FirstNet is a critical tool to keep firefighters and paramedics safe and ensure effective emergency and disaster response
WASHINGTON, DC – The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) joined with AT&T to form an alliance to educate fire fighters and paramedics on the 21st century tools available to provide critical data and inter-agency communications through FirstNet – America’s public safety communications platform.
With this alliance, the IAFF and AT&T are committed to educating fire fighters and paramedics about the benefits of FirstNet and the impact it can have on public safety communications. The IAFF will also work with AT&T to convey the needs of frontline fire fighters, including pushing for the FirstNet network to enable mission-critical voice communications for all fire fighters during emergency response.
“The IAFF is dedicated to keeping our members and the communities they serve safe. The FirstNet data and communications platform is one more tool that our members will have to gather information to make life-saving decisions when seconds count,” says Harold Schaitberger, General President of the IAFF.
The goal of the alliance is to cut through the clutter and make sure fire fighters and paramedics have the right information to understand the cutting-edge capabilities and benefits of FirstNet, helping them adopt and use the technology in their own jurisdictions. Additionally, the alliance will benefit FirstNet by having the IAFF’s input on providing mission-critical voice capability as the service grows to meet the needs of its public safety users.
“FirstNet exists to serve public safety and to better their communications capabilities. But to get FirstNet into the hands of fire fighters, they have to know this new tool is available, and they need to understand the transformative power it can bring to their day-to-day,” says Chris Sambar, senior vice president of FirstNet, AT&T. “The opportunity to collaborate with the IAFF to drive this critical education forward will go a long way in helping fire fighters and paramedics get the modern communications they need.”
FirstNet is the only nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety. Rising from difficulties communicating during the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, FirstNet delivers a single, nationwide, interoperable LTE network purposely built to enhance communications across the entire public safety community. It’s being built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.
“Our nation’s fire fighters serve as the foundation for resilient communities, large and small. They deserve the best tools to help them keep themselves safe and carry out their lifesaving mission,” says Edward Parkinson, acting CEO of the FirstNet Authority. “We are pleased that the IAFF has joined AT&T to collaborate further on informing and getting feedback from members of the fire service on how FirstNet – their network – can best support them as they work to protect lives and property.”
The alliance will also facilitate additional information sharing between the IAFF and AT&T, providing another avenue for public safety to provide feedback, input and guidance for the evolution of FirstNet services.
“Ensuring that fire fighters and paramedics have access to reliable cell service and the internet is vital. We look forward to working with AT&T on FirstNet to improve our ability to help our members keep their cities and neighborhoods safe,“ says Schaitberger.
The International Association of Fire Fighters represents more than 316,000 professional, career fire fighters and EMS personnel across the U.S. and Canada. The union has more than 3,500 affiliates in communities across both countries and is headquartered in Washington, DC, and Ottawa, Ontario.
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