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 ANCHORAGE FIRE DEPARTMENT SUCCESSFULLY TRANSITIONS TO NEW RADIO NETWORK 

 AWARN provides complete radio coverage, interoperability among city, state and federal agencies 

7/21/2010 | Contact: Sarah Erkmann (907) 343-7103
Mayor's Office

Anchorage- The Anchorage Fire Department (AFD) is the first of the Municipality of Anchorage’s public safety agencies to transition to the Anchorage Wide Area Radio Network (AWARN).

The new two-way radio system provides fire and medic responders with complete radio coverage and, as other agencies migrate to the system, interoperability among all municipal, state and federal agencies. In this first phase, fire and medic units are able to communicate with each other and the 911 Dispatch Center from many areas in the Anchorage Bowl where radio coverage had been spotty or non-existent.

Construction of the system will continue to include the entire Municipality – from Girdwood to the Knik River and beyond. Once complete, all Municipal agencies, including the Anchorage Police Dept. and the utilities, will utilize this single radio system, replacing several outdated, 1980s systems that do not provide interoperability, have spotty coverage, and are becoming difficult and expensive to maintain.

Federal grants funded 55 percent of the $25 million needed for the system; 18 percent wasfunded by the State of Alaska and the balance was paid through several bonds authorized by Anchorage voters.

AWARN has been recognized by the Federal Department of Homeland Security as utilizing the best practice for radio communication by public safety and disaster agencies of all branches of government. AWARN users have complete interoperability within the Anchorage area with the statewide Alaska Land Mobile Radio System (ALMR) operated by the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the State of Alaska. AWARN construction involved replacing all the equipment at the Municipality's fixed antenna sites, construction of an earthquake-resistant building next to Fire Station 12 (7920 Homer Drive) to house the system controllers, and replacement of vehiclemounted and hand-held portable radios used by all first responders and most other field employees.

For further technical information contact Trygve Erickson of the Municipality's Wireless Communications Division at ericksontj@muni.org or 343-7910.

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