A roundtable discussion about the area’s emergency communications is planned for Wednesday at the Ranier Community Building.

The event, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m., is facilitated by the Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office and division of Emergency Management.

The discussion will focus on multi-agency and cross-border communication systems, and will target first responder radio functions and mass public notification systems, including the Koochiching County Everbridge System, National Weather Service warning coverage, and cell coverage issues, said Willi Kostiuk, county Emergency Management director.

The primary audience will be responders from Koochiching County, International Falls, and Fort Frances, Ontario, with additional regional, state, provincial, and federal partners in attendance to provide input.

Kostiuk said the goal behind the roundtable is to better understand the communications resources and capabilities that exist in the International Falls and the Fort Frances area.

In addition, the event will help to identify the existing and potential means of communications, and how they interact across the border between agencies, particularly in emergency situations.

Kostiuk said the aim of the meeting is to identify what can be done now to plan, train, and exercise for possible emergencies relating to communications and interoperability.

“Communication functions are constantly changing and improving,” Kostiuk said. “To ensure we are able to connect not just within our county, but across the border, we need to discuss our capabilities and resources that can be leveraged in a short time period. Open discussion by all partners is a key step in ensuring effective and timely communications pathways work as they should.”

Assistance in developing the roundtable will be provided by Blain Johnson, of Paramount Planning, who was hired through a radio board grant to work with the county in the development of several plans and training opportunities.

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