By Kyle S. Richardson, FirstNet Public Affairs
Iowa single point of contact (SPOC) Thomas T. Lampe is a career law enforcement officer who is currently the Interoperability Officer for the Iowa Department of Public Safety and Chairman of the Iowa Statewide Interoperability Communications System Board (ISICSB). He tells FirstNet that he’s using his extensive first responder background – including 27 years as a state patrol officer – and governance experience to coordinate and engage with the state’s public safety community to plan for the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) in Iowa.
Lampe says one of his top priorities as the SPOC is to establish the necessary structures and mechanisms to increase outreach and awareness about FirstNet throughout the state. This includes the creation of six regional interoperable committees, with more than 200 collective members, and the formation of a partnership between the ICICSB and Connect Iowa – which is a public-private partnership that works to increase high-speed Internet access, adoption, and use across the state. “The structure in place was a great way to get first responders involved, and make them feel a part of something special,” Lampe told FirstNet.
Lampe has set an ambitious goal of briefing every county in Iowa – all 99 – about FirstNet. To date, the Iowa team has completed briefings in 72 counties, with several more planned for 2015. The FirstNet consultation meeting held last November in Des Moines also helped increase outreach and awareness about the NPSBN. “We had great engagement from first responders who attended the meeting,” said Lampe.
He encourages other states and territories who are conducting consultation with FirstNet to keep their meetings engaging and laser focused on issues that really need to be discussed in advance of developing a state plan. “Many questions will come up early about LMR (land mobile radio),” says Lampe. “It’s important to keep the separation – FirstNet is not about replacing LMR. Mission critical voice is not going anywhere. What will change is the ability to supplement it with all the data capabilities that will likely be possible with FirstNet.”
Further, he says Connect Iowa has helped with outreach on the benefits of broadband access through interactive online tools, such as social media and regular blog postings. Broadband applications and “use cases” are also helpful in explaining the benefits of the NPSBN to the public safety community, according to Lampe, who highlights a mobile application that the Iowa State Patrol along with Sheriff’s Departments and EMS are testing.
The app - called Traumahawk - was developed by the Iowa Department of Transportation. It aims to connect first responder teams at the scene of an accident to trauma units in hospitals. Among the benefits, the app can help reduce notification time to a hospital – what many call “the golden hour,” to save lives. The app, designed to cut response time while providing first responders with additional life-saving capabilities, allows users to take quick photos of an incident scene with a users tablet or smartphone, and immediately send to the local hospital emergency room with additional information attached, such as anticipated injuries. It's an easy to navigate app and takes only minutes to use on the scene.
“I expect to see more and more apps for first responders,” Lampe says. “The demand for bandwidth is going through the roof. The more apps we see the more we’ll need increased bandwidth.”