While I love Pam to death,
> Catch that? "On different communication systems."
is evidence of a lack of understanding of interagency emergency communications; it's not a good analogy for the situation at hand, in most current cases.
The em-comms issue is one of assigned and provisioned communications frequencies. Field em-comm equipment is *not* frequency-agile; it's channelised to match the municipality's license.
So, even though most of those radios are narrow-band FM (APCO 25 digital is up and coming, but not there yet that *I* know of, and besides, it, too, is standard for precisely this reason), they still can't talk to each other, unless it's pre-planned and agreed.
But the reasons are administrative.
The *real* reason is that while interagency channels and coordination plans do exist, none of them were designed for a disaster on the wide scale of Kat/rita. Ad, frankly, most of those people who need to talk on them have only the most basic instruction on how to handle a communications net with that many people on it.
This, on the other hand, is why we train and licence hams... though the integration of those hams into the emergency response plan was also, I gather, somewhat catch-as-catch-can. Hams *do* train for precisely that sort of situation (traffic triage; 1000 people on the same frequency, etc).
I'm sure we haven't heard all the stories yet.
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