Core Concepts

Public safety communications involves the unique application of a set of principles, a combination of technologies, and integration of processes to provide assured communications support for deployed emergency responders. The following core concepts form the basis of fundamental precepts for planners, providers, and users of public safety communications systems. It should be noted that rapid advances in technology and the engineering disciplines that guide the development of hardware and software to support the public safety communications industry will affect the development and evolution of communications equipments that support emergency responders. As the technologies for the transmission, reception, and processing of information evolve, we caution that, in areas such as standards and specific technologies, the information presented may not always reflect current perspectives of communications systems development. On the other hand, these concepts do reflect the precepts on which sound communications system development and deployment for emergency responders should be based.

  • Operability ... is the fundamental concept that communications are always able to support the emergency responder.
  • Interoperability ... stems from the previous concept of operability and refers to the ability of diverse or disparate systems and organizations to operate with each other.
  • Reliability ... is a reflection of the assuredness of the operability of the communications systems and the ability to transfer information between end users.
  • Resiliency ... refers to the ability of operable systems to recover from mishap, change, misfortune, or variation in mission or operating requirements.
  • Redundancy ... refers to the resiliency of communications systems that is achieved by alternative means or systems.
  • Scalability ... refers to the ability of operable systems to respond to change and growth in interoperable communications requirements.
  • Security ... ensures end-to-end control and continuity as information moves across networks and devices.
  • Efficiency ... refers to the ability of the system to effectively use resources.
  • Interdependence ... reflects interdependencies between the communications sector and the national infrastructure.