General Dynamics C4 Systems and the EDGE Innovation Network are hosting Winter Institute 2014, a disaster response exercise that will evaluate how voice, data and situational awareness are shared among U.S. government, EDGE Innovation Network members and civilian public safety organizations.
The exercise takes place October 28 and 29 and will involve more than one hundred military and civilian personnel as they respond to multiple simulated, large-scale disasters with participants located in Disaster City®, the Texas A&M disaster-response training site in College Station, Texas, and Fort Bliss, Texas, located seven hundred miles away.
"For two days U.S. government and civilian public safety professionals will respond to very realistic disaster events, testing their ability to communicate, share information and collaborate with a true sense of urgency," said General Dynamics C4 Systems President Chris Marzilli. "The lessons learned from this exercise will identify what works, and what needs work, so when a disaster strikes, first responders can focus on helping survivors from the moment they arrive on the scene."
The Army andâ€‹ Texas National Guard will be using the General Dynamics C4 Systems-built, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) to interconnect Winter Institute participants at Disaster City with participants located at Fort Bliss. WIN-T, the U.S. Army's cyber-defended tactical communications backbone network, was the communications hub that enabled multiple government and civilian public safety professionals to communicate and share information following hurricane Sandy in 2012.
"Winter Institute 2014 is a testament to the power of the EDGE Innovation Network," said EDGE Innovation Network Director Pete Palmer. "For more than eight years, the EDGE has hosted collaborative environments for government, academia and industry to pool their collective capabilities to solve challenges facing government organizations, and in this case, smoothing the road for a wide range of public safety professionals to have timely, accurate and reliable information when lives are at stake."
The Disaster City® training site is part of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service in College Station. The site is a mock community that includes full-scale, collapsible structure designed to simulate various levels of disaster and wreckage that is customized for training events for emergency first responders.
Established in 2006, there are 17 EDGE Innovation Centers operating worldwide and serving a number of specialized markets including the EDGE Center for Emergency Informatics at Texas A&M University. The EDGE maintains an open environment where members and customers can characterize, nurture, develop and deliver current and emerging technologies and capabilities to equip a more mobile, better connected and better informed end-user. General Dynamics C4 Systems is the lead technology partner of the EDGE Innovation Network.