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Meet the FirstNet Team: Adding Technical Expertise, Experience to State Plans Staff

Monday, September 22, 2014

Brian Hobson and Douglas Harder are relatively new to FirstNet, but they are no strangers to public safety communications. Both of them recently joined FirstNet as Electronics Engineers after supporting the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications technical assistance program. The two engineers, who also previously worked on tactical communications systems with the U.S. Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering Services Command (NATEC), are now working for State Plans Director Rich Reed.

Outreach to the States, PSAC, and Public Safety Associations

Friday, September 19, 2014

The FirstNet user advocacy team followed up Wednesday’s Board meeting with a number of updates to the public safety community on key actions taken by the Board, as well as next steps in the state plan consultation process. Our outreach activities this week included a conference call with the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and the states’ single points of contact (SPOCs), and meetings with the PSAC Executive Committee.

On the Road: Missouri Communications Conference

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The FirstNet outreach team was pleased to participate in the Missouri Communications Conference this week in Lake Ozark, MO. This year’s conference is a combined event hosted by the Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Missouri APCO. By merging their respective communication conferences into one statewide event, the DPS and Missouri APCO brought together hundreds of emergency response personnel from the state’s 911 community, first responder disciplines (fire, EMS, law enforcement), and Emergency Operations Centers to discuss key developments impacting the use of communications during emergencies.

NIST Vetting Guide Helps in Testing Mobile Apps to Learn What They Really Do

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cross-posted from While many mobile device apps such as a calendar or collaboration tools are very handy and can improve productivity, they can also introduce vulnerabilities that can put sensitive data and network resources at risk. The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) is preparing recommendations for organizations to help them leverage the benefits of mobile apps while managing their risks. The authors are asking for public comments on a draft of Technical Considerations for Vetting 3rd Party Mobile Applications* by September 18, 2014.

FirstNet Expands Social and Multimedia Outreach with New YouTube Channel

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

By: Bernetta Reese, Web and New Media Manager (Acting)
FirstNet is pleased to announce new additions to its social and multimedia presence with the launch of an official YouTube channel and a Multimedia section on Our new social media channel and website page contain videos that tell the history of FirstNet and focus on how a nationwide public safety broadband network will enhance communications and coordination for public safety disciplines.

Virginia County Hosts Industry “Challenge” for Public Safety Innovation

Monday, September 8, 2014

Several technology companies from around the country participated in a recent Loudoun County (Va.) event that challenged them to create innovative hardware and software solutions for first responders. Called the 2014 Loudoun Challenge, the event was organized and sponsored by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, and the county's Department of Economic Development, and the Innovative Solutions Consortium (ISC), which is a non-profit organization made up of technology firms.

APCO Aims to Increase Public Safety Participation in App Development

Friday, September 5, 2014

Mark Reddish, who is the Government Relations Associate at APCO, has been a firefighter and EMT for six years. His on-the-job experience is valuable when advocating for the public safety community on policy and regulatory matters. It’s also a huge plus when it comes to the development of mobile applications for public safety, which is something that APCO has been active on as smartphones and other broadband-enabled devices are used more during response operations.

Crowdsourcing App That Tracks Coastal Changes from Storms

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cross-posted from the blog. With Hurricane season in full swing, FirstNet is reposting this U.S. Geological Survey feature on a crowdsourcing application called “iCoast – Did The Coast Change?” that shows coastal changes from extreme storms. Among the many benefits, iCoast is being used to better inform emergency managers, planners, and residents of coastal vulnerabilities in their regions.

State Spotlight: Q&A with Arizona FirstNet Program Manager Michael Britt

Friday, August 29, 2014

Michael Britt brings more than two decades of Information Technology experience to his job as the Arizona FirstNet Program Manager. In the latest State Spotlight feature, Michael talks to FirstNet about how his background working for a national overnight express company – which relied on an interoperable nationwide system – is helping him prepare Arizona for the nationwide public safety broadband network. He also talks about his approach to conducting statewide outreach and education about FirstNet.

On the Road: State Technology Directors Conference in Idaho

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

By Brian Hobson, FirstNet State Plans Technical Lead
Information sharing and partnering were the main topics of discussion on the FirstNet panel at yesterday's National Association of State Technology Directors (NASTD) Annual Conference & Technology Showcase in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The panel included technology and public safety officials from Texas, New Mexico, and Maine discussing their states’ outreach efforts and key considerations for the public safety broadband network. The panel was moderated by Charile Sasser, who is a senior officer for the state of Georgia and serves as NASTD's representative to the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC).


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