PSAC Profile: National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC)

April 27, 2017
FirstNet President TJ Kennedy engages with NPSTC on key Network developments.
FirstNet President TJ Kennedy engages with NPSTC on key Network developments.

This is the latest in a series of blogs highlighting FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC).  The PSAC consists of members representing associations and agencies from all disciplines of public safety, as well as state, territorial, tribal, and local governments, and provides guidance and recommendations to FirstNet in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. Its input is invaluable to the development of the FirstNet network.

A fireground commander needs a floorplan to know where chemicals are stored in a burning building but has no way to receive it in the field,  A police officer wants to transmit crucial information to dispatch but can’t get a signal on his device.  An EMS practitioner is administering life-saving treatment but can’t send patient data to a physician at the receiving hospital.  A 9-1-1 dispatcher has critical information for first responders in route to a scene but has no means to transmit it in a timely manner.  All of these public safety personnel have a common need: improved communications capabilities.

As shown in the above examples, there are many different types of public safety organizations that can benefit from the enhanced communications capabilities of the FirstNet network.  Each discipline has its own unique needs and interests.  The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) is a federation of organizations whose mission is to improve public safety communications and interoperability through collaborative leadership.[1]  NPSTC's members consist of fire, EMS, law enforcement, and other public safety telecommunications organizations.

NPSTC is represented on FirstNet’s PSAC by Chief Douglas Aiken. Chief Aiken has been involved in public safety for 38 years, in fire, EMS and Haz-Mat agencies and as an advocate for improved public safety communications.  NPSTC is a strong supporter of FirstNet and has provided both the PSAC and FirstNet with valuable advice during the planning of the FirstNet network.  In addition, PSAC members participate in several different NPSTC working groups—most recently joining the new Internet of Things working group. 

NPSTC works to identify important technical and policy issues that are critical to public safety telecommunications and provide a forum for public safety organizations to discuss and research emerging issues, including, for example, at its recent in-person meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada as part of the 2017 International Wireless Communications Expo .  NPSTC’s leadership continues to bring national attention to public safety telecommunications issues, and FirstNet is one of the key issues that NPSTC highlights on its website and in its work.  NPSTC provides regular FirstNet updates to its members through its blog, Facebook, and Twitter.  Most recently, NPSTC posted a blog about the Court of Federal Claims ruling in favor of FirstNet as a “positive development for FirstNet and the public safety community.”  NPSTC and its member organizations will continue to play a vital role in the implementation and evolution of the FirstNet network.

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