At the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority), our goal is to support public safety in operationalizing their network, FirstNet, and ensure it continues to evolve to meet public safety’s communications needs. As part of our engagement efforts, we spoke to several wildland firefighters and agencies about lessons learned of using public safety broadband for combatting wildfires. Here are their takeaways and key things to keep in mind when it comes to using FirstNet to support the frontlines.

Atmos Energy, headquartered in Texas, provides natural gas services across eight states. FirstNet is supporting Atmos Energy during daily operations and in the aftermath of major disasters, such as Hurricane Laura in 2020. The network keeps teams connected as they work to restore services and helps them better serve their communities.

Law enforcement agencies in Michigan are taking advantage of mission critical capabilities on FirstNet, such as priority and preemption. For the Grand Rapids Police Department and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, this means officers and deputies are able to communicate and have access to the tools they need in the field, ultimately helping them better serve their communities.

First responders rely on an extended community of support entities during major incidents, events, and disasters for clean-up, transportation, and other services. These entities are eligible to join FirstNet as Extended Primary users. During times of extreme network congestion, the FirstNet Uplift Request Tool can be used to provide temporary elevation for Extended Primary users to the same priority level as Primary users, ensuring they remain connected and able to communicate and coordinate response.

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority)  worked together with the public safety community to understand their critical communications needs. To make use of mobile broadband for daily operations and emergencies, first responders told us they needed the network to be available when and where they needed it most.The FirstNet fleet of deployables now consists of more than 100 assets available to FirstNet subscribers by request.