Feds say first responders lack data-sharing tools

'Vertical communication is not a substitute for horizontal communication.' <>
'CDC's Scott Wetterhall

Henrik G. de Gyor

The homeland security effort needs an 'interstate information expressway' paid for by the federal government but that state and local first responders can use to share information, Steve Cooper said.

'It's high time for us to get on with this,' the Homeland Security Department CIO said last week at the Industry Advisory Council's ELC.

With the exception of law enforcement, first responders generally cannot share information easily enough, Cooper said. Public-health officials are especially behind the curve in data sharing because most health problems are solved locally so there's rarely much impetus to sound public-health alarms, he added.

Scott Wetterhall, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, echoed Cooper's view.

'Vertical communication is not a substitute for horizontal communication' among police, emergency medical teams and others, Wetterhall said.

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