County Professional Employees Design and Maintain the Backbone of Regional Emergency Response
Before the first responders can answer the emergency call, the County's radio communications towers, microwave, and radio systems must carry the message. The Los Angeles County system of 34 Communications Sites -- towers and microwave transmitters -- are the backbone of radio communications for the first responders including the Sheriff's Department, Fire Department, Paramedics, Lifeguards, and other public service agencies such as Department of Public Works, Department of Social Services, Parks and Recreation, Libraries, District Attorneys, Animal Controllers and many more.
|The radio and microwave tower atop Blackjack Peak on Catalina Island is just one of the 34 high mountain and roof top locations throughout Los Angeles County providing the backbone of communications for first responders.
County employees working at the Internal Services Department Telecommunications Branch are responsible for the design and maintenance of the entire radio tower system, which are constructed on mountain tops and rooftops throughout the County. Virtually all of them are in remote and hard-to-reach locations.
Constructing a self-sufficient radio/microwave transmitter dozens of miles from the closest resources is a challenge for ISD Telecommunications engineer Thuan Nguyen and his colleagues. Thuan and his coworkers design the Telecommunications Infrastructure mechanisms to make sure first responders can communicate 24-hours a day, 365-days a year.
The County's radio and microwave communications have been tested and proven reliable in several major disasters, such as the Northridge Earthquake and a series of destructive wildfires in the Angeles and San Gabriel Mountains.
Thuan said the reliability of the system is assured because ISD workers make regular visits to the sites and perform regular equipment maintenance to make sure the power systems, the tower structure, the building structures, and electronic components are all functioning properly.
"On-site inspections and equipment maintenance and testing are a key part of making sure the radio and microwave systems are fully operational," said Thuan. "Because of their remote locations, some at very high elevations, the communications sites endure hostile weather conditions. It's our job to make sure they function properly, all of the time particularly during an emergency, and without any failures."
Thuan Nguyen is a 22 year employee at the County's Internal Services Department. He and his colleagues at the ISD Telecommunications Branch are represented by CAPE, the California Association of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO.
|County ISD workers Jaime Caballero, Vinh Tran, Thuan Nguyen, and Huy Cai at their Eastern Avenue office design and maintain the county's radio and microwave towers.|
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