To free overwhelmed local hospitals focusing on patients with COVID-19, the Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy is docked at a port in Los Angeles to provide medical and surgical care to non-COVID-19 patients. This state-of-the-art hospital ship has 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms, digital radiology and CAT-scan capabilities and even a pharmacy. But when it arrived, it lacked one critical asset – connectivity.

That’s why we went into quick action to help ensure military, EMS, paramedics, nurses and physicians have the interoperable connectivity in and around this temporary hospital. Working across teams, we installed and activated a dedicated 1 gigabit land-to-ship circuit connection. Under normal circumstances, this is a task that would typically take 30+ days. But as public safety’s network partner, we were ready at the harbor as the ship docked. And within 24 hours the ship’s first responders had the critical communications capabilities they needed to achieve their heroic missions.

We also deployed a portable cell site nearby to further increase network capacity for the influx of first responders on FirstNet – the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. With public safety’s Band 14 spectrum on the harbor, FirstNet subscribers are protected against commercial traffic congestion, giving them dedicated access to their public safety network when needed. That’s unique in the industry and something public safety won’t get anywhere else.

Everything in the world right now is changing, and we are doing the same. But with FirstNet, law enforcement, fire and EMS agencies in disparate jurisdictions can now reliably communicate. Improving agency interoperability is a key element of the FirstNet framework, and we are fulfilling that vision. Our teams continue to work around the clock to help ensure first responders – city, state, tribal, federal and the extended community – stay connected. Serving public safety is our mission, and I’m proud to a part of the fight against this pandemic, steadfast in our commitment to stand by public safety’s side, day in and day out.