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The Arlington (Va.) Emergency Communications Center is one of the first in the nation to deploy remote call-taking, dispatching, and supervision capabilities. Deployed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, these new capabilities allow Arlington telecommunicators to work remotely with a setup that includes a FirstNet hotspot.
As broadband becomes more prevalent in public safety communications, the FirstNet Authority offers the After Action Review (AAR) program — a free service available to any FirstNet subscribing agency to capture best practices and lessons learned related to event planning, logistics, operations, and technology use. The AAR program has made a positive impact on communications usage at events such as the New York International Air Show.
In response to the spread of COVID-19, public safety agencies looked for ways to keep personnel safe while continuing to serve their communities. The Arlington County Emergency Communications Center in Virginia launched remote call-taking, dispatching, and supervision capabilities. Telecommunicators are able to work from home or other locations with a setup that includes a FirstNet hotspot.
The Iowa Statewide Interoperable Communications System (ISICS) Board, led by Board Chair Tom Lampe, was formed in 2007 to create and manage the statewide land mobile radio system known as ISICS. Coupled with the buildout of FirstNet, ISICS has given first responders across Iowa’s 99 counties access to reliable, redundant communications. The LMR and LTE systems have played critical roles in day-to-day response as well as major incidents, including the 2020 derecho storms and a recent missing children’s case.
Harris County, Texas, was one of the early adopters of FirstNet. As the nation’s third most populous county, first responders in the area need to be prepared for any event. The Harris County Radio Services Organization operates the regional radio system for public safety in Harris County, and FirstNet is allowing them augment that radio system in remote areas and in times of heavy network congestion.
After the tragedies of September 11, 2001 highlighted fundamental issues within the nation’s first responder communications systems, the 9/11 Commission recommended creating a single, nationwide broadband network for public safety. The FirstNet Authority was created through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act to carry out that recommendation. Today, the FirstNet Authority is working to keep public safety connected during every emergency.
US Dept. of Commerce Awards $1 Million for R2 Network Challenge for Innovation in Disaster Response, Resiliency Tech
The FirstNet Authority joined U.S. Department of Commerce’s EDA and NIST in announcing the awardee of the Accelerate R2 Network Challenge. The R2 Network Challenge is an interagency program that connects stakeholders in the response and resilience (R2) industries, accelerating the speed at which startups and other organizations can bring innovations to the public safety market, create new businesses and jobs, and support community resilience.
When a violent tornado hit northeast Arkansas in March 2020, it caused major destruction to homes, businesses, and a shopping mall, mangling vehicles, damaging an airport, and derailing a train. Despite the wreckage, FirstNet kept first responders connected and communicating throughout the storm and its aftermath.
The Hamilton County Communications Center in Ohio is responsible for dispatch services for public safety agencies across the county. Access to FirstNet’s robust and reliable platform is helping tactical dispatchers at the center.
As technology rapidly evolves, more and more tools are becoming available to first responders. Over the past year, the FirstNet Authority has supported several innovation contests that encourage entrepreneurs, researchers, and public safety professionals to develop solutions to assist emergency responders. Brian Hobson, Director of the FirstNet Authority Enterprise Strategy Division, breaks down some of these contests and how the FirstNet Authority is helping drive innovation forward.