FirstNet and Emergency Medical Services

FEATURED ARTICLE

The FirstNet Network: The Driving Force Behind Technology Use and Implementation for EMS

When EMS agencies consider implementing advanced technologies to augment services in their communities, the reasons behind these decisions often run the gamut for rural and urban areas across the county. For both smaller towns and larger cities, many decisions to install or upgrade technologies for EMS use includes such benefits as: improved patient care, faster response times, cost savings, staff recruitment and retainment, etc. Whether the decision to adopt technology was based on one or many reasons, the reality is that with the adoption of technology for EMS use, many more benefits are realized than what was original anticipated or expected.

As these benefits become more fully recognized and relied upon, the need for even greater access and more reliable networks will also be in demand for EMS and other emergency first responders. With each passing month, my EMS colleagues across the nation are continuously reaping increased benefits from using technology to exchange real-time audio and video feeds with hospitals and physicians, furnish “smart” ambulances with portable ultrasound and CT imaging, utilize drone technology to gage incident severity, and support mobile health integration programs in rural or remote areas.

Most recently, we’ve seen an uptick in the implementation of advanced mobile technology by EMS agencies across the country. FirstNet’s mission-critical broadband capabilities will make it possible for more EMS agencies to utilize mobile stroke units that transport a wide range of technologies to stroke patients. These units often include CT scanners to x-ray brain images and tools to administer anti-clotting medicines, early fluids or blood-dye to predict stoke-type resulting in wide-ranging benefits including, a reduction of hospital visits, quicker access to care, better decision-making that ultimately saves more lives.

A make shift work table with the tools of a carpenter, and a tablet
EMS personnel uses tablet to send pictures or video images to emergency room physicians or radiologists.

As medical technology continues to evolve, portable devices such as mobile ultrasound are becoming more ubiquitous in emergency response settings as the technology becomes easier to operate and more affordable and portable. FirstNet’s robust and reliable network will also make the use of hand-held ultra sound and other devices more feasible by deploying enough network capacity to maintain signal strength that support these mobile technologies in the field.
In rural settings, EMS use of mobile ultrasound often has the largest impact on trauma patients who gain increased access to advanced technologies and a higher level of quality care that is typically not available in outlying areas. Mobile ultrasound makes it possible for EMS personnel to send pictures or video as imaging guidance to emergency room physicians or radiologists when in route to the hospital or to be used during procedures.

That’s why as FirstNet gears up for the next stage of network deployment, it’s important to recognize how the FirstNet promise to guarantee reliable access, extended coverage, priority and preemption on its networks will be advantageous for today’s, as well as tomorrow’s technology. The FirstNet network will make it possible for EMS agencies across the country to continue their use of and reliance upon life-saving tools to help EMS and other emergency first responders nationwide save lives and protect their communities.

Learn more at FirstNet.gov or call 571-665-6100.
Want to get involved?  Contact Brent Williams, Senior EMS Advisor, can be reached at brent.williams@firstnet.gov or 202-794-4372



When you respond to a call, information is an invaluable tool. From running a license plate to identifying where other officers are located, knowing as much as you can before you go in will improve safety and outcomes. But congestion on commercial wireless networks during a large event or emergency or a remote response location can limit your access to a data network  and the vital information you need. That’s where FirstNet can help.

Wether responding to a multi-agency incident or simply sharing data between officers in your own department, FirstNet will provide law enforcement and other public safety disciplines priority network access and improved cover age. Additionally, the FirstNet network can better enable you to:

  • Use new audio reporting tools in the field that will help you be more efficient

  • ƒAccess photos and real-time audio/video feeds

  • ƒImprove your situational awareness with mapping and asset tracking tools

Through a robust consultation effort with states, territories, tribes, public safety associations, first responders, and its Public Safety Advisory Committee, FirstNet has turned to law enforcement as a guiding force in network planning to help ensure the network meets your needs.

The launch of the network will provide mission critical, high speed data services and non-mission-critical voice to augment the capabilities of today’s Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems.

Volunteer law enforcement officers are an integral part of today’s police operations. FirstNet plans to develop and implement policies and plans for individuals who want to transition to the FirstNet network.

Mission critical applications
  • ƒCAD
  • ƒGIS
  • ƒWeather/traffic
  • ƒVideo sharing
  • ƒSite logging
  • ƒEmergency guides
  • ƒEquipment calculators
  • ƒSecure browser
Administrative applications
  • Email/text/calendar
  • Office tools (PDF, Word)
  • ƒRecords management
  • ƒReporting
  • ƒDatabase access
  • ƒMedical references
Secure connectivity
  • ƒStrong user authentication
  • ƒApplication VPN
  • ƒSecure mobile gateway
Device management
  • Device authentication
  • MDM policy controls
  • ƒContainerization and encryption
  • ƒDevice lock and data swipe




“Our Association has stayed on top of FirstNet because it will change how EMS is practiced in the near future. At conferences, it amazes me how few EMS people have known about it. In the panel, we hosted at EMS Today, however, I was equally amazed that every hand went up in a large audience indicating a knowledge of FirstNet."

Dia Gainorr

Dia Gainor
Executive Director of the National Association of State EMS Officials

How Fire Agencies can Prepare for FirstNet

FirstNet and Fire Services Factsheet

“Coverage and prioritization is a big thing because at big events, everybody is tying up the network, but the accessibility will improve that in the rural environment. I see FirstNet as a legacy, because they need it and they need the tools.”

Sheriff Richard W. Stanek, Sheriff, Hennepin County, Minnesota, FirstNet Board Member

Melvin Musulin
Assistant Director for Pennsylvania’s Valley Ambulance Authority
Member of Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council

FirstNet: Connecting EMS To Improve On Scene Triage, Patient Care, and Responder Safety

NASEMSO Rep: EMS Likely to be One of the Largest Users of the FirstNet network

FirstNet’s Legacy Will Be Rural America, EMT Leader says

Kasey Beal, Mesa Fire Deputy Chief on Public Safety Mobile Data Use

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