First responder agencies can partner with the private sector to prepare for crises


Cisco Crisis Response focuses on connectivity and education

Cisco Systems has a long-standing relationship with the first responder community through its Tactical Operations Team, which has provided connectivity, collaboration and security solutions to disaster response teams for over 15 years. Recently, Cisco merged Tactical Operations with its Critical Human Needs aid unit to form Cisco Crisis Response.

“Cisco Crisis Response is made up of several full-time technical engineers, operations and logistics coordinators, and grant portfolio managers, as well as an extensive team of over 300 Cisco employees who volunteer their time and expertise.” , notes a recent Cisco blog.

In addition to helping build networks in the aftermath of disasters, Cisco is also focusing on training leaders and workers in public safety and emergency response agencies on how to keep their equipment up to date. and their skills up to date. Cisco teams often bring materials to agencies to help them train when they come up with a topic.

The company’s # 1 goal is to ensure that agencies are prepared for disasters and know how to implement standard operating procedures when a disaster strikes, including setting up business connectivity. emergency and mobile command centers; and how to leverage the Federal Emergency Management Agency to obtain resources.

RELATED: How can connected fleet solutions help first responders communicate more effectively?

Verizon Response Team Leverages Network Resources

Verizon is a powerhouse when it comes to deploying devices and network resources for state and local agencies in the aftermath of a disaster.

These include temporary cell towers – known as Cells on Wheels and Cells on Light Trucks, or COLTs – and other wireless network assets. The company has even developed a prototype 5G-compatible emergency response vehicle called THOR (Tactical Humanitarian Operations Response).

In addition to these assets, Verizon offers mobile devices for emergency services and large-scale charging stations for first responder devices.

The Verizon response team says it is “available 24/7 to support public sector agencies” and is focused on helping agencies “to increase situational awareness, to take decisions and react effectively during an event ”.

Like Cisco, Verizon also works to help agencies plan for future emergencies and offers recommendations on how they can improve their approaches to responding to disasters.

Information Technology Disaster Resource Center May Send Equipment

Another avenue that agencies can explore is the nonprofit IT Disaster Resource Center, which is supported by a wide range of technology and communications companies who often provide the solutions that the ITDRC helps deploy. .

The organization relies on volunteers and will deploy charging stations, establish connectivity and provide mobile devices in the aftermath of various disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes. The ITDRC is also supporting immunization efforts across the country with technology, connectivity and workspace solutions.

“The ITDRC maintains a distributed cache of communications equipment and cutting edge technology assets to meet the short and long term needs of a community during the response and recovery phases,” the organization notes on its website.

TO EXPLORE: Technological tools can provide real-time situational awareness.

AT & T’s FirstNet offers a robust network

Last but not least is FirstNet, the interoperable public safety communications network built by AT&T. FirstNet is currently used by 18,500 public safety agencies and organizations, with 2.8 million connected devices and a catalog of 315 different FirstNet compatible devices.

“Public Safety uses FirstNet to manage day-to-day operations, planned events, emergencies and disasters,” the service noted in a recent statement. “From Fleet Week in San Francisco earlier this month to COVID-19 test centers and wildfires in the West, FirstNet keeps public safety connected like no other network.”

Earlier this year, FirstNet upgraded its core network to enable reliable 5G connectivity to deliver ultra-low latency and faster speeds.

It is in the best interests of first responders to know who their counterparts are in these organizations, so now is the time to make those personal connections if they haven’t already. That way, when an emergency arises – as it sure will – agencies will know what assets may be available for free.

This article is part of StateTech‘s Citizen Blog Series. Please join the discussion on Twitter using the # StateLocalIT hashtag.


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