Nova Scotia won a top national award for its inventive approach to helping first responders, law enforcement and public safety agencies talk to each other during an emergency.
The common mobile radio system they use, called TMR2, received the Gold Award for Innovative Management from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. The awards were handed out today, June 28, in Toronto.
“Communication is critical during an emergency,” said Business Minister Mark Furey on behalf of Internal Services Minister Labi Kousoulis. “Our public safety agencies need to be able to talk to each other to keep everyone safe. Joint operations involving multiple agencies happen all the time and nowhere in Canada can they communicate so easily. This is the kind of innovation we want to encourage in Nova Scotia.”
The TMR2 system is one of the first examples of a shared, multi-province radio system in North America.
The network was recently upgraded to a state-of-the-art, all-digital system. Those upgrades brought more coverage, better transmission quality and greater ability for every user to communicate with every other user regardless of location or organization.
The upgraded system is up and running in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and is now being implemented in New Brunswick. By next year it will be used by virtually all public safety and public works field employees and volunteers in the Maritimes. That includes about 23,000 users across police, fire, ambulance, ground search and rescue, municipal emergency management offices, the RCMP and all three levels of government.
The upgrades also allow for encryption, ensuring police communications are kept confidential and no personal information is unintentionally broadcast.
“It’s an exciting step into the future of public safety,” said Bill Moore, deputy chief of Halifax Regional Police. “Improvements to the system’s coverage and capabilities have enhanced a system that already provides us with a great level of service.”
Government provided about $10 million in mobile radio equipment to volunteer public safety organizations in Nova Scotia as part of the upgrade.
Earlier this month Premier Stephen McNeil honoured the TMR2 program with a Premier’s Award of Excellence for its leadership and management of this key public safety infrastructure.