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When hurricanes strike, the main and immediate focus for first responders is rescuing and responding to those in need of aid. Last season, public safety officials relied on FirstNet to sustain and restore emergency communications for many hard-hit communities. FirstNet is critical to our nation’s first responders who battle storms day in and day out – and to those who have placed their confidence into the network’s communications capabilities to keep our communities safe
When disaster strikes, most emergency managers and public safety officials rely on pen and paper to conduct damage assessments. The process involves slow, manual data entry and can delay disaster aid for weeks. In Cherokee County, Alabama, emergency management personnel are using FirstNet devices to collect and upload damage assessment information in real time so that communities can get the help and resources they need faster.
Palm Beach County 9-1-1 in Florida answers roughly 10,000 calls per month, making reliable connectivity critical to serving the community. When the pandemic hit, this became even more important as call takers and dispatchers needed remote capabilities to stay safe. The agency is using FirstNet to keep staff connected through SIM cards in routers, on 9-1-1 busses, and in “go-bags” that enable remote capabilities.
FirstNet Authority Supports SMART emergency management practices through planning, preparedness programs
Emergency management agencies are turning to the FirstNet Authority’s planning tools and support mechanisms — including an exercise inject catalog, event pre-planning program, and post incident/event review process — to help emergency managers and other public safety officials integrate broadband into their daily operations and emergency response. Through collaborative efforts with our team, responders across the nation are leveraging these offerings as part of their SMART approach to emergency management.
The FirstNet Authority provides three types of support to help public safety agencies as they prepare for all hazards: pre-planning support, an exercise inject catalog, and post-incident reviews. These three types of support help agencies understand how to best use FirstNet during disasters or large events, leading to more timely and efficient decision-making, better coordinated response, and well-managed resources and logistics.
Personnel with the Los Angeles Fire Department and County Department of Public Health in California are using FirstNet-enabled devices to better serve residents and visitors to the Los Angeles region. In addition to routers, modems, and smartphones, the agencies are utilizing an Internet of Things system solution on the network to help detect radiation and HAZMAT incidents.
Penn State University Police and Public Safety joined FirstNet, connecting department personnel to a reliable, dedicated network. Using phones and tablets, officers can access tools and communicate during everyday incidents, packed football games, and emergency situations.
Teton County is a rural county in northwest Wyoming. Situated in the Teton Range, the county experiences weather hazards including fires, floods, and wintery conditions, as well as earthquakes, landslides, and avalanches. Teton County first responders rely on FirstNet’s hardened network to stay connected in the most remote parts of the county and during tourist season when cell networks grow congested.
Atmos Energy, headquartered in Texas, provides natural gas services across eight states. FirstNet is supporting Atmos Energy during daily operations and in the aftermath of major disasters, such as Hurricane Laura in 2020. The network keeps teams connected as they work to restore services and helps them better serve their communities.
First responders rely on an extended community of support entities during major incidents, events, and disasters for clean-up, transportation, and other services. These entities are eligible to join FirstNet as Extended Primary users. During times of extreme network congestion, the FirstNet Uplift Request Tool can be used to provide temporary elevation for Extended Primary users to the same priority level as Primary users, ensuring they remain connected and able to communicate and coordinate response.