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When Network Connectivity Can Mean Life or Death

  • Cellular Data

    Network availability and performance under heavy loads are critical in many businesses. This is especially true for first responders or mission critical professionals like utility workers or healthcare providers that are responsible for answering a call at a moment’s notice, and expected to address the problem at hand quickly and efficiently – whether it’s saving a person’s life or ensuring basic amenities, such as heat and electricity, are available.

    Professionals in these roles are usually out in the field responding to incidents at remote locations where connectivity may not be available or interrupted. This could be due to downed lines or an overloaded network that’s being used by a number of mobile devices. When time is of the essence to communicate back to team members, the dispatch center or victims involved, connectivity must be available and work seamlessly without fail.

    This is where IT’s role becomes increasingly important to provide users with services that can access a dedicated first responder communications platform like FirstNet® that provides priority and, for first responders, pre-emption services to keep the lines of communication open, when it matters most. Dedicated communications platforms allow first responders to be able to send and receive voice, data, video, images and text messages even in times of network congestion. Utilizing a dedicated communications platform requires compatible LTE modems and firmware, appropriate SIM cards, software-enabled devices and a wireless rate plan.

    Here are some examples of dedicated communications platforms where connectivity can mean life or death.

    (Image: Pixabay)
  • During a storm when power lines are down 

    When all connectivity is lost due to down power lines during a storm, a dedicated communications platform with flexible network deployment capabilities allow utility workers who are fixing power lines to stay connected and updated on the highest impact areas as well as potential danger and new outages. During Hurricane Florence, utility crews in North Carolina lost all land-based mobile systems, and FirstNet’s dedicated deployable equipment allowed them to stay connected through a resilient network and to delegate where crews were needed and quickly restore power to over one million houses.

  • At an intersection during a traffic accident

    After an accident, a nearby law enforcement officer can be notified in real-time via the network, retrieve GPS coordinates of the accident and arrive on scene to start to gather victims’ information. By the time the EMS arrives, the patient’s medical records are readily available and medical reports can be digitally transmitted to a nearby hospital to jumpstart care.

  • During a fire rescue

    Time is critical for firefighters who must respond immediately to house fires in order to locate and evacuate victims before all entryways are engulfed in flames or the structure is deemed unsafe. While inside, FirstNet provides firefighters with a highly reliable and prioritized line of communication to EMS outside so that they can communicate on the status of victims to inform the recovery process and share heat map data to inform the status of the fire.

  • At a high traffic event, like a marathon or large sporting event 

    When large crowds are expected at a major event like a marathon or sporting game, first responders prepare for all possible scenarios and help ensure they can stay connected at all times. At the Big Game in Atlanta, agencies using FirstNet were able to stay in contact throughout the game, even in locations with heavy congestion. FirstNet also helped fill unanticipated gaps in connectivity when wireless LAN service was unavailable to connect computers and support voice communications.