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This paper provides an overview of the EUROPCOM demonstrator, a UWB based positioning and communication system for emergency personnel, which allows efficient management and coordination of rescue operations in disaster zones, particularly inside of buildings. The system architecture is reviewed, key aspects of the PHY, MAC, NET, and positioning (POS) sub-systems are highlighted. Ranging and positioning performance results are presented. The main challenge addressed by the system design is a self-calibrating location aware network of nodes in an ad-hoc scenario, which is able to operate under non-line-of-sight conditions. The EUROPCOM demonstrator has been developed under the Sixth Framework Program of the European Commission.