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Ohio’s ties to public safety technology run deep. In 1865, the nation’s first ambulance service began serving a Cincinnati hospital. Then, in 1899, Akron became the first city to use a motorized police car to patrol its streets. With FirstNet, Ohio’s first responders can serve all of the Buckeye State’s 11.6 million residents seamlessly, communicating from the Ohio River and Appalachian Mountains in the south to Lake Erie in the north, as well as along the borders of Ohio’s five neighboring states.

The First Responder Network Authority team recognizes the unique communications challenges that Ohio first responders face. We have been working closely with Ohio public safety officials since 2014, capturing their feedback and translating it into the design of the FirstNet network. During the development of state deployment plans, our team worked hand-in-hand with Ohio leaders to ensure the plan was customized to address their needs.

Following this close collaboration, Ohio chose to adopt the plan and “opt in” to FirstNet. Today, we continue to meet regularly with state and local officials to discuss their public safety broadband needs. In 2019 alone, our team met with Ohio public safety officials more than 35 times. Our engagements in Ohio included participating in the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association Annual Conference, briefing the Buckeye Sheriffs Association, and participating in a mass casualty exercise run by the Greater Cincinnati Disaster Preparedness Coalition. Engagements like these are crucial to the ongoing success of the network and the advancement of public safety communications across the state and the nation.

Connect with our team of Public Safety Advisors to learn about FirstNet in your community.

Ohio's FirstNet Authority Public Safety Advisor

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We made the decision to change our vehicles over to FirstNet, and it’s been a positive decision because it’s saved us money and it’s been reliable.

Assistant Chief Jack Rupp
Plain Township Fire Department

FirstNet in Action in Ohio

  • One thing the 9-1-1 community learned from the pandemic was the need to plan for alternate ways to work. Rather than be tied to workstations at fixed locations, 9-1-1 telecommunicators need flexibility to remotely take, dispatch, and supervise calls. 9-1-1 leaders looked to technology for a solution. Through FirstNet, the nationwide public-safety broadband network, first responders had access to a secure, reliable connection outside of the ECC. 
  • When Otterbein University in Ohio played host to the 2019 Democratic presidential debate, thousands flocked to the City of Westerville to attend. During the event, the Westerville Police Department used FirstNet and drones to capture live, high-definition video and relay it to the emergency operations center, improving situational awareness and decision making.
  • The Hamilton County Communications Center in Ohio is responsible for dispatch services for public safety agencies across the county. Access to FirstNet’s robust and reliable platform is helping tactical dispatchers at the center.
  • On Memorial Day 2019, nearly 55 tornadoes touched down in eight states across the country. Ohio saw some of the worst damage, including an EF3 tornado that tore through Beavercreek Township. The Beavercreek Township Fire Department used FirstNet to assist with damage assessment efforts.