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Blog // Connect Michigan

St. Clair County Uses Broadband-Enabled App to Secure Borders

By CMI Staff

Contributor: Dan Manning, Community Technology Advisor

Broadband is often cited as a great productivity tool in providing fast access to information while helping us work and live our lives more efficiently. But beyond simple conveniences, broadband has become critical path for developing new systems and applications that integrate real-time data with real-world situations. And nowhere is that more important than in the area of public safety and homeland security.

St. Clair County, Michigan, is one of our participating Blue Water Bridge“Connected Communities” and home to multiple international border crossings between the US and Canada. Just north of the greater Detroit metropolitan area and on the shores of Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair, this “Blue Water” region boasts the second-busiest crossing between the two countries – and poses some major challenges in ensuring the safety of all residents on this side of the border.

To address this public safety issue, St. Clair County’s Department of Homeland Security began development of the Regional Interoperability Collaboration Network, nicknamed Resilient. “It will put more current, relevant information in the hands of incident commanders and first responders, and improve their ability to act effectively in an emergency,” said Jeff Friedland, Director of Emergency Management/Homeland Security for St. Clair County.

Resilient Screen

This advanced, broadband-dependent application provides situational awareness to the first responders of St. Clair County, the state of Michigan, and US and Canadian partners. It provides support for the daily operations, emergency response, and overall security of this US border with Canada.

Over the years, this unique system has expanded to take advantage of new technologies while also integrating with other systems and data sources to provide incredible public safety capabilities. Today, emergency response and law enforcement teams use Resilient to share 911 system incident and crime data reports, real-time webcam feeds, weather and lake conditions, earthquake and air traffic feeds. Resilient also houses layers of data and locations of infrastructure facilities to manage threats and to support potential evacuations of vulnerable populations.

Resilient also serves as a “virtual whiteboard” where emergency planners can visualize many types of scenarios and work together on potential responses. During active incidents, an incident team can draw locations of resources and areas of interest directly on the map and share that information with other users through the browser interface.

The overall benefits of the Resilient application include enhanced cross-agency access to critical data, which promotes faster response times, greater situational awareness for first responders, increased safety for the general public, and more effective handling of incidents and emergencies.

Yet with all these capabilities, Resilient is readily sustainable and cost-effective, allowing small counties and other communities to participate in its use and data sharing. With the speed and connectivity required and provided by effective broadband networks, the Resilient application and the people of St. Clair County’s Homeland Security team that use it are making their county, the state of Michigan, and the rest of the US a safer place to live.

For more information on Resilient and St. Clair County Homeland Security and to see their video click here.

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