John Hunt started with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) three years ago, but his support of public safety has been 34 years in the making.
FirstNet is a new nationwide broadband network dedicated to first responders. Designed with the advice of public safety professionals, FirstNet aims to give first responders 21st-century communications tools to help save lives, solve crimes, and keep communities and emergency responders safe.
Every summer, thousands of people travel to western Indiana for the Terre Haute airshow—a two-day event that features the Navy’s famous Blue Angels and other aircraft. While pilots spend months preparing to perform daring tricks in the air, public safety and state and local officials spend months preparing for the event on the ground. With several local, state, and federal first responders supporting the event, organizers for the 2018 event were looking for ways to enhance public safety communications.
Edward Parkinson describes how he joined the Western Fire Chiefs Association and public safety officials for a site visit to the burn area of the Camp Fire in northern California. This trip was an opportunity for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) to learn about the public safety response to the fires that devastated Paradise, California—a town of 27,000 residents in the foothills East of Chico—directly from those fire chiefs and other first responders who were on the ground during the wildfire.
The December 2018 quarterly Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) meetings in Sorrento, Italy, addressed standards in several areas relevant to mission-critical broadband in three separate plenary group meetings.
The age of FirstNet stands to deliver situational awareness and data for Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs), whether for emergency managers in rural or metro areas in the US. When police needed to search a 300-acre wooded property in rural Alabama, they used a mix of traditional police work and cutting-edge technology to try to find evidence that could provide a long-sought break in a missing persons case.
When the Life is Beautiful Music and Art Festival debuted in 2013, the home grown music festival catered mostly to residents in local and surrounding areas. Since that inaugural event six years ago, the three-day festival in September 2018 attracted 180,000 visitors from all 50 states and 24 countries to the roughly 18-block radius. Factor in that the City of Las Vegas also played host to the iHeart Radio Music Festival and a Presidential visit that week, and it is a testament to the months of advance planning and coordination by city planners and public safety officials alike to keep multiple large events running smoothly and without major incidents.
Brent Williams, guest host of the FirstNet Authority’s Public Safety First podcast, talks with Dr. Paul Zeeb, Medical Director for the Metropolitan Emergency Communications Consortium in Central Ohio, and Plain Township (OH) Assistant Fire Chief Jack Rupp. Both underscored that during emergency response, the ability to share data quickly during critical and routine incidents is imperative to ensuring patients receive the best quality care available.
The First Responder Network Authority team is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Board member Ed Reynolds on New Year’s Day. Ed was inducted into the Wireless Hall of Fame just a few months ago after an accomplished career in wireless technology spanning several decades.
First responders know all too well that emergencies and natural disasters can strike at any time. In 2018, communities across the nation were hit particularly hard – from Hurricanes Florence and Michael on the East Coast, to massive and destructive wildfires on the West Coast.