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L3Harris Radios Help Permian Basin Agencies Transform Emergency Response

The Permian Basin is a region in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico known for its rich supply of oil and natural gas. At about 250 miles wide and 300 miles long, the area accounts for nearly 40% of all U.S. oil production and nearly 15% of the nation’s natural gas production.

Given the vast geographical area the basin encompasses and the largely rural nature of much of its land, road safety and accident response time are paramount concerns. Recognizing the urgency, officials from the private and public sectors came together to form the Permian Road Safety Coalition (PRSC) to improve safety on the region’s roadways.

Since the formation of the PRSC, fatalities have dropped more than 25% in the 22 energy-producing counties of the basin.  

Even so, public safety agencies struggled to communicate with each other due to the different radio systems used throughout the territory. Addressing the need, the Permian Strategic Partnership – a coalition of 19 energy companies operating in the basin – provided funds to the PRSC for the initial purchase of 30 L3Harris XL 200 multiband portable radios. That number topped out at 34 with the coalition donating the radios to public safety agencies, enabling first responders to respond more quickly to oil site emergencies.

Driving greater interoperability

It started with a phone call from Michael Smith, coalition managing director, to Advanced Communications and Electronics, Inc., an L3Harris reseller partner.  

“Prior to obtaining the L3Harris two-way radios, the agencies weren’t able to communicate to neighboring agencies and counties due to disparate radio networks in which they operated,” said Lori Henz, president, Advanced Communications and Electronics. “This isolation led to longer emergency response times and created dangerous holes in network coverage. Delivering a solution that enables multi-agency communication vastly enhances response times.”

According to Smith, the L3Harris radios have been a game changer for the agencies and first responders using them and have proven highly interoperable.

Permian Road Safety Coalition

  • Formally launched in 2019
  • Supports 27 counties
  • Focus areas: road safety education, support for first responders, infrastructure advocacy
    Convenes companies, researchers, agencies and concerned citizens
  • Leverages supporters’ experience, data, technology and networks to focus on saving lives by reducing roadway injuries in local communities
    Has led to more than a 25% reduction in area fatalities
  • Successfully advocated for more than $2 billion in funding from the Texas Department of Transportation for oil and gas region roads in Texas
The L3Harris radios solved each issue we had on our checklist. They operate across all possible bands and frequencies, and they communicate with all brands and makes and models of radios.
Michael Smith
coalition managing director

Ensuring effectiveness through training

L3Harris provided radios and product resources to support technology demonstrations and training offered by Advanced Communications and Electronics for coalition members and end users. RACOM, a distributor, offered upgraded batteries. L3Harris also provided fast service and a UHF option at no charge.

Tryna Saavedra, commercial account manager with Advanced Communications and Electronics, lauded L3Harris for its quick response and seamless support while underscoring the capabilities L3Harris radios provide.

“L3Harris’ tri-band technology makes these the new go-to radios for the public safety agencies that will use them,” said Saavedra. “We all recognize that L3Harris has superior products that exceed the agencies’ project specifications. This is what those agencies need to make the world a little safer.”

Equipping end users

The PRSC and Advanced Communications held two radio distribution events for receiving agencies – one in Hobbs, New Mexico, and the other in Kermit, Texas. Recognizing that knowing how to use the technology is as important as having it, Advanced Communications provided demonstrations to recipients.

“Lori and Tryna provided a marvelous demonstration, and we were able to answer everyone’s questions,” said Smith. “We sent first responders home with radios fielded that same day and received amazing feedback. Operators can now rely on their counterparts to respond because everyone went through the same training.”

Before obtaining the radios, fire chiefs from counties in either state would have to use their personal cell phones to coordinate response and hope the other was within range of a tower to speak – a wish guaranteed to come true with the new L3Harris system, added Smith.