RealNews

Rural region models safety system

An initiative begun as a way to improve highway safety in Virginia’s northern Shenandoah Valley could become a model for interoperable communications for first responders in other rural regions. The Virginia Department of Transportation, several private-sector health and nonprofit groups and a number of jurisdictions in the valley are developing an integrated, Web-based communications platform for first responders. Led by the Northern Shenandoah Valley (NSV) Steering Committee, the initiative began three years ago as an effort to improve highway safety and the response to crashes and hazardous material spills along the state’s Interstate 81 corridor. But after Sept. 11, 2001, there was a “pretty significant sea change” in the project’s scope, said Jack Potter, chairman of the NSV committee and medical director of emergency services at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va. “And so they became issues that are much broader for homeland security, but from our position these remain emergency incidents.” Full Story

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