Made up of rolling hills, river valleys, and prairies, Iowa balances its agricultural roots with growing manufacturing, biotechnology, and finance sectors. As the state’s population increases, people are flocking to the state’s urban centers, including Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Iowa first responders support the state’s major planned events, including the Iowa State Fair, the Freedom Festival, and the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. They are also called on throughout the year as severe storms, tornados, and floods impact communities across the state.
The First Responder Network Authority team recognizes the unique communications challenges that Iowa first responders face. We have been working closely with Iowa public safety officials since 2014, capturing their feedback and translating it into the design of the FirstNet network. During the development of state deployment plans, our team worked hand-in-hand with Iowa leaders to ensure the plan was customized to address their needs, including:
- Bringing the state’s first responders the coverage they need at a competitive price
- Giving rural first responders accelerated access to broadband services
- Building upon Iowa's efforts to bolster public safety services with advanced technology
Following this close collaboration, Iowa chose to adopt the plan and “opt in” to FirstNet. Today, we continue to meet regularly with state and local officials to discuss their public safety broadband needs. In 2019 alone, our team met with Iowa public safety officials 20 times. Our engagements in Iowa included the Iowa State Fair, the Region VII FirstNet User Forum, and a Response and Restoration Exercise hosted by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security. Engagements like these are crucial to the ongoing success of the network and the advancement of public safety communications across the state and the nation.
Connect with our team of Public Safety Advisors to learn about FirstNet in your community.
FirstNet in Action in Iowa
- When Iowa needed a backup communications network for its public safety answering points, the state turned to FirstNet. Blake DeRouchey, 9-1-1 program manager for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, shared how Iowa uses FirstNet as a failover so 9-1-1 calls stay connected.
- 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.