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NWTEMC Tribal Partners

colville tribes
Colville Confederated Tribes

Coeur D'Alene Tribe
Coeur D'Alene Tribe

Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians logo
Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians

Cowlitz Indian Tribe
Cowlitz Indian Tribe

hoh tribe
Hoh Indian Tribe

Kalispel Tribe logo
Kalispel Tribe of Indians

Lower Elwha Klallam

lummi nation
Lummi Nation

muckleshoot tribe
Muckleshoot Indian Tribe

Nez Perce Tribe

Nisqually Tribe logo
Nisqually Indian Tribe

nooksack tribe
Nooksack Indian Tribe

Quinault Tribe
Quinault Indian Nation

Quileute Nation logo
Quileute Nation

Samish Indian Nation

sauk-suiattle indian tribe
Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe

Scammon Bay Logo.PNG
Scammon Bay Native Village, Alaska

shoshone bannock tribes logo
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes

Siletz Tribes
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Spokane Tribe
Spokane Tribe of Indians

stillaguamish tribe logo
Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians

swinomish tribe
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

Tulalip Tribes

no website available
Upper Skagit Tribe

Council of Mekoryuk.jpg
Village Council of Mekoryuk, Alaska

NWTEMC Interoperability Communications

WA State Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC)

Emergency responders cannot always communicate during crisis situations. The State Interoperability Executive Committee (SIEC) works to ensure all emergency responders can share information via voice and data signals on demand, in real time, when needed, and as authorized. This is the definition of Interoperability.


SAFECOM is a communications program of the Department of Homeland Security. SAFECOM provides research, development, testing and evaluation, guidance, tools, and templates on interoperable communications-related issues to local, tribal, state, and Federal emergency response agencies.

Formal Agreement and Standard Operating Procedure Template Suite and Reference Library
The Formal Agreement and Standard Operating Procedure Template Suite and Reference Library provide members of the emergency response community with guidance to develop their own formal agreements and standard operating procedures (SOPs) relating to communications interoperability.

Interoperable Emergency Communications Grant Program (IECGP)

The Tribes of NWTEMC applied for an IECGP grant in 2008 and 2009 to Washington State to help the Tribes better participate in the the InterOp Communications planning underway in that State. The ultimate goal is that with the planning in place, the tribes can jointly build an emergency communications network that is interoperable and usable as alternate network for all responders during times of emergency.


NWTEMC FY08 IECGP Final Report 4.2010.pdf

FY 2008 IECGP Application - NWTEMC

InterOp Standard Operating Procedures Tribal TEMPLATE

NWTEMC Interop Tabletop Exercise


FY09 IECGP Grant Application: Tribal Communications

TEMPLATE:  Communications - Interlocal Access Agreement


FY10 NWTEMC IECGP grant application

Communications Architectural Framework for Nine NWTEMC Tribes

This document is the product of the Technical Assistance provided to enhance Tribal Interoperability.

The Nine tribes that participated in this study are:

  • Tulalip Tribes

  • Stillaguamish Tribe

  • Nooksack Tribe

  • Lummi Nation

  • Upper Skagit Tribe

  • Swinomish Tribe

  • Sauk-Suiattle Tribe

  • Samish Tribe

  • Snoqualmie Nation


This report delivers a communications architectural framework for the nine Northwest Tribal Emergency Management Council (NWTEMC) Tribes in the northern Interstate 5 corridor of Washington State. These tribes include the Tulalip Tribes, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, Nooksack Indian Tribe, Lummi Nation, Upper Skagit Tribe, Swinomish Indian Tribe, Sauk‐Suiattle Indian Tribe, Samish Indian Nation, and Snoqualmie Tribe. The jurisdictional area of responsibility of these tribes varies in size and terrain and their existing communications infrastructure varies as well.

The architecture is divided into three parts that are addressed individually for each tribe. These are:

  • ·         Intra‐tribe communications for establishing or enhancing operations within the tribal jurisdiction.

  • ·         Inter‐tribe communications for establishing interoperability among these nine tribes.

  • ·         Tribal agency communications for establishing interoperability with state/county/local agencies.

Four key architectural elements have surfaced as options for enhancing communications and interoperability.

  • ·         Use of in‐car repeaters for increased signal strength: Analysis shows that the signal strength on the handheld radios is not sufficient in several cases across the tribal jurisdiction – especially inside buildings and over rough terrain. Some tribes are using in‐car repeaters very successfully, and this report recommends that tribes use in‐car repeaters where coverage is fading. Where coverage is completely lacking, the deployment of new repeaters on new or existing towers is required even though it is an expensive option.

  • ·          Mandatory dispatch services for each tribe: Dispatch centers are a crucial part of the public safety communications infrastructure and help in several ways to enable interoperability. It is strongly recommended that each tribe with a law enforcement agency receive dispatching services through a tribal or a county dispatch center.

  • ·         Programming common frequencies of neighboring agencies and tribes into radios: It is normal for neighboring agencies and tribes to talk to each other often during daily operations as well as during emergency situations. Where they are within the same radio footprint and using the same frequency band, they should program their radios with the same frequencies.

  • ·         Use of NWRIC infrastructure to achieve interoperability among tribes and agencies: NWRIC is an IP loop being established by Washington State to enable interoperability among agencies that are far apart or that utilize different radio systems. It can likewise provide interoperability among the nine tribes. At least one tribal dispatch center must have a permanent network link to the NWRIC infrastructure and the necessary dispatching capabilities. This will allow the dispatch center to establish interoperable communications among these nine tribes in case of an emergency.

This document does not lay out detailed designs for any of the options presented. These designs require further effort and are not within the scope of the conceptual architecture presented.

Voice Radio Communications  Guide for the Fire Service (Oct 2008).  (3.8 MB, 77 pages)

Developed for the Fire Service, this is a great guide for all Emergency Services for Radio Communications. Section 7 (Page 58) discusses Interoperability.

Interoperable Communications Technical Assistance Program (ICTAP)

ICTAP is a technical assistance program designed to enhance interoperable communications among local, State, and Federal emergency responders and public safety officials, and is associated with G&T's Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant program. The goal of the ICTAP program is to enable local public safety agencies to communicate as they prevent or respond to a WMD attack. ICTAP also leverages and works with other Federal, State, and local interoperability efforts whenever possible to enhance the overall capacity for agencies and individuals to communicate with one another.

Homeland Security is  working with the NWTEMC to help  WA Tribes increase their Inter-Op capabilities. DHS is currently gathering data to develop needs assessments for the Tribes. The template below will help DHS identify what the Tribes current capabilities are and what is needed.

Tribal Network Data Collection Template_Isensepro Rev 1.xls

If you have any questions please contact:

Steve A. McLaughlin CDR, USN (ret)
 Homeland Security/Counterterrorism Division
2456 Grand Ave.
East Wenatchee, WA 98802

More information regarding the ICTAP program can be found at:


Communication Assets Survey and Mapping (CASM)

The Department of Homeland Security has given NWTEMC access to a radio communications tool called Communication Assets Survey and Mapping Tool (CASM). This application allows Public Safety entities to catalog radio resources. When fully implemented, this tool will provide an accurate picture of current communications capability, It has and  will continue to provide a planning base for the future.

The CASM program collects information about an agency's mobiles, portables, frequencies/channels, base stations, gateways, towers/repeaters.

When an agency enrolls in CASM and provides data about its own systems, it will be allowed access to the information that all other entities are going to submit as well. This can help achieve several objectives:

  • The CASM will become a centralized place for radio information and programming for Public Safety professionals.
  • Maine jurisdictions and agencies will have shared access to partners' inventory information, which will assist in local planning.  
  • It will provide for greater detail and information that may not be available in Federal Communication Commission (FCC) databases.

This information will be used only to assist the NWTEMC Tribes in  improving their radio interoperability and future planning of infrastructure. This information in the right hands of Public Safety communication leaders will help create a central repository of knowledge to be able to assist first responder communication needs before an incident and not after.

CASM Homepage and user login:

FCC License Search:

request for proposal: sept 2008: fY08 IECGP "interop communications grant": ../documents/NWTEMC FY 08 IECGP RFP.doc