- UrgentLink is the first nationwide public safety network of its kind
- Enables critical communications when traditional networks are damaged or destroyed
- Radios to be deployed in FEMA’s six regional mobile emergency response support locations
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland (June 9, 2020) – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) now has the security of a mission-critical back-up communications network with their recent selection of Collins Aerospace Systems’ UrgentLink® HF disaster communications system. UrgentLink is the first nationwide public safety network of its kind, designed and purpose-built for high availability and ease of use in disasters. Collins Aerospace is a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX).
This groundbreaking solution enables first responders and other critical public health, safety, and industry officials to communicate with each other when traditional communication networks are damaged or destroyed.
“UrgentLink will provide a redundancy capability to our existing communications infrastructure to help us ensure the protection of life and property in the event of a major disaster,” said Damon Penn, Assistant Administrator, Response Directorate, FEMA.
The Urgent Link solution, a subscription-based service fully managed and maintained by Collins Aerospace, calls for the deployment of radios in FEMA’s six regional Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) locations and 100 cached radios for use during disasters. Operating on an HF spectrum specifically authorized by the FCC for disaster use, UrgentLink uses ground stations throughout the U.S. to create redundant coverage when landlines and cellular, satellite and microwave networks and other systems have been disabled or destroyed by hurricanes, wildfires, terrorist acts, or other catastrophic events.
“Imagine being in a situation where there are no phones, no cell service and even emergency responder radios are rendered useless --- it can be incredibly scary and dangerous for emergency personnel and the public,” said LeAnn Ridgeway, vice president and general manager, Information Management Services for Collins Aerospace. “That’s the situation we created UrgentLink to address and we’re proud to provide FEMA with this mission-critical backup system.”
The UrgentLink network will be available to FEMA as soon as the radios are deployed, which is expected to be by June 2020 in preparation for the 2020 hurricane season. FEMA will join other UrgentLink customers, such as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – the second largest public safety agency in the country.