Tukwila Emergency Communications Plan



·         COML: Communications Unit Leader. (See appendix A for duties)

·         COMT: Communications Technician. The COMT is responsible for setting up and maintaining communication systems.

·         RADO: Radio Operator. Radio operators will send, receive, and log radio traffic as needed.

·         ECC: Emergency Coordination Center.

·         ICS 205: Is a radio plan to be designed by the COML and coordinated through Valleycom. All talk groups and frequencies will be found in this plan.

·         Talk Group: A specific set of radio users with a common ID that are allowed to talk to each other and are assigned a particular frequency.

·         ARES: Amateur Radio Emergency Services. An organization of Amateur Radio Operators, whose purpose is to provide emergency communications, principally to hospitals, relief agencies such as the American Red Cross and, in some instances, governmental and other agencies providing life supporting services.

Concept of Operations:


·         Provide reliable communications systems, and protocols for training, disaster response, and recovery operations.

·         Prepare for the effective use of existing and augmented communications systems under emergency conditions.

·         Provide for back-up communications systems in the event existing or augmented equipment or systems fail.

·         Provide for back-up power systems in the event equipment or systems fail.

·         Maximize the use of communications resources.

Radio Systems:

1.    800 MHz

·         This is the primary radio system to be used by Police and Fire. Public works will use 800MHz to augment their communications.

·         During an emergency, maintain radio discipline to prevent system overload. Use simplex talk groups, cell phones, or other means of communications if possible.

2.    Air band

·         The ECC has 6 portable air band radios to be issued and used as ground-to-air contacts by field units. There will be no other authorized use of these radios. Any field requests for aircraft will be requested from the ECC. The ECC shall request air ops through the RCECC.

3.    VHF

·         Primary use is by Public Works for local communications. There are two available simplex frequencies available. Tukwila School district has several radios on the same frequencies that may be used to contact their command staff.

4.    UHF

·         The fire department maintains a license for the use of MEDCOM channels. There is currently limited quantity of radios available for these frequencies. These frequencies may be used to contact medical units and hospitals. They may also be used for local communications on low power.

5.    Ham

·         Fire department maintains 2 repeaters and a full complement of radios in apparatus and fire stations to be used in disasters as backup communications. Other departments in the city may use the system but will need to obtain a ham license and radios. All fire department operations personnel shall have and maintain their ham radio license.

·         Ham volunteers may be used in the ECC and the field to augment operational needs. Requests for volunteers will be requested through ARES

·         Data radios will be used in shelter, ECC, and command staff vehicles and field units for access to e-mail, maps, plans and any other data needs.

·         GPS capable radios will be used to track and map units if needed.

6.    Telephone Systems:

·         Landlines will be maintained by public works. Telephones will be used as primary communications for departments without radio systems.

·         Cellular phones are to be used to augment radio systems.

·         ICS 205-T is the telephone plan written by the COML for the incident.

·         WPS can be used if you get an “all circuits are busy” on a landline phone.

·         GETS be used if you get an “all circuits are busy” on a cellular phone.

·         WPS/GETS lists and are to be maintained by the COML. Personnel with GETS cards will make monthly familiarization calls.

·         FAX lines are to be used to send and receive documents.


7.    Information Systems:

·         Tukwila Radio 1640Khz AM provides ongoing information about the city, as well as special information in emergency situations.

·         Weather radio will be used in all departments to monitor for any emergency messages from the National Weather Service.

·         Television broadcast will be used to gather pertinent news and information.

·         Cable TV channel 21 will be used to send news and information to citizens of Tukwila.

·         Internet will be used for access to e-mail, information, and news.

·         AM/FM radio broadcast will be used to gather pertinent news and information.

8.    Notification Systems:

·         My State USA will be used to call back personnel.

·         E-mail systems may be used to call back personnel.

·         Paging systems may be used to call back personnel.

·         Text messages systems may be used to call back personnel.

9.    Satellite Systems:

·         BGAN data satellite systems can be rented if needed.

·         Iridium satellite telephone systems can be rented if needed.

·         These systems can be rented and sent FedEx overnight.

10. Equipment Tracking:

·         T-card systems will be used to track all communications equipment issued from the ECC

11. Cache Maintenance:

·         Battery charging will occur monthly

·         Radio testing will occur quarterly.



Appendix A

COML Duties

Immediate actions:


  1. Perform immediate initial evaluation of communications situation.

·         Air-to-ground communication needs.

·         Operational communication needs (fire, police, HAZMAT, etc.).

·         Logistical communications needs (phone, data, sat-com, etc.).

·         What is immediately available to meet these communication needs?

  1. Obtain information from on-site Incident Commander (IC) or representative on frequencies, call signs, etc. in use on incident.
  2. Establish communications with ECC.
  3. Establish communications with local dispatch organization managing the incident.
  4. Select communications site(s) and install supplemental communications equipment/systems as needed/available.
  5. Set up communications center.
  6. Develop communications plans ICS 205 and ICS 205-T.
  7. Train personnel on the use of supplemental communication equipment, and communications plan.
  8. Ensure the local dispatch organization is notified that incident-based communications will commence.


Ongoing Actions

  1. Continually review and revise communications plan as conditions/requirements change.
  2. Attend all pertinent briefings and meetings (shift, planning, operations, etc.).
  3. Ongoing training of personnel on the communications system/plan.
  4. Establish an equipment accountability system.

·         Recover equipment from relieved or released units/personnel.

·         Maintain records on communications equipment (location, battery records, kit numbers, etc.).

  1. Ensure proper use of radio procedures, protocol, and frequencies.
  2. Maintain and keep radio/communications logs current.
  3. Maintain and keep unit logs current (ICS 214).
  4. Ensure proper personal protection equipment is available. Provide a plan for the acquisition of proper safety gear and equipment.

·         Ensure proper personal protection equipment is available. Provide a plan for the acquisition of proper safety gear and equipment.

·         Eyes and ears.

·         Head to toe.


9.    Ensure the protection of your Communications Unit

·         Equipment security.

·         Personnel protection.

·         Forced protection required?




  1. Review communications requirements and recommend the release of excess communications equipment/systems and communications personnel.
  2. Maintain adequate equipment and personnel to support the Incident until conclusion.
  3. Ensure that the local dispatch organization is notified that incident-based communications has ceased.
  4. Ensure that equipment is accounted for.
  5. Ensure equipment being released is properly packaged and inventoried prior to sealing and returning to cache.
  6. Compile after-action report (if required) and include all documentation (radio/communication logs, unit logs, resource orders, etc.).