When an emergency strikes the Commonwealth or its neighbors, Pennsylvania responders in law enforcement, firefighters, medical, emergency management, and potentially, the National Guard, are called upon to handle the situation and support the community. Providing a coordinated response requires personnel, training, and equipment. As we have learned from recent events in many parts of the country, another vital component needed for coordinating a response is the ability for all responders on the scene to share information as events unfold.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is committed to developing an interoperable system of voice and data communications to maximize the effectiveness of responders wherever they are called into service.
This web site provides news and information about PA-FirstNet, Pennsylvania's initiative in support of a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network (NPSBN). It is aimed at the communities of emergency responders and public safety administrators.
If you are a responder, a government official, or a public safety administrator, find out how you can be part of the solution.
What NPSBN will mean to Pennsylvania's public safety professionals
Real-time sharing of data, image, and video feeds
Situational awareness during an incident will help protect people, property and first responders. When public safety personnel have a common picture of an incident that's unfolding, they are far better equipped to respond. During structural fires, crimes in process or medical emergencies, the ability to share real-time images and video of the scene as well as the locations of responders and locally relevant information improves communication and outcomes. FirstNet will carry high-speed data, location information, images, and eventually streaming video that can mean the difference between life and death.
During emergencies, wireless traffic is concentrated in specific areas and capacity can become insufficient for public safety's needs. Public safety needs an exclusive network so they can communicate without interruption. This is especially important during large emergencies when consumers may possibly overload commercial wireless networks to reach their family and friends. FirstNet will provide public safety with priority communications when they need it most.
FirstNet will facilitate the use of rugged, easy- to-use devices designed to meet public safety requirements and provide a rich set of applications and services that enhance their ability to do their jobs. The FirstNet network will provide the backbone to allow the public safety community in every part of Pennsylvania to improve its communications and perform its mission more safely.
Interoperable voice communications
FirstNet’s long term vision is to provide mission critical voice communications. Today, first responders rely on sometimes separate, incompatible, and proprietary Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks. This makes it difficult, and at times impossible, for emergency responders from different jurisdictions to communicate, especially during major emergencies. FirstNet is planning to provide devices that will work anywhere on the network and will save time when seconds matter. In addition, the network design and services offered by FirstNet will ensure interoperability among first responders. It is important to note that LMR systems must be supported with upgrades and enhancements and maintained for the foreseeable future.