On October 28, the country recognizes National First Responders Day – a day to celebrate and honor the women and men of the public safety community. As public safety’s communications partner, we’re committed to Be There for this vital community. And we’re doing this in numerous ways:

Supporting Responder Health and Wellness.

Not many people can understand or empathize with the things first responders encounter during an emergency or even on a daily basis. Public safety service does not come without personal sacrifice and burdens – both of which can be difficult to talk about. But they protect us. They save our lives. And then they go home and they’re just someone’s daughter or dad. That’s why we created the FirstNet® Health & Wellness Coalition to guide how we support holistic first responder health and wellness.

The foundation of the Coalition is what brought public safety the “ROG the Dog” animal-assisted therapy initiative. Studies have shown that interacting with animals can improve coping and recovery, enhance morale, decrease stress, and reduce the effects of PTSD and emotional distress.1 And since launching ROG the Dog, more than 2,500 first responders in the field have interacted with their furry friends – from wildfires out West to 24/7 emergency operations centers.

In fact, it's estimated 20-25% of all first responders experience post-traumatic stress.2 We’ve collaborated with Boulder Crest Foundation and their First Responder Initiative in Miami, Florida and Tucson, Arizona to develop and deliver transformative post-traumatic growth-based training programs designed to enhance the wellbeing of first responders. We’re also working closely with O2X Human Performance to support the health, wellness and human performance of first responders. This program brings health, wellness and resilience training workshops to first responders and will be held in 5 cities across Florida, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona and Ohio.

And we collaborate with All Clear Foundation (ACF) to help increase the accessibility of education, resources and support that will aid first responders who may be struggling with health and wellness challenges brought on by the unique stressors of their jobs. FirstNet subscribers can access ResponderRel8, ACF’s peer-to-peer chat app that enables first responders to connect, celebrate and commiserate with peers anonymously. The ResponderRel8 app is currently available for download via FirstNet Central and so far, more than 3,500 FirstNet subscribers are taking advantage of its benefits.

We’re also supporting Blue H.E.L.P. and First H.E.L.P. an organization committed to addressing suicide prevention in public safety and supporting the families of first responders who lost their life to suicide. The causes of suicide are complex, but for first responders, contributing factors range from the difficulty of working doctor’s visits into unpredictable work schedules to a culture that too often views reaching out for help as a sign of weakness. If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, any mental health or substance abuse crisis, dial 9-8-8 on your AT&T or FirstNet cell phone to speak with a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline crisis counselor. Americans can also use the Lifeline’s toll-free number, 800-273-TALK (8255), or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information and resources.

If we don’t take care of the people taking care of us and respond to the most critical challenges facing them, their missions won’t be as effective. Just as FirstNet is built with and for first responders, we want to be there to support the health and well-being of those who serve their communities every day.

Helping Preserve First Responder History and Knowledge.

FirstNet, public safety’s network, was born following the tragedies on 9/11, where 343 members of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) lost their lives – among the highest-ranking was First Deputy Fire Commissioner William Feehan. The FDNY is the largest municipal fire department in the country, and the 2nd largest in the world. They are leaders within the fire community and custodians to a wealth of knowledge for the industry.

The George F. Mand Library houses the department’s researchable history, and has been noted for its reference capabilities to scholars and fire departments around the world. With an aging collection of books, film, photos and reference materials dating back to the mid-1800’s, efforts to digitize and archive this collection are critical to preserving the rich history of the department’s evolution to modern day firefighting.

Now, Chief: The Story of William Feehan & the FDNY is available to stream to all. And viewers like you can make a donation to support the Mand Library’s digitization and modernization initiatives. This knowledge must not be lost to time, and we continue to Be There to support the fire community with the critical tools and education capabilities they require for their missions.

Delivering Unparalleled Critical Connections, Affordably.

We have a responsibility to the first responder community unlike any other wireless carrier. We create connections. And no connection is more important than one that serves our first responders. That’s why FirstNet is bringing public safety the innovative, mission-focused tools, technologies and features they can’t get anywhere else.

With these unparalleled capabilities, many might assume FirstNet comes at a high cost. But FirstNet is designed for every first responder in the country – career or volunteer; federal, state, local or tribal; and urban, suburban or rural. And that means giving them the mission-ready capabilities they need with the affordability they require.

But affordability does not end with the first responder. They are essential at work. They are essential at home. First responders can see significant savings for their household by combining the affordability of FirstNet with the cost savings for their family members on AT&T. To show our appreciation, their families get 25% off AT&T unlimited wireless plans.3 Taking advantage of these savings is easy: First responders can learn more and sign up online by visiting our website or one of our more than 5,000 AT&T retail stores across the country.

First responders do whatever is necessary to help the person that called them. On this year’s National First Responders Day, give thanks to the first responder in your life or servicing your community by sharing your appreciation across your social channels with #NationalFirstRespondersDay. And visit go.att.com/honoringresponders to learn more about how we continue to Be There for this vital community year-round.

1 Tedeschi, P. and Jenkins, M. (2019). Transforming Trauma: Resilience and Healing through our connections with animals.  Purdue University Press.


3 Req’s AT&T Unlimited. Includes 25% wireless disc. Req’s AutoPay and paperless bill. Taxes and fees extra. Req’s proof of eligibility. Credit(s) w/in 3 bills. Credit card may be req’d (except MA, PA, ND). AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds if the network is busy. Go to att.com/hero to learn more.

FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks and service marks of the First Responder Network Authority.