FirstNet to the Rescue

January 12, 2017 at 8:00 AM

 

In today’s world, safety is a primary concern for many people. We go to great lengths to make sure that our families, homes and neighborhoods are safe and we depend on first responders to ensure public safety.  We assume that emergency personnel will have access to reliable wireless communication needed to contain and control an emergency situation. But what if the police, fire department or EMTs aren’t able to communicate with one another?

 

First responders depend on more than 10,000 separate, incompatible radio networks to communicate during emergency situations. This makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for responders from different jurisdictions or agencies to communicate and work together because they’re not on one network.  This also makes it increasingly dangerous for emergency workers going into a situation blindly. To remedy this, the FirstNet organization was created with the mission of building, operating and maintaining a Wi-Fi network to provide a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communications.

 

Created in 2012, the FirstNet organization is the only independent government authority with a directive to provide specialized communication services for public safety. The FirstNet network is the first high-speed, nationwide, wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. With this network, all emergency workers are able to use one interoperable LTE network devoted solely to keeping them connected. Steps are also being taken to ensure that emergency responders are able to remain in communication in rural areas where wireless signals can be weak or non-existent. FirstNet uses the 700 MHz spectrum available nationwide and aims to solve interoperability challenges and ensure uninterrupted communication to enhance the safety of communities and first responders.

 

In addition to the wireless network, FirstNet is creating devices and applications to deliver high-speed data, location information, images, and video that can save lives. It allows emergency personnel to remain in communication during large events when crowds of people can create dangerous situations and congest public networks. It also provides reliable communication during natural disasters when communication lines may be down and emergency services are needed most.

 

With the FirstNet organization continuously working on the development and improvement of wireless communication for public safety, we can all feel a little safer. For more information on FirstNet and how it is using wireless networks to improve public safety, visit http://www.firstnet.gov/.

 

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