This is the latest in a blog series highlighting the associations of the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet Authority) 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.
An important aspect of emergency communications is ensuring agencies can talk to each other across public safety disciplines. Coordinated communications help first responders and public safety officials to alert other agencies and jurisdictions to immediate risks or hazards. It also aids in informed decision making and helps maximize safety resources.
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, SAFECOM was formed with a focus on emergency communications. SAFECOM works to improve emergency response providers’ inter-jurisdictional and interdisciplinary emergency communications interoperability across local, regional, tribal, state, territorial, and international borders, as well as with federal government entities. Since its establishment, SAFECOM has operated under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a public safety communications program.
Improving emergency communications for public safety
SAFECOM has served as a member of the FirstNet Authority’s PSAC since 2013. With more than 60 members representing state, local, and tribal governments, as well as public safety associations, SAFECOM provides input to the PSAC on the needs, challenges, and best practices surrounding emergency communications planning.
Strong leadership and good governance are critical components of successful interoperable emergency communications. With a strong governance framework in place, public safety entities can effectively partner across all levels of government and disciplines to ensure the right information gets to the right people at all times. SAFECOM develops good governance practices to help guide state, local, and tribal governance groups on technology implementation, cybersecurity, usage, and broadband coverage needs.
SAFECOM’s PSAC representative is Gerald Reardon, (Ret.) Fire Chief for the City of Cambridge (Massachusetts) Fire Department. Appointed to the PSAC Executive Committee, Reardon is a long-time member of SAFECOM currently serving as its Chair. Throughout his career, Reardon has been affiliated with several other public safety organizations and supported a wide range of important public safety initiatives.
“Many of the members and the associations of SAFECOM worked diligently outside of SAFECOM to help create a nationwide public safety broadband network. The result was FirstNet, a network designed for our nation’s first responders,” said Reardon.
Today, SAFECOM continues to work closely with state, local, and tribal governance groups on guidance and planning for emergency communications. By representing a broad base of the public safety community, Reardon provides input to the PSAC on best practices for coordinating emergency communications and the need to continue to advance technologies and processes for coordinated communications systems.
To find out more about SAFECOM and its efforts to improve community excellence, visit www.cisa.gov/safecom.
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