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Meet the Expert: EMS Advisor Jon Olson sees FirstNet as key to innovative solutions in emergency care

Before joining the FirstNet Authority as the EMS subject matter expert, Jon Olson spent 31 years working in EMS in Raleigh, North Carolina. We recently sat down with Jon to discuss his perspective on how the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network has evolved from concept to solution and how FirstNet will help advance EMS operations into the future.


What emergency managers need to know about FirstNet and extended primary users

Every emergency manager knows a disaster calls for all hands on deck, including the extended community of responders who help public safety in emergencies. This extended community can include utilities, transportation, and other essential services. FirstNet is available to this extended community of responders when needed. And emergency managers should know how to prepare all response partners to communicate during a disaster.

FirstNet Authority Board member looks at the future of FirstNet

The FirstNet Authority’s law enforcement expert, Harry Markley, recently sat down with Sheriff Peter Koutoujian who leads the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office in Massachusetts. Sheriff Koutoujian was appointed in October by the Secretary of Commerce to serve on the FirstNet Authority Board. The discussion covered the sheriff’s approach to law enforcement, his views on FirstNet’s value, and what he hopes to accomplish on the Board.

FirstNet extended coverage brings critical connectivity to Tribal lands

Bringing broadband to Tribal responders has always been a priority for the FirstNet Authority. When Board members visited the Navajo Nation – which spans Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah – they learned how deployables and expanded coverage are bringing interoperability to the tribe’s emergency communications. FirstNet has played an important role during major events like the pandemic response and a visit from the First Lady of the United States.

Scoring a win with FirstNet Authority pre-planning support

First responders at any size event depend on reliable communication to ensure a successful and safe outcome. In preparation for the Super Bowl in 2022, Los Angeles area public safety agencies’ used the FirstNet Authority’s pre-planning event support to help maximize broadband capabilities. This free and unique service from the FirstNet Authority resulted in more timely and efficient decision-making, better coordinated responses, and well-managed resources and logistics.

Putting FirstNet to the test for remote 9-1-1 operations

One thing the 9-1-1 community learned from the pandemic was the need to plan for alternate ways to work. Rather than be tied to workstations at fixed locations, 9-1-1 telecommunicators need flexibility to remotely take, dispatch, and supervise calls. In December 2021, Maryland telecommunicators put FirstNet to the test, demonstrating the network’s connectivity and reliability during remote operations.

Testing FirstNet’s mission-critical tech in the real world

How do FirstNet’s Z-Axis and Push-To-Talk work in real-life scenarios? The FirstNet Authority partnered with the Major County Sheriffs of America to conduct a technology trial of these capabilities. By putting the technology into the hands of officers on the job, we can evaluate its real-world usability, discover any adjustments needed, and plan for future upgrades.

FirstNet Supports Continuity of Operations in Maryland

County government officials in Cecil County, Maryland, rely on FirstNet for communications during a crisis. The nationwide public safety broadband network ensures local government leaders are able to stay connected and maintain operations in both rural and urban areas of the county.

FirstNet at 10 Years: Coverage, Deployables, 5G

Coverage is king for public safety communications. Since its creation, the FirstNet Authority has focused on ensuring first responders have coverage and connectivity whenever and wherever they need it. Deployables, high power user equipment, and a focus on 5G are some of the new ways FirstNet subscribers can get coverage in hard-to-reach areas.


From the Command Center: Carroll County Commissioner Steve Wantz leads the way in public safety and service

After 30 years as a career and volunteer firefighter, Stephen Wantz understands the importance of clear communications. Now, as an elected official in Carroll County, Maryland, he uses his past experience to advocate for the tools and technology public safety needs to communicate.