East Texas has dealt with a lot of disasters in the last few years. First the Shuttle Columbia tragedy, then Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During those disasters, communication between emergency responders has sometimes been difficult.
Walter Diggles, the executive director for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments, said, "And the best lesson we learned in Hurricane Rita is when you have a major catastrophe and each agency had their own equipment and bands they were talking on, it was not interchangeable, and it was difficult to talk to each other."
Lt. David Young, with the Lufkin police department, said, "You never know when communication is going to be necessary between other agencies and when phones are out. We will have the ability to communicate faster with other emergency responders and can facilitate faster rescue services."
In an emergency drill agencies from around the 12-county region were able to test out the new communication systems provided through federal grants.