This is the second 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.
Founded in 1975, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) is a national association representing all EMS practitioners and their unique professional interests. With over 50,000 members from all sectors of EMS, NAEMT promotes the important work of EMS practitioners, such as paramedics, EMTs, and other emergency response personnel, to federal and state government officials. In addition, the association advocates for increased funding for EMS services and adequate pay for EMS professionals, and it sponsors several educational programs for EMS practitioners.
An important piece of EMS practitioners’ jobs in the future will involve enhanced communications over the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). “In the 42 years I've been in this business, communications has always been a piece of the puzzle that we can never get right,” says Don Lundy, an EMS veteran and the PSAC representative for NAEMT. That is changing with FirstNet, Lundy states: “Without a doubt, I think this project is one of the most important, if not the most important, public safety projects in this century.” By representing NAEMT on the FirstNet PSAC, Lundy is ensuring that the needs of EMS practitioners are met by the FirstNet network.
A long-time supporter of the need for a public safety broadband network, he says the FirstNet PSAC is “one of those groups that really understands the mission because they listen to their users.” He says the PSAC “has always included members of the EMS community in [FirstNet’s] development and I think users will see this as it unfolds.” Lundy is a board member and the immediate past president of NAEMT and has over 42 years of EMS experience.
Lundy says EMS practitioners have a unique set of concerns and needs. “In EMS…the patient's life hangs in a balance - proper communications with the medical facility, the physicians and other medical staff is extremely important to ensure success,” he states. In particular, EMS has a demonstrated need for mobile broadband devices and applications to quickly send advanced diagnostic information and implement advanced treatment modalities. FirstNet will enable EMS practitioners to access and use the most up-to-date applications and connect with hospitals to provide faster and better treatment to patients in a pre-hospital setting.
“At the end of the day, I think EMS practitioners will be amazed at the efficiency and mission-focused drive of FirstNet and will see how much this system will help them in their communications needs,” says Lundy.