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Emergency Communications During the Minneapolis Bridge Disaster

A Technical Case Study by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau's Communications Systems Analysis Division

The Interstate 35W Mississippi River bridge was an eight-lane steel bridge that carried traffic across the river in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bridge was completed in 1967 and was Minnesota's fifth-busiest, carrying 140,000 vehicles daily.

On August 1, 2007, the bridge collapsed during the evening rush hour killing thirteen people and injuring 145. City and county employees managed the rescue efforts by using post-9/11 techniques and technologies.

To better understand the communication needs of emergency responders, the Communications Systems Analysis Division of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau studied the impact of the Minneapolis bridge collapse on local emergency communications systems. Staff from the Division worked directly with local public safety officials to understand and characterize their communications processes and systems, which performed very well during the event. The Division also examined how next-generation commercial wireless technologies could play a role to supplement public safety communications.

Emergency Communications During the Minneapolis Bridge Disaster: A Technical Case Study by the Federal Communications Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau's Communications System Analysis Division

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