First Responder Network Authority Northeast Director, Mike Varney, spoke with Deputy Chief Travis Hollis of the Rogers, AZ, Fire Department about why a city in "Tornado Alley" decided to transition to FirstNet:
"We were deployed to the Joplin tornado in May 2011," Hollis said. "One of the first things that became clear to us was that we had no communication to the outside. Everything we had was reduced to paper. We had all this technology, but it was useless because the network was taken out. Being in tornado alley, [FirstNet] is something we need to migrate towards."
After 4 months as a FirstNet subscriber Hollis says, "FirstNet really stepped it up. We have a steady connection when we need it. FirstNet makes it as simple as changing out a sim card. In a matter of two minutes you're up and going as a user. It's rather seamless."
"I see endless possibilities of the 'Internet of Things.' I see a day when your wearable knows that you're having a medical emergency and it sends a signal to the dispatch center. The next thing you know, an ambulance or fire truck is rolling to your house and knocking on your door saying 'You're having a dysrhythmia. Is it ok if we check you out?'"
Broadband Reliabilty Built-In
As fire service personnel, having the right tools improves response. You and your department rely on mobile applications to provide computer aided dispatching, mapping tools, patient care reporting, and hazardous materials information. But during emergencies or large events, congestion on commercial networks can make your vital data sources unreachable or unreliable.
Whether sending images of wildfires or downloading building plans, FirstNet will provide fire personnel with improved network coverage and true priority. The FirstNet network will also enable you to:
Share images and video, or access weather and traffic data for a clearer operational picture as incidents unfold
Quickly and reliably connect to other agencies and jurisdictions as an emergency unfolds
Track assets and personnel
Take the network along to remote locations
Use mapping applications that share lookout positions, escape routes, safety zones, and water sources
Through a robust consultation effort with states, territories, tribes, public safety associations, first responders, and its Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), FirstNet has turned to law enforcement as a guiding force in network planning to help ensure the network meets your needs
Complementing Radio Waves
The launch of the network will provide mission critical, high-speed data services and non-mission-critical voice to augment the capabilities of today's Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems.
Bring Your Own Device
Many firefighters depend on their personal mobile devices on the job. FirstNet plans to develop and implement policies and plans for individuals who want to transition to the FirstNet network.