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FirstNet Authority staff pose with APCO sign from 2021 conference

Transforming the future of emergency communications: The FirstNet Authority at APCO 2022

August 2, 2022

For the third year, APCO has dedicated an entire track of their annual conference to FirstNet, themed “transforming the future of emergency communications.” The track has 12 sessions with diverse speakers who are experts on or users of FirstNet.

Featured sessions

Plugging It in: Where FirstNet Fits in the ECC

August 7 | 9-10 a.m. | John Hunt
The FirstNet Authority’s John Hunt will join Doug Campbell from the City of Alexandria Department of Emergency and Customer Communications in Virginia and Stephen Devine from AT&T’s FirstNet program to introduce the fundamentals of how FirstNet is being used in an emergency communications center.

Alexandria has been a pioneer in using FirstNet for advanced 9-1-1 operations. The session discusses how FirstNet goes beyond giving staff a smartphone. FirstNet can also support remote operations, including call processing, dispatching, and supervision. Some emergency communication centers are also using FirstNet to integrate LMR-to-LTE communications to connect traditional radios and broadband devices like smartphones.

Planning to Use FirstNet: From County Fairs to the Big Game

August 7 | 1-2 p.m. | Doug Harder
Planned events happen every day in every community across the country. The FirstNet Authority’s Doug Harder and FirstNet users will share how they plan successful events using public safety broadband, including Nicole Diedrick from the Phoenix Regional Dispatch Center in Arizona and Tim Dorsey from the Lake Ozark Fire Protection District in Missouri.

The Lake of the Ozarks hosts one of the most popular powerboat racing events in the nation, requiring input from many different public safety agencies. Wireless tools and technologies can help address the challenges of these types of events. Lake of the Ozarks previously devised a plan for reliable, interoperable event communications that involved a FirstNet deployable to boost connectivity and push-to-talk capabilities for real-time communications.

The Integrated Dispatcher: Effective Incorporation of Mission Critical Services into Daily Operations

August 8 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | Jen Harder
The FirstNet Authority’s Jen Harder is leading this session with FirstNet users Peter Rogers, Statewide Interoperability Coordinator for Tennessee, and Joe Duvall, Chief of the Dallas Police Department in Georgia.

The Dallas Police Department is one of the first in the nation to use FirstNet as their primary communications platform, dispatching 20,000 calls a year.  A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist for public safety communications, and this session covers different approaches to enhancing mission critical communications, depending on the agency’s needs.

Heart of the Matter: Considering Tech and Non-Tech Solutions to Our Most Pressing ECC Challenges

August 10 | 10-11 a.m. | Jen Harder
The challenges of today's emergency communications center are many: recruitment, retention, effectiveness, efficiency, morale, wellness ... the list goes on. Jen Harder is hosting a discussion about how advanced technology combined with old-fashioned humanity can address some of these challenges. The session focuses on ways to holistically improve how telecommunicators experience and enjoy their careers, how they can support their first responders in the field, and how they can develop resilience to better serve the public.

More sessions

Wildland Fire & Other All-Risk Incidents

August 7 | 10:30-11:30 a.m. | Kevin Nida
Planning for and providing voice and data communications during large scale emergencies and disasters is always a significant challenge. Hear use cases and best practices using FirstNet in response to large‐scale events such as wildfires, hurricanes, and all‐risk incidents, including this past year's wildfire and disaster responses.

America's Public Safety Network at 10 Years: A FirstNet Retrospective

August 7 | 2:30-3:30 p.m. | Lisa Casias, Jeremy Zollo, Jeff Cohen, Blake DeRouchey, Darrin Jones, Chris Lombard
In February 2012, Congress created the FirstNet Authority, a federal agency responsible for deploying, operating, and maintaining FirstNet, the nation's only public safety broadband network. Join a discussion about FirstNet over the past decade and learn how this network went from dream to reality for first responders, supporting millions of users across the country today.

Enabling Your Friendly Neighborhood Flat Foot

August 8 | 2-3 p.m. | Travis Hull
How much time, focus, and energy do telecommunicators expend running common data queries for responders? How can better devices, applications, and other technologies help automate routine data tasks to make interactions with first responders more efficient and more positive for all involved? This panel will discuss how to find the "right" balance using FirstNet.

Mission Critical Solutions — Oh How We Have Grown!

August 9 | 12:45-1:15 p.m. | Jennifer L. Harder, Kim Coleman Madsen, Randy Kerr, Charles Hardnett
Mission Critical Push‐To‐Talk (MCPTT), Mission Critical Data (MCData), and Mission Critical Video (MCVideo) all have impacts. This panel will provide an overview of the sudden growth of features, options, and how they are being incorporated into our daily emergency communication center (ECC) operations.

Drones Expanding Situational Awareness in the ECC

August 9 | 1:30-2:30 p.m. | Travis Hull
Imagery and data from airborne drones are no longer limited to on‐scene personnel. Learn how connectivity through applications and broadband devices provides additional situational awareness to ECCs giving them the ability to make timely informed decisions when dispatching teams.

How to Effectively Identify, Implement, and Utilize LMR to LTE Interoperable Talkgroups

August 9 | 3-4 p.m. | Kim Coleman Madsen
Two years ago, FirstNet Push-to-Talk was released and with it came the ability to use nationwide talkgroups. This panel will review the naming conventions and governance issues addressed by the SAFECOM/NCSWIC working group and look at use cases in successfully integrating this into your communications plan.

Tracking the Location of First Responders in the Field - Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond

August 10 | 8:30-9:30 a.m. | Randy Kerr
This session will provide a brief overview of the FirstNet location-based services that can be used for situational awareness and to track and visualize the locations of individual responders or other resources on a map. Hear how public safety agencies are using location-based services for first responders in the field and why they are so important in the ECC environment.

Trapped! Extracting Information Exchange from Mobile Apps for the ECC

August 10 | 2-3 p.m. | Anu Appaji
Most often information exchange is addressed in the context of CAD to CAD. This panel will examine the current technology ecosystem and what it will look like when information exchange is enabled between mobile applications and a range of systems and platforms, like from CAD to RMS to sensors and cameras.

Access to Critical Law Enforcement Datasets

August 10 | 3:30-4:30 p.m. | Charlotte Whitacre
Access to critical datasets is becoming increasingly more important for first responders. This session will focus on the current resources available to first responders and the efforts underway to bring the data public safety needs to first responders when they need it.        


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