FirstNet stands at the ready to be there to support public safety’s response and recovery to Hurricane Laura. Natural disasters are hard to predict, and with Hurricane Laura projected to make landfall as a Category 4 storm, preparation is key. Our focus is on serving as public safety’s network partner to help first responders stay connected and operate faster, safer and more effectively when lives are on the line. That’s why we’ll be with those on the front lines every step of the way during these challenging times.
Here’s 5 reasons why first responders can count on their network:
1. Always-on Priority and Preemption
FirstNet is public safety’s only platform that gives first responders always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data, with multiple priority levels that first responder users can allocate as needed. That means they have dedicated and reliable connectivity when and where they need it. So while some commercial carriers require first responders to punch in special codes before they dial to get priority service, first responders on FirstNet can feel confident their critical calls will always be prioritized – helping them get to the people who need them most quicker and more efficiently.
2. Dedicated Lane of Connectivity for First Responders
FirstNet provides public safety with a dedicated lane of connectivity when they need it. To ensure first responders have as much coverage and capacity as possible, FirstNet subscribers have access to all AT&T LTE commercial spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the U.S. government specifically for FirstNet. Band 14 is public safety’s VIP communications lane.
During an emergency, this spectrum band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on FirstNet will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connectivity during emergency response. Access to a dedicated spectrum band is unique in the industry and something public safety won’t get anywhere but on the FirstNet network.
3. Unprecedented Visibility into Their Network
Public safety agencies on FirstNet also have an unprecedented level of control over and visibility into the FirstNet network operational status and site conditions with FirstNet Central. Agencies can access maps of local coverage and site conditions, overlaid with external data, for near real-time insight into their network.
4. Dedicated FirstNet Fleet of Portable Assets
With a dedicated fleet of more than 76 deployable network assets – available at no additional charge – we’re providing fire, EMS, law enforcement and more with unthrottled access to connectivity when and where they need it, including in the immediate aftermath of a storm when commercial power and other infrastructure may be disrupted.
There are more than 72 SatCOLTs and COWs in the fleet, as well as 3 Flying COWs™ and 1 aerostat in the fleet. These assets provide first responders with similar capabilities and connectivity as a cell tower. And the FirstNet One aerostat brings a first-of-its-kind public safety communications solution to help keep responders connected during large-scale, catastrophic events. That’s why we’ve placed FirstNet One on standby to support the first responders in Texas and Louisiana if needed. No other wireless network provider has deployable network assets dedicated solely and exclusively to public safety, backed by the oversight of the FirstNet Authority, to help ensure public safety’s needs are met.
5. Unparalleled Mission Support
Unique in the industry, our FirstNet Response Operations Group – led by a team of former first responders – guides the deployment of the dedicated FirstNet fleet. This is based on the needs of public safety in alignment with Homeland Security’s National Incident Management System (NIMS) and FEMA National Response Framework (NRF) with a focus on life safety, incident stabilization and property conservation. With an intimate understanding of the public safety mission, this team is dedicated to working around the clock, 24x7x365, to support public safety’s emergency communications needs. And right now, the team has FirstNet liaisons embedded within each state Emergency Operations Center to deploy assets for Hurricane Laura.
As with every hurricane season, the need to be prepared is critically important this year. Connectivity is vital before, during and after any event. That’s why we’ve pre-staged assets to support Hurricane Laura response efforts and remain vigilant for the storm’s impact. We are experienced; constantly improving the process and ready to respond for FirstNet subscribers at a moment’s notice.
FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built specifically for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. And we have a responsibility to help ensure first responders, emergency management, medical professionals and those who support public safety can be confident in their critical communications capabilities.
We’ll continue to stand by the men and women who put their lives on the line, day in and day out, to protect and support our communities. That’s what it means to be public safety’s partner.
FirstNet® and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks and service marks of the First Responder Network Authority. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.