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.
Over the last decade, counties, states, and municipalities have invested heavily in modernization projects to support and improve operations for essential public safety services. Cities rely on system technicians, technologists, and other facility operators to keep digital and physical systems safe, reliable, and functioning. In turn, first responders can travel over well-maintained roads, use water supplies to extinguish fires, and access electrical grids without delay – contributing to better-run cities and safer communities nationwide.
Founded in 1896, the International Municipal Signal Association (IMSA) is the oldest association of its kind dedicated to the safe installation, operation, and maintenance of public safety systems. Since the PSAC’s inception in 2013, the IMSA has been an important public safety partner for the FirstNet Authority, representing over 8,800 members employed by government organizations and industry.
Building a comprehensive public safety network
FirstNet is built to serve the entire public safety community – including those important sectors keeping city services and operations running smoothly and efficiently. With this ‘whole of community’ approach in mind, IMSA has worked to ensure the network can serve those who support essential public safety services related to traffic controls, fire alarms, radio communications, roadway lighting, work zone traffic control, emergency medical services, and other related systems.
Paul Szoc represents IMSA on the PSAC, bringing over 30 years of public safety service perspective and experience to his role. In addition to his work for IMSA and the PSAC, he is the former Deputy Chief of the City of Keene Fire Department in New Hampshire and the retired Chief of the Southwestern New Hampshire District Fire Mutual Aid System.
“Safety and security have always been important to IMSA membership,” said Szoc. “As technology advances, an even greater responsibility is being placed on our members to maintain and protect the infrastructure public safety relies on in the wake of emergencies.”
The IMSA Perspective
IMSA brings a unique perspective to the PSAC, highlighting the many ways the public safety community relies on critical infrastructure systems and how municipal personnel who support public safety response can use FirstNet to communicate with first responders. By factoring the needs of this group into the emergency communications landscape, both large and small communities are benefiting from faster response times and improved public safety services on the FirstNet network.
“So many of our members specialize in keeping the infrastructure in our cities and towns operational – either before, during, or after incidents,” said Szoc. “When we are called on to support public safety, the ability to communicate with first responders is critical and can result in faster response and better outcomes overall.”
At the FirstNet Authority, our top priority is to ensure the continued growth and development of the network. To do so, we have engaged with users across the spectrum of public safety, including IMSA. Through his role on the PSAC, Szoc has brought forward the needs of IMSA members and aided in collaborative efforts between the FirstNet Authority, public safety entities at federal, state, and local levels, and the extended community of those who support public safety response.
Today, Szoc continues to represent IMSA by providing key input into the FirstNet Authority Roadmap, including the user experience technology domain, to improve users’ access and interaction with FirstNet. Through engagement with organizations like IMSA, the PSAC ensures the FirstNet network is designed to support all aspects of public safety’s critical communications needs.
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