A public safety veteran whose career began as a volunteer fireman when he was in high school has been hired to develop a way for first responders to communicate with each other in major emergencies.

Emergency communications become crucial in emergencies and widespread disasters. But Missouri does not have a system that lets police departments talk to fire departments, ambulance services, utility companies, or entities that might need to fix roads and bridges.

Developing a statewide communications system that does all those things is now the job of Jim Lundsted, Missouri’s first Interoperable Communications Officer. He says the state has to be ready for the next major disaster, whether it’s flood, fire, or tornado.

Lundsted has been in public safety communications for 35 years. He knows that first responders can function together—in practice. He says they’ve worked together in exercises and agree there is a need for such a communications infrastructure. Once policies and procedures are written, he says, the rest is a matter of technology. Lundsted says it’s the job of his office to determine what that technology is and put it in place.


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