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Celebrating Our Nation’s First Responders

By Edward Parkinson, Chief Executive Officer, First Responder Network Authority

First responders face challenges every day with grit, determination, and selflessness. We are thankful for the work they do to protect our communities, especially as a global pandemic has added extra obstacles, restrictions, danger, and stress to their mission.

During this worldwide health crisis, natural disasters and emergencies continue to occur, yet public safety continues to persevere as they strive to keep our communities safe. Through everyday incidents and extraordinary circumstances, first responders are finding ways to meet their mission.

On this day, National First Responders Day, we take time to celebrate and honor the women and men of public safety.

Finding New Ways to Answer the Call

The pandemic has impacted how first responders carry out their daily operations. The public safety community has come together time and time again to find new ways to maintain continuity of operations, and FirstNet – the only nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety – has been there to support this innovation.

For example, Palm Beach County’s Public Safety Department in Florida is using FirstNet to support remote emergency communications center operations, allowing telecommunicators to continue to work safely from home. The Indiana County Emergency Management Agency in Pennsylvania is using the network for remote training opportunities to keep staff up to date on the latest skills. Many additional agencies are relying on FirstNet for connectivity at testing and vaccination sites.

Innovating to Enhance Operations

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) is an independent authority within the United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration that is tasked with overseeing the building, deployment, and operation of the FirstNet network. Our job is to support first responders, and we work hand-in-hand with public safety from every discipline to ensure their needs are being met as the network grows and evolves.

We are also seeking innovative ways to support first responders’ lifesaving mission and helping to ensure responders have the tools they need. Advanced mission-ready solutions like next generation mapping capabilities give public safety greater situational awareness. High powered user equipment maximizes coverage and helps responders stay connected in the field. A catalog of apps contains an array of tools for first responders, all of which have been reviewed and tested for public safety. And the FirstNet Authority offers dedicated pre-planning, after action, and training support to assist agencies in incorporating mobile broadband into their every day and emergency operations.

Expanding Coverage for Public Safety

Our country is made up of a diverse landscape. That unique terrain makes our nation beautiful, but it can pose communications challenges for first responders. FirstNet is a network designed to work for all first responders, including those who work in rural and tribal areas where coverage has traditionally been sparse.

The FirstNet Authority is dedicated to expanding broadband access where public safety has told us they need it most. FirstNet also offers innovative deployable solutions, like mobile and portable cell towers, to help enable temporary coverage in remote areas, after large disasters or to support large events. Technology can be a game changer for public safety operations, and we are working to ensure all first responders have access to tools that can make their jobs easier, more efficient, and safer.

Thank You, First Responders

At the FirstNet Authority, we are dedicated to supporting first responders as they save lives and protect our communities. Every day, we are incredibly grateful for the bravery first responders display. Today, on National First Responders Day, we honor public safety for everything they do for our nation.

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