FirstNet Connects Rural Responders During Search and Rescue Exercises

By Lori Stone, FirstNet Authority Region III Lead

Public safety agencies from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Maryland recently conducted search and rescue exercises in Gore, VA — a remote region in the Shenandoah Valley — and called on FirstNet to help support their emergency communications during the event. The joint effort involved the Virginia Communications Cache, the National Capital Region (NCR) Communications Interoperability Group, and the Frederick County (VA) Sheriff Office, among others.

Sean Fensterwald, master technician for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, participated in the exercises in Gore and saw the benefits of FirstNet for rural first responders firsthand. He explained, “When they [rural first responders] get these emergencies … and their phones work, they have internet, and have the reach back to their home agencies or actually the programs they’re using — it’s huge.” 



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