Canada-US Enhanced Resiliency (CAUSE) Experiment – Western Scenario

November 2014

Project Summary

International Safety Research (ISR) designed and executed a complex multi-agency communications experiment, known as the Canada-US Enhanced Resiliency (CAUSE) Experiment. ISR worked with Alberta, Saskatchewan and Montana (US) along with federal partners and technology providers to test a wide range of communications equipment within a simulated emergency environment in November 2014. The experiment area covered the southeast corner of Alberta, the southwest corner of Saskatchewan and northern Montana and had participants sending and receiving communications from a variety of locations in order to test the equipment used but also to measure the improvement to the overall response. The goal of the experiment was to assess the communication and overall response effectiveness of standalone radios compared to those combined with a deployable broadband network. A formalized evaluation process was conducted that provided an assessment of the results of this experiment for the emergency management communities in both Canada and the US.

Interoperable technology was used to connect two Canadian provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan) and a US state (Montana) by voice on a single radio channel by enabling the interface between the existing Land Mobile Radios (LMR). Subsequently, the LMR voice capability was then augmented using an emerging deployable high-speed broadband PSBN-LTE (700 MHz) capability which allowed the exchange of information via data sharing applications. This included the exchange of data files such as pictures and videos as well as streaming video, videoconferences and audio conferences. Increased situational awareness enabled by the LMR systems and the deployable PSBN-LTE supported improved cross border emergency response operations and provided the foundation for developing coordinated responses and improved decision making across the affected jurisdictions.

A live simulation was developed and directed by ISR and was conducted in November 2014. On the first day of the experiment, LMR systems were used exclusively to exchange critical information, through voice, related to the simulated emergency response. A technology patch was used to connect the LMR systems between the Canadian provinces and the US state of Montana. On the second day, the high-speed broadband PSBN-LTE (700 MHz) capability was added which also allowed operators to exchange data using software applications. The LMR system, which enabled voice communications, was also used on the second day.

It was demonstrated that the increased situational awareness generated by the LMR systems and the deployable PSBN-LTE supported improved cross border emergency response operations. The improved situational awareness provided the foundation for developing coordinated responses across the affected jurisdictions. It also gave participating organizations additional time and improved data to support improved decision making in areas such as the provision of aid to partner agencies.

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