This is the latest in a blog series highlighting the associations of the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority’s) Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). PSAC members represent associations and agencies from all public safety disciplines, as well as state, territorial, tribal, and local governments. Together, they provide guidance and recommendations to the FirstNet Authority in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. The PSAC’s input is invaluable to the development of FirstNet, the nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety.
In every state, county, and municipality, across all levels of government, dedicated men and women work to prepare for and respond to incidents to keep communities safe and aid in recovery. As part of the “whole of community” approach, public works officials are a critical component of preparedness and response, working alongside law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel to respond to emergency events.
During disaster and recovery efforts, public works agencies depend on interoperable communications to clear roads, restore power and electricity, and rebuild their communities. By design, FirstNet’s reliable, secure, and robust connection is available to the entire public safety community to ensure that all responding agencies – including public works – have the tools, services, and capabilities they need to fulfil their mission-critical work.
Public Works and FirstNet
To ensure that the network addresses the needs of all users, the FirstNet Authority PSAC features a diverse membership from all public safety disciplines and a wide variety of associations.
The American Public Works Association (APWA) has been a valued member of the PSAC since its inception, making sure that broad interoperability is built into the network. With over 30,000 active members, APWA serves as the leading organization representing municipal and county public agencies responsible for over 70% of the U.S. road systems and much of the nation’s other public infrastructure. APWA hosts educational events, offers accreditation programs, advocates the important work of its members, and represents public works agencies in front of local, state, and federal government entities.
Philip Mann — Public Works Director for the City of Gainesville (Florida) and former Chair of APWA’s Emergency Management Committee — represents APWA on the FirstNet Authority’s PSAC. APWA is committed to helping to develop the FirstNet network and is “dedicated to representing our association in ways never envisioned only a few years ago,” Mann said.
Enhancing Situational Awareness and Voice Communications for Public Works
During the development of the FirstNet Authority Roadmap, the FirstNet Authority relied on the PSAC for input and advice to develop priorities to guide the network’s evolution. On behalf of APWA and its members, Mann provided valuable insights and feedback into the inclusion of the Roadmap’s six technology domains, including the voice communications and situational awareness domains.
More than ever before public works agencies are relying on broadband for a reliable way to coordinate with public safety officials and communicate with public works teams in the field. They also are turning to broadband-based solutions to collect, analyze, and share data to improve the common operating picture and manage resources more efficiently.
“As technology evolves, broadband plays a growing role in public works operations. From GIS-based infrastructure maps to video inspections to emergency communications with traditional first responders, public works agencies have the need to utilize broadband and the FirstNet system. This provides for immediate dialogue regarding critical infrastructure amongst incident responders,” said Mann.
With APWA’s valuable input into the Roadmap and the FirstNet Authority’s priorities, the network will continue to enhance communications and operations for public works agencies.
To learn about the PSAC and how FirstNet is transforming public safety communications — contact your local FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest FirstNet Authority updates.
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