This is the first in a series of blogs highlighting the associations of 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.
As the professional organization for the nation’s emergency management directors, the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) (www.nemaweb.org), provides a number of valuable resources to the emergency management community to improve preparedness and response, including training and best practices. NEMA also advocates for continuous improvement and innovation in emergency management to Congress, governors, and state and federal agencies.
Because communications is vital to emergency management, FirstNet welcomes NEMA’s contributions to the PSAC. NEMA’s representative to the PSAC, Dr. Jeff Stern, is the State Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and chairs the Virginia 9-1-1 Services Board. “Emergency managers play a critical role in ensuring that first responders are capable of integrated operations during disasters. Sharing that statewide perspective is critical,” says Stern about his role on the PSAC.
FirstNet has enjoyed a productive relationship with NEMA and the emergency management community. FirstNet CEO Mike Poth recently addressed NEMA’s 2016 Annual Forum in Chicago about how the deployment of the FirstNet network will lead to improved communications and coordination during emergencies, incidents, and other events. Poth also spoke last April to NEMA’s Preparedness Committee about FirstNet and how it can help emergency managers.
As we highlighted in the FirstNet blog, every September is “National Preparedness Month,” which emphasizes the importance of preparing for any type of emergency. Having an effective public safety communications system for our nation’s first responders and emergency management personnel is integral to national preparedness.