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When disaster strikes, most emergency managers and public safety officials rely on pen and paper to conduct damage assessments. The process involves slow, manual data entry and can delay disaster aid for weeks. In Cherokee County, Alabama, emergency management personnel are using FirstNet devices to collect and upload damage assessment information in real time so that communities can get the help and resources they need faster.
When sudden, intense rainfall caused flash flooding and washed out roads in Washington County, Maine, the county’s emergency management director was stranded in town and unable to physically reach the emergency operations center. FirstNet enabled her to remain connected to her staff and other officials to coordinate their response remotely.
Teton County is a rural county in northwest Wyoming. Situated in the Teton Range, the county experiences weather hazards including fires, floods, and wintery conditions, as well as earthquakes, landslides, and avalanches. Teton County first responders rely on FirstNet’s hardened network to stay connected in the most remote parts of the county and during tourist season when cell networks grow congested.
Atmos Energy, headquartered in Texas, provides natural gas services across eight states. FirstNet is supporting Atmos Energy during daily operations and in the aftermath of major disasters, such as Hurricane Laura in 2020. The network keeps teams connected as they work to restore services and helps them better serve their communities.
Traditionally, emergency telecommunicators have been limited to operating within the walls of an emergency communications center. As technology evolves, dispatch operations are moving to the field to support first responders and remotely to keep telecommunicators safe. FirstNet provides a secure, reliable network for these operations, and priority and preemption on the network ensures telecommunicators can access all the information they need, when and where they need it most.
The Cameron Peak Fire was the largest wildland fire in Colorado’s history. Don Patterson, a firefighter and communications expert, deployed to the fire knowing that broadband communications would play a huge role, particularly with the threat of COVID-19. Deployables and other advanced technologies helped everyone communicate — from incident command at the base camp to frontline firefighters.
At over 200,000 acres, the Cameron Peak Fire is the largest wildland fire in Colorado history. As it burned in remote parts of the Rocky Mountains, FirstNet deployables, phones, and hotspots kept firefighters connected to the apps and tools they needed for situational awareness. With this added capability, responders received up-to-the-minute information that aided them in making informed decisions on the ground.
After testing Band 14 capabilities at the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships, public safety agencies in Eagle County, Colorado, began adopting FirstNet. Priority, preemption, coverage, and capacity have benefited first responders in the area while responding to events such as major fires and large concerts.
Public safety K9s can be trained for a wide range of services, from search and rescue to bomb and drug detection. These dogs work across urban, rural, wilderness, and disaster settings, and can sometimes end up a mile away from their handler. As technology advances, handlers are exploring ways technology – such as trackers and live-streaming cameras – can enhance K9 operations, keep dogs and handlers safe, and improve situational awareness and mission success.
As broadband becomes more prevalent in public safety communications, the FirstNet Authority offers the After Action Review (AAR) program — a free service available to any FirstNet subscribing agency to capture best practices and lessons learned related to event planning, logistics, operations, and technology use. The AAR program has made a positive impact on communications usage at events such as the New York International Air Show.