Washington Military Department Selects FirstNet Service
Friday, September 24, 2021 | Comments

The Washington Military Department is connecting its disaster response and emergency management teams to FirstNet.

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. The on-the-go coverage will give public-safety officials dedicated band 14 connectivity wherever it’s 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, Washington, 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, chief information officer (CIO) and IT director at Washington 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.

“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 Washington 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.”

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