☷Driving Innovation for Disaster Planning Response and Recovery
U.S. Department of Commerce ( By Press Release office)
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Jeremy Zollo , Chief Market Engagement Officer , First Responder Network AuthorityThis summer , we expect yet another above - average Atlantic hurricane season , and the First Responder Network Authority ( FirstNet Authority ) remains committed to ensuring responders have the tools they need to face these storms . From support offered by the FirstNet Authority to ensuring the latest innovation in solutions from our network contractor AT&T , we are focused on advancing technology to make disaster planning , response , and recovery easier . Planning with PartnersCollaboration is key to facing disasters . Better outcomes happen when information is shared with all the stakeholders that are involved . At the FirstNet Authority , we offer two types of support that can help agencies work with partners to prepare for hurricanes . For pre - planning support , our staff work with agencies who are preparing for impending disasters . We help gather all the appropriate partners and discuss the scope of the event , locations where communications will be needed , and determine what broadband capabilities responders will use . This information is provided to AT&T , and they can create a tailored plan to meet the needs of that event . We also offer an exercise inject catalog with hundreds of injects and discussion questions related to common public safety broadband activities . These exercises allow agencies to practice different scenarios to identify the strengths and challenges before disasters hit . Just a few weeks ago , my colleagues were in Florida for the National Hurricane Conference . This annual event is an opportunity for the nation’s emergency managers and other responders to gather and learn about the latest in hurricane preparedness , response , recovery , and mitigation . We were honored to participate , meet with public safety personnel from across the country , and hear some of the challenges faced by responders today . This feedback is critical to ensuring the network continues to meet their needs . Dedicated Disaster Response and Recovery ToolsHurricanes can wreak havoc on communities quickly , damaging infrastructure and properties and risking lives . As public safety agencies begin response and recovery efforts , they need solutions that can keep up with them and work wherever they need to go . FirstNet subscribers have access to several public safety - centric innovations that are designed with this in mind – keeping responders connected and communicating . The Advanced Network Status Tool shows tower status and outages on the FirstNet network . This view can be checked after a storm hits to see where coverage is present and where sites may be compromised . This information allows decision makers to adapt operational plans during response and recovery . When public safety needs to communicate with non - traditional partners , such as public works and utilities , FirstNet subscribers can use the Uplift Request Tool to provide these Extended Primary users temporary elevation to the same priority level as Primary users . This ensures all entities remain connected and able to communicate to coordinate resources . When communications infrastructure is damaged or destroyed in a hurricane , FirstNet subscribers have access to a dedicated fleet of 150 deployables for on demand coverage . There are several asset options available to meet the needs of each event , including an aerostat , satellite cells on drones ( cells on wings ) , and satellite cells on light trucks ( SatCOLTs ) . The fleet also includes more than 50 Compact Rapid Deployables ( CRDs ) . These small , portable assets can be set up by a single person and are nimble enough to be transported over difficult terrain . The newly launched FirstNet Emergency Response Kit is packed with devices that agencies can hand out quickly after a hurricane hits . The kits hold more than 20 devices ( smartphones and MiFi devices ) that are ready to use when additional device support is needed . Hurricane response is a huge undertaking for public safety . Responders need reliable communications to keep everyone safe and support their communities . FirstNet subscribers can use their FirstNet - enabled devices for push - to - talk ( PTT ) capabilities , reserving radio channels for more critical conversations . There are two 3GPP Mission Critical standards - based options for PTT on FirstNet , with solutions for land mobile radio interoperability , PTT calling over Wi - Fi , and video streaming . After the Storm – Looking AheadAfter the storm , reviewing the successes and challenges of the event can provide invaluable information to first responders . This feedback can help prepare for the next disaster , highlighting what went well and what resources are still needed . At the FirstNet Authority , we offer a post - inquiry review program to examine how communications and technology were used during the event . Our staff facilitate discussions among all involved agencies to capture successes , challenges , best practices , and lessons learned . This is all captured in a report for participating agencies , the FirstNet Authority , and AT&T to help with future communications planning during disasters . Finally , the FirstNet Authority Emergency Management Guide is available to all agencies as a reference to the solutions available for FirstNet subscribers . This guide provides tips , tricks , and information on requesting deployables , using the Uplift Request Tool , and more . Check out FirstNet . gov/EMguide to download your copy . We continue to see more intense and damaging hurricanes affecting our communities . Public safety agencies work tirelessly to prepare for these incidents while carrying out their everyday duties and responding to incidents and emergencies . That’s why we are dedicated to ensuring public safety’s network is available to all responders with tools and innovative solutions that can make planning , response , and recovery easier and more efficient . Learn more about how the FirstNet Authority can help prepare for , respond to , and recover from hurricanes with FirstNet at FirstNet . gov . You can also connect with the public safety advisor in your area at FirstNet . gov/advisor . Bureaus and Offices First Responder Network Authority Tags Hurricanes Public Safety
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