The Washington Military Department is connecting its disaster response and emergency management teams to 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 this tech advancement, the state’s first responders and emergency management teams will be equipped with new capabilities and reliable access to critical information while in the field, allowing them to better serve those who live, work and visit Washington.
FirstNet is designed to improve communications across public safety entities nationwide, allowing first responders to communicate with one another easily and quickly during everyday situations, big events or emergencies. This is integral to solving the communications challenges public safety has experienced in the past.
The Washington Military Department recently purchased a Compact Rapid Deployable (CRD) device from FirstNet to act as a deployable network asset that will provide coverage for emergency management teams and first responders anywhere at any time. CRDs link to FirstNet via satellite and do not rely on commercial power availability, making them ideal for use during emergencies in rural and remote areas, as well as areas where communications may be temporarily unavailable because of a disaster or incident.
As fire season continues across the state, the agency-owned Cell on Wheels (COW) can be deployed by a single person within a matter of minutes. This on-the-go coverage will give public safety officials dedicated Band 14 connectivity wherever its needed and help emergency management teams connect to first responders. Recently, a CRD was deployed at a fire camp supporting the Summit Trail Fire in Inchelium, WA to help connect firefighters with their teams on the ground and loved ones.
“It’s been a challenge for us to stay connected to our emergency response teams across the state during the last few fire seasons,” said Mark Glenn, CIO and IT Director at WA Military Department. “The coverage that FirstNet and the CRD device will provide will allow us to be flexible during our response to disasters and bring coverage to first responders onsite at the scene.”
Responsible for the statewide Emergency Management division, the Washington Military Department joined FirstNet to provide first responders with reliable, modern communications tools needed to perform at their best, including:
One nationwide communications platform that provides for coordinated emergency responses that are efficient and effective across agencies and jurisdictions.
Always-on priority and preemption to provide reliable access to the connection necessary – even when the network is congested.
A separate, dedicated and highly secure network core purpose-built for public safety’s sensitive communications.
Innovative tools – like relevant applications and connected devices – to provide more actionable information for heightened situational awareness.
“FirstNet’s deployable assets will allow us to provide connectivity in areas that need it the most, when they need it the most,” said Richard Hall, Emergency Telecommunications Lead Engineer at WA Military Department. “Our emergency management teams on the ground can stay in communication with each other and those at home. We can have the peace of mind needed to effectively keep our communities safe.”
“We’re honored that WA Military Department chose FirstNet to elevate their communications capabilities,” said Bob Bass, AT&T President, Washington. “It’s our mission to give first responders the cutting-edge tools they need to safely and effectively achieve their mission. FirstNet will help first responders in Washington and across the country perform at the highest levels to keep themselves and those they serve out of harm’s way.”
“FirstNet is the exclusive communications platform being built with AT&T for public safety, inspired by public safety. There is no substitution for this purpose-built network,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We look forward to supporting WA Military Department and all of the State’s public safety community with FirstNet, making sure it delivers what they need, when they need it.”