Agency Use of Responder Apps are On-Display in FirstNet® Webinars
By Suzette M. McLeod
Saturday, February 27, 2021 | Comments

FirstNet has become the information sharing platform more than 15,000 public safety agencies and organizations rely on to deliver robust connectivity and trusted innovation. Over 2 million connections benefit from the growing 2.71 million square miles of coverage; available end-to-end encryption; and a fleet of 80+ deployables.  With FirstNet, first responder communications in, and with, the field are no longer limited to local radio users, busy intermediaries, or fixed in-vehicle terminals. 

Once agencies and organizations realize the benefits of robust mobile connectivity and services like FirstNet First Priority® Uplift™, many begin implementing the use of smartphones and mobile apps to digitize and modernize their work.  But just like any other tool used by first responders, smartphones and mobile apps must be vetted and tested to confirm they meet the unique and critical needs of our nation’s public safety community.  FirstNet does just that.  Every device is reviewed to ensure it is FirstNet Ready™ and every mobile app in the FirstNet ecosystem is FirstNet Verified™ to ensure it is relevant, highly secure, and reliable.  And some App Providers go a step further to get their apps FirstNet Certified™ after successfully demonstrating they can pass more rigorous evaluations of code security, resiliency and scalability.

All these pre-evaluated apps are listed in a dedicated library called the FirstNet App Catalog (“App Catalog”).  The App Catalog has more than 90 unique public safety solutions across 160+ Android and iOS operating system versions.  Because only evaluated and approved solutions are included in the App Catalog, FirstNet customers no longer sift through countless apps in the commercial app stores looking for tools designed for public safety.  And FirstNet customers can select apps from their dedicated App Catalog without worrying whether the app appropriately safeguards agency data or will be available when they need it most.  If it is in the App Catalog, it can be trusted by first responders.

To help agencies and organizations become more familiar with these purpose-built solutions, FirstNet is sponsoring public webinars.  In these webinars, agencies and organizations using Catalog apps share their experiences and the App Providers are available to demonstrate the tool and answer audience questions. The first such webinar on December 9th included two Emergency Communications Centers sharing their successful experiences.  Brent Jensen, Executive Director of Madison County Dispatch, discussed how Mutualink enabled multi-agency collaborations across law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical technicians, hospital staff, and even the Coroner’s Office to quickly coordinate an effective and holistic pandemic response.   And Jonathan Rasch from the Ramsey County Emergency Communications Center explained how PulsePoint apps can help save lives.  PulsePoint Respond and AED help dispatchers automatically alert CPR-trained professionals in proximity of a cardiac event, so they can begin life-saving care before the paramedics arrive.  Richard Price, PulsePoint Foundation President and retired Fire Chief for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District demonstrated how the tool is used.  He also shared how the PulsePoint product was born from his personal experience.  While off-duty, Mr. Price was in a restaurant and had no idea that just steps away a cardiac victim was waiting for EMTs to arrive.  He could have helped but didn’t know.   With PulsePoint, those close and able in Ramsey County can now know when help is needed.

In another webinar on February 11, 2021, FirstNet not only shared an agency story, but also several exciting industry announcements.  Thanks to a FirstNet Software Development Kit (SDK) offered by NextNav, authorized FirstNet App Providers  can integrate visibility into the once hidden realm of vertical location into their apps.  Response for FirstNet® has already added this Z-Axis visibility into its collaboration tool that maps the location and state of key resources.  Captain Jeremy Geiger, of the Minnesota State Police, shared how his organization relies on the FirstNet Certified™ Response app - built by Intrepid Networks - to connect and coordinate across all the officers in his state each and every day. During that same webinar, the availability of High-Power User Equipment (HPUE) for Band 14 was discussed.  This exclusive offering - named FirstNet MegaRange™ provides connectivity for FirstNet customers in urban network shadows or on the edge of network coverage. The new FirstNet services offerings do not end there. 

In an upcoming webinar on March 4, 2021, FirstNet plans to share information about the new Compact Rapid Deployable unit. CRD gives FirstNet customers an opportunity to own and operate their very own Band-14 COW (cell-on-wheels) which can be rolled, driven, or helicoptered to locations where customers want FirstNet voice and data connectivity.  In this same webinar, representatives from beamLive will provide a live demonstration beamFirst.  Implementation of this FirstNet Verified™ app by a SWAT unit quickly became the answer to onboarding and giving representatives across multiple disciplines and agencies a common operating picture as an active shooter event unfolded.  

Soon after, another webinar on March 16, 2021 will include Mike Waldner from the Bureau of Information and Telecommunication who will share how the State of South Dakota benefited from FirstNet service and the Bridge4PS app.  With the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Presidential visits to Mt. Rushmore and large prayer/protest gatherings, the state benefited from new ways of helping to maintain the safety and civil liberties of individuals at large events and social gatherings amid civil unrest and a pandemic.  After Niki Papazoglakis demonstrates use of new Bridge4PS tool, Alexander Popof, CEO of Visual Labs, will show us how inexpensive smartphones easily transforms into feature rich body-worn cameras.

The stories and tools introduced in these early webinars are just a small sampling of the exciting solutions FirstNet customers can find in the App Catalog.  In the April webinars, participants will hear stories about how COVID testing, tracing, and vaccination management are being supported with FirstNet Verified™ apps.  If you are unable to join the live webinar, each registration site provides access to on-demand recordings. 

Learn more about the FirstNet App Catalog and its many approved solutions by downloading the FirstNet App Catalog Booklet.  You can visit to learn more about FirstNet and the many services, devices, and apps that make up the full communications ecosystem built specifically for and with first responders.

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