In 2020, first responders faced no shortage of emergencies — from responding to a global pandemic to battling a historic number of wildfires and hurricanes. Throughout it all, our nation’s responders fought tirelessly to protect their communities. But as the frequency and intensity of incidents continue to grow, first responders are increasingly turning to modern technologies to aid in response and operations.
To ensure first responders are prepared to use these technologies, emergency planners are beginning to integrate broadband into training and exercises.
Practice makes perfect
To aid public safety in this effort, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) developed the FirstNet Inject Catalog. This comprehensive searchable tool is designed to help emergency planners integrate broadband capabilities into discussion-based (tabletop) and operational (functional and full-scale) exercises.
Available to all public safety agencies at no cost, the FirstNet Inject Catalog offers more than 800 realistic situational injects and associated questions that will exercise your responders’ broadband capabilities and your agency’s related processes and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The catalog also offers broadband-based solutions to help planners easily integrate LTE communications into operations and maximize capabilities in routine and critical response.
Many public safety agencies will already be familiar with the FirstNet Inject Catalog format. The catalog was designed in the same easy-to-use Excel format as the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program. Emergency planners can search the catalog by:
- Injects type: discussion-based or operationally-based
- Task type: biometric, building searches, canine use, criminal history, damage assessment, DMV records, evacuations, hazmat information, local weather, mutual aid, patient treatment, search and rescue missions, traffic accidents, training, vehicle identification, volunteer management, water supply, wildfire, etc.
- Technology Type: computer-aided dispatch, database queries, devices/user equipment and support, field reporting systems, location tracking, mapping/Geospatial Information Systems, mass notification systems, medical triage and tracking systems, Next Generation 911/Text 911, sensors/Internet of Things, situational awareness, social media, video/video streaming, etc.
Incorporating FirstNet into Emergency Response Exercises
During the 2019 Central State Communications Exercise, the FirstNet Inject Catalog was incorporated into emergency response training and exercises held in Quapaw, Oklahoma. Throughout the three-day event, situational and discussion-based injects supported the exercise, which involved 242 participants from 88 local, state, tribal, and federal government response agencies in 23 states.
The exercise used the injects to demonstrate how broadband technologies could enhance operational communications throughout the central states’ region. With the help of the injects, incident communications professional had the opportunity to train on broadband-related technologies with their peers from local and regional agencies.
Expanding the FirstNet Inject Catalog
As new mobile broadband technologies continue to emerge, the FirstNet Authority is interested in hearing from public safety agencies on ways to expand and improve the FirstNet Inject Catalog. If your agency would like to contribute injects-based input on your specific communications needs or if you are interested in making the Inject Catalog a part of your planning and preparation training, please reach out to FirstNetExercises@FirstNet.gov for more information.
Learn more about how FirstNet is transforming public safety communications — contact your local FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor and sign up for our discipline newsletters. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest FirstNet Authority updates.
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