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10 Years After 9/11, First Responders’ Radios Still Not Connected, Report Finds

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FILE - New York City firefighters relax after battling a three-alarm fire on April 27, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

FILE – New York City firefighters relax after battling a three-alarm fire on April 27, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Less than two weeks before the tenth anniversary of 9/11, there is new information on how the country handles national security.

The 9/11 Commission has issued a report card that says the U.S. is safer than it was after the terror attacks.

But the commission is still concerned that some of their most important recommendations aren’t in place.

One of the major issues was that first responders still can’t communicate with one another.

Amid the chaos of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, emergency responders found there was a serious lack of communication.

“When fireman can’t talk to policeman, can’t talk to rescue workers, medical personnel, people die,” said commission chair Thomas Kean.

The commission says the federal government needs to designate radio frequencies for first responders.

In January, President Barack Obama announced his support for allocating the radio space, known as the D-block spectrum, to police and other emergency workers.

Bills that would set aside the D-block and create a communications network have been introduced in both the House and the Senate this year but so far have not been passed in either chamber.

Several big wireless carriers have supported auctioning off the airwaves to the wireless industry, a move that the government has estimated would raise about $3.1 billion. That could help pay to build a public safety communications network.

The Federal Communications Commission has tried to auction off the D Block before. But that 2008 auction required that the winning bidder help build a network to be shared by first responders and give them priority in an emergency. It did not attract any serious bidders.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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