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Saturday, February 27th, 2021

First responders embrace FirstNet initiative

Credit: FirstNet

Organizers of FirstNet, the nationwide public safety communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders, said the endeavor has been fervently embraced.

More than 1,000 public safety agencies across 52 states and territories have joined FirstNet, officials noted, nearly doubling the network’s adoption since April.

AT&T, in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, is bringing public safety a much-needed technology upgrade to help first responders connect to the critical information they need.

“First responders across the country are saying yes to THEIR network,” Chris Sambar, senior vice president of AT&T-FirstNet, said. “We believe FirstNet is a nationwide asset to public safety – one that is helping first responders more easily, safely and effectively carry out their life saving mission.”

FirstNet first responders get access to key capabilities, officials said, such as improved location services allowing incident commanders to track, in near real time, the location of police, fire and emergency medical services personnel on the ground at large events; data sharing to enhance public safety’s situational awareness; always-on priority and preemption across voice and data to stay connected despite network congestion; and access to near real-time information to help emergency managers and first responders coordinate their action plans and make critical decisions.

“We recently experienced significant flooding,” said Washington County, Maryland, Sheriff Doug Mullendore, whose agency was one of the first in the nation to join FirstNet. “Water rescues, road closures and more needed to be quickly coordinated to keep our responders and our residents safe. When disaster hit, we relied on FirstNet to keep us connected. We even called in a Satellite Cell on Light Truck (SatCOLT), boosting our ability to communicate and coordinate our emergency response beyond the low bandwidth Wi-Fi some of our personnel were using.”