providers;
    - Ongoing research, including the creation of a public safety stakeholder
      map;
    - An Interoperability Town Hall;
    - Creation of a First Responder/industry collaboration and procurement
      portal - a centralized online community allowing both First Responders
      and vendors to better engage one another;
    - A major event security management conference that would bring together
      leaders in major event security management, including global security
      experts and Canadian experts
    

    Immediately following the release of the report, CATA is hosting a Lunch
With Leaders, at which attendees from industry and first responder groups will
have an opportunity to discuss a number of topics with CPRC staff, including
the interoperability between First Responders, products and services, concern
over funding levels for training and equipment testing, and the top three
risks being faced by First Responders. The CPRC will be reviewing the report
and considering the recommendations in its future plans.

    About CATA
    ----------
    The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance grows the revenues of its
28,000 members by creating a collaborative edge -- a chain of expanding value
that ripples across Canada's Innovators, Commercializers, Users, and
Professionals.
    The largest high-tech association in Canada, CATAAlliance matches
businesses with opportunities across almost every sector, so that we can all
do business together. Reaching out from Canada, CATAAlliance members are
connected with investment and partnership opportunities with the major global
companies. As 80% are exporters, CATA's members are the arrow-head for global
growth.
    Through its "Innovation Nation" program, CEOs come together to catalyze
the development of the Canadian business environment. CATA is the foundation
for commercialization, market research, networking, events, access to other
associations, and professional development, across the nation. For more
information, please visit our Web site at www.cata.ca.

    About CPRC
    ----------
    The CPRC was originally established as a partnership between the National
Research Council Canada (NRC), Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, The
Canadian Professional Police Association and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP). As a national focal point for research and development efforts that
support Canada's law enforcement and responder communities, the CPRC will work
in partnership with Canada's responder community, the private sector and the
broader S&T community to advance research, to develop standards, and evaluate
tools and technologies that support the work of police and other first
responders in communities across the country. The CPRC is managed by Defence
Research and Development Canada's (DRDC) Centre for Security Science; a joint
endeavour with Public Safety Canada to provide S&T services and support to
address national public safety and security objectives. The centre's
capabilities lie in leading and administering research, development, testing
and evaluation of technologies, and identifying future trends and threats. It
has also established a network of national and international S&T partners
within the public safety and security communities. DRDC, an agency within the
Department of National Defence, is comprised of a national network of seven
defence research centres. The Agency works in collaboration with private
industry, allied forces and academia to respond to the needs of the Canadian
Forces and the public safety community.

    About Telus
    -----------
    TELUS (TSX: T, T.A; NYSE:   TU) is a leading national telecommunications
company in Canada, with $9.0 billion of annual revenue and 11.0 million
customer connections including 5.4 million wireless subscribers, 4.4 million
wireline network access lines and 1.2 million Internet subscribers. TELUS
provides a wide range of communications products and services including data,
Internet protocol (IP), voice, entertainment and video. Committed to being
Canada's premier corporate citizen, we give where we live. Since 2000, TELUS
and our team members have contributed more than $91 million to charitable and
non-profit organizations and volunteered more than 1.7 million hours of
service to local communities. Eight TELUS Community Boards across Canada lead
our local philanthropic initiatives. For more information about TELUS, please
visit telus.com.




For further information:

For further information: on this study: Kevin Wennekes, VP, Research,
CATAAlliance, CATA, (613) 769-8614, kwennekes@cata.ca; Danya Vidosa,
Communications Officer, CPRC, (613) 371-0534; Léa Werthman, Account Director,
Hill and Knowlton Canada, (613) 558-5625, Lea.Werthman@hillandknowlton.ca

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