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The inability of first responders--police officers, firemen, hazardous materials teams, emergency medical service personnel, and others--to communicate effectively with one another as needed during an emergency is a long-standing and widely recognized problem in many areas across the country. When first responders cannot communicate effectively as needed, it can literally cost lives--of both emergency responders and those they are trying to assist. At the request of the Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, we are examining the barriers to improved interoperability and the roles that federal, state, and local governments can play in improving wireless interoperability communications.

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