New Network Will Improve Communication for First Responders

First responders in L.A. County will have an improved way of communicating thanks to a new network. – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

An important component in modernizing communications among first responders in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area is underway. On Feb. 7, Rachel Smith, Angeles National Forest (ANF) deputy supervisor, signed the leases for five of 13 proposed towers for a new Land Mobile Radio (LMR) system operated by the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) Authority.

This LMR system will unify the local, state, or federal emergency responders’ communications with a single state-of-the-art network.

This follows a decision back in October of 2019 to lease the 13 sites in the ANF and now clears the path for tower construction to begin. The leases are for 30 years of operation and maintenance.

“This will significantly improve communications for first responders in L.A. County,” Smith said. “The signing of the tower leases is a big step towards developing a modern public safety network.”
The project sites, distributed across the ANF, are part of a proposed 60-site LMR system across the Los Angeles County. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing federal funding for the county-wide LMR project.

“The communications towers in the forest will help protect the region’s first responders that are risking their lives to protect the public, and we thank the USFS for these leases,” Scott Edson, executive director of Los Angeles Interoperable Communications System, said.
The Angeles National Forest manages land for a variety of multiple uses, including mountain top communication sites.

The site–specific analysis was completed to meet forest service requirements for the protection of natural resources, and to ensure that the project follows the ANF Land Management Plan. All 13 sites on National Forest System land were previously designated and managed as communication sites.

For additional information regarding this decision contact: Justin Seastrand, public services staff officer. For more information regarding the LA-RICS Land Mobile Radio Project, contact Wendy Stallworth-Tait, wendy.stallworthtait@la-rics.org.

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