The Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN) provides the State of Arkansas with a statewide wireless network for public safety and first responders with a focus on interoperability. Interoperability refers to the ability of emergency responders to communicate as needed, on demand, and as authorized; at all levels of government; and across all disciplines. Interoperability gives those with AWIN compatible equipment the ability to talk anywhere within the coverage area. This ability has proven to be an invaluable resource during emergency incidents, especially those involving multiple agencies and jurisdictions.
AWIN has over 20,000 radio users that are authorized to use the system. These users consist of State Police, local police and fire departments, county emergency managers, county judges, and state agencies. Command and Control was developed to allow those who will manage large events or disasters to have access to AWIN; every county has at least one command and control radio. Recently the Arkansas Department of Health Trauma System became a major user of AWIN by fitting ambulances with an AWIN compatible radio so that patients can be transported to the best facility for their type of injury.
The weather in Arkansas presents the AWIN system with its most rigorous tests. Each year, ice storms, tornadoes, floods or some other weather disaster puts the system to the test. And each year, AWIN passes those tests with flying colors by allowing first responders to communicate clearly and in real time. But other events also put the system to the test. Sometimes a simple traffic stop can escalate and involve several law enforcement agencies. The AWIN system allows those law enforcement agencies to communicate on one system. AWIN has been used successfully in search and rescue efforts. Each and every day, the system is used to protect and serve the citizens of Arkansas.