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The FirstNet Authority continuously works with public safety across the country to evolve the FirstNet network. One of the key capabilities that public safety requested during the planning phase of FirstNet was the ability to determine the Z-axis, or vertical axis, location of personnel. This service is now available in a growing number of areas on the FirstNet network for the nation’s first responders.

The Indiana County Emergency Management Agency in Pennsylvania is responsible for emergency management in the county and oversees emergency communication operations for the county’s public safety agencies. FirstNet provides personnel with connectivity in the most remote parts of the county, and the network enables advanced capabilities for first responders, such as remote training and enhanced location and mapping services.

Palm Beach County 9-1-1 in Florida answers roughly 10,000 calls per month, making reliable connectivity critical to serving the community. When the pandemic hit, this became even more important as call takers and dispatchers needed remote capabilities to stay safe. The agency is using FirstNet to keep staff connected through SIM cards in routers, on 9-1-1 busses, and in “go-bags” that enable remote capabilities.

Emergency management agencies are turning to the FirstNet Authority’s planning tools and support mechanisms — including an exercise inject catalog, event pre-planning program, and post incident/event review process — to help emergency managers and other public safety officials integrate broadband into their daily operations and emergency response. Through collaborative efforts with our team, responders across the nation are leveraging these offerings as part of their SMART approach to emergency management.

Members of the Mason County Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) in West Virginia often find themselves working in more remote parts of the county. Understanding the importance of remaining connected, DHSEM and other county agencies switched to FirstNet after extensive testing. The county’s public safety agencies are now using the network to improve patient care during longer hospital transports and to enhance communications at COVID-19 testing sites.