With land stretching from the coastal areas of the Chesapeake Bay to the rural Appalachian Mountains, Virginia has a diverse landscape that provides different challenges for the state’s first responders. Communication is important for public safety agencies not only across the state, but throughout the region as agencies in northern Virginia regularly work with public safety agencies in both Maryland and the District of Columbia.  

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

  • Increasing coverage in rural areas and capacity in urban areas of the Commonwealth  
  • Coordinating with military and federal government users
  • Making deployable network assets available for natural disasters 

Following this close collaboration, Virginia became the first state in the nation 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 Virginia public safety officials 50 times. Our engagements in Virginia included the Central Virginia EMS Expo, a meeting with Chesterfield County public safety agencies, a Mission Critical Services Workshop in Fairfax County, and regular, ongoing meetings with Loudoun County public safety agencies. 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.  

We heavily use mobile data in order to be more efficient in delivering information to responders and to retrieve information independently from the communications center. FirstNet allows us to have that priority and preemption so that it is available to us all the time.


Stephen M. WilloughbyDirector and Chief, Richmond Department of Emergency Communications

FirstNet Authority
Public Safety Advisor
Lori Stone headshot