Fusionpoint Enables Interoperability Among US Coast Guard, Canada Customs and Cities of Detroit and Windsor

Reprinted from The University of Windsor’s UWindsor Prepare newsletter (September 2011, Volume 1, Issue 2) available online here.

On August 23rd and 24th The University of Windsor utilized its emergency operations software when the City of Windsor, US Coast Guard, Canada Customs and Detroit Department of Homeland Security collaborated to test emergency preparedness on the Detroit River.

Exercise “Detroit River Readiness” dealt with a waterborne rescue and explosion on the U.S.-based tour boat, the S.S. Detroit Princess in the Detroit River. The exercise tested the potential impact of such a disaster on both sides of the river. There were simulated casualties in the river which the US Coast Guard and Windsor Port Authority “rescued” along with the assistance of several local Police Boat crews.

The University as well as Detroit and Windsor all activated their Emergency Operations Centres and had a chance to communicate using the University’s WebEOC software. Response support workers also shared a common situational GIS map using the Fusionpoint software acquired by the University and shared with the City of Windsor and County of Essex.

The exercise coincided with the annual Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police conference which was held in Windsor the same week. While presently, all partners in the region are pulling together their after-action analyses, the high-profile exercise went extremely well, a notable point being the effective on-line communication between the Windsor Police site command post and the City’s Emergency Operations Centre. The campus Emergency Operations Centre served as the frontline technical support hub and several members of the campus’ Emergency Response Group were present to practice using the software and share real-time information with their regional colleagues.

The exercise was both exciting for participants and observers on both sides of the river and truly demonstrates the University’s commitment to fostering regional and civic partnerships in an important and practical context.

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