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MO Emergency Responders Practice Communications

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(KWMU staff)
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A Missouri Department of Public Safety truck uses satellite equipment to link to other emergency responders around the state.

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Emergency responders in Missouri tried to talk to each other Thursday.

They held a communications drill at the Jefferson Barracks National Guard training site near St. Louis. It involved a pretend terrorist attack on the Gateway Arch.

The idea was to get radio systems from police, fire and other agencies to link up.

The guard's Lt. Col. Bill Ratliff says that's one thing that didn't happen easily on September 11th.

"What seems so simple is that you want the police to be able to talk to the fire department. The fire department wants to be able to talk to the mayor's office, etcetera," Ratliff said. "That sounds very simple, but it's incredibly complex. There are all kinds of communications networks. And unfortunately, some can't talk to the other."

Several agencies tried out a system where two-way radios from one department could work with any other around the state.

That setup uses an internet-style computer connection.

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