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Emergency Communication Networks

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Communications Unit (COMU)

​​Under the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) structure, the Communications Unit (COMU) falls under the Service Branch within the Logistics Section.  The COMU responsibilities include developing plans for the effective use of incident communications equipment, providing personnel to support dedicated incident dispatch and land mobile radio communication capabilities, managing the distribution of communications equipment to incident personnel, and coordinating the installation and testing of communications equipment at key locations/facilities.

COMU resources are regionally maintained by each of the state’s seven Emergency Communications Board (ECB) and Emergency Services Board (ESB) regions.  These resources include:
  • Communications Unit Leaders (COM-Ls) to assist with the development and implementation of an ICS-205 (Incident Radio Communications Plan) and manage incident related emergency communication operations.
  • Communications Unit Technicians (COM-Ts) to assist with emergency communication equipment setup, distribution, maintenance, and sustainment.
  • Incident Tactical Dispatchers (INTDs) to provide incident related dispatch support within the Incident Communications Center (ICC).
  • Incident Communication Center Managers (INCMs) to assist with establishing, supervising, and managing operations within the Incident Communications Center (ICC).
  • Auxiliary Emergency Communication Specialists (AECSs) to provide technological and operational land mobile radio communication support.
  • Radio Operators (RADOs) to monitor and record incident related communications.
Minnesota COMU Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs):
The Minnesota COMU Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs) address:
Position Task Books (PTBs):
Minnesota Field Operations Guide:
The Minnesota Communications Field Operations Guide (MNFOG) is a collection of technical reference material to aid COMU personnel and other communications professionals during emergency incidents and planned events.  
Communications Unit Reports:

Strategic Technology Reserve (STR)

The Strategic Technology Reserve (STR) provides a cache of emergency communications equipment to support incident operations.  STR resources are maintained by each of the state’s seven ECB/ESB regions (regional STR resources) and DPS-ECN (state STR resources).
  • The regionally maintained STR cache is geographically dispersed at key locations across the state and includes:
    • ​​~180 ARMER system Motorola XTS series portable radios (non-encrypted) with chargers, spare batteries, and remote speaker microphones.
    • ​​7 radio repeater tower trailers.
  • Other regionally/locally maintained STR resources include additional ARMER system portable radios, an ARMER system tower site trailer, and a number of mobile emergency communication vehicles.
  • The state maintained STR cache is based at the DPS-ECN office in downtown Saint Paul and includes: 
    • ​~150 ARMER Motorola XTS series system portable radios (non-encrypted) with chargers, spare batteries, and remote speaker microphones.
    • ​A small quantity of UHF and VHF portable radios.

COMU/STR Resource Requests