I’m Grateful for – and Inspired by – Our First Responders

Steve Hahn – President, AT&T Oklahoma
June 18, 2024
Public Safety

I’m Grateful for – and Inspired by – Our First Responders





Those are just a few of the words that describe my recent experience at the Eastern Oklahoma Fire Academy where I joined firefighters-in-training. I donned the turnout gear – boots, jacket, helmet, gloves – and nervously learned how to use the self-contained breathing apparatus. All in, I was wearing or carrying close to 50 lbs. of gear when I entered the training structure.   

Oh, and part of the building was about to be set on fire.  

The few hours I spent with these cadets was inspiring. These young men and women will someday run toward the danger, even as my instinct was to run away! Indeed, this experience made me better appreciate the intense training and commitment it takes to be a first responder – not to mention the physical and mental strength necessary to do their jobs day in and day out. 

Amidst the smoke, noise, and darkness, one of the most important tools we relied upon were our communications devices. The ability to communicate during an emergency is paramount.  

I used this opportunity to talk with the cadets about FirstNet® – the only nationwide communications network created with and for public safety. The smartphones, tablets, and even breathing apparatus used by firefighters can connect on wireless spectrum called Band 14. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked exclusively for FirstNet subscribers. When not in use by FirstNet subscribers, AT&T customers can get the benefit of Band 14’s added coverage and capacity. 

In addition to building out the FirstNet network here in Oklahoma and around the country, we also want to do what we can to help inspire and prepare the next generation of first responders in Oklahoma. With this goal in mind, we created the AT&T Public Safety Scholarship program. 

Some of the firefighters-in-training received AT&T Public Safety Scholarships through the Eastern Oklahoma County (EOC) Vocational Education Foundation. AT&T contributed $16,000 to the Foundation to help lower income or underserved students complete the Fire and EMT training programs.  

Matteo Young is one of the cadets who participated in the exercise with me. He expressed his thanks to AT&T for the scholarship, which is enabling him to attend the EOC Academy and pursue his dream of becoming a firefighter. 

Last year, we announced similar scholarships for students at Oklahoma State University – Oklahoma City. You can read more about their program here. 

To Matteo and all the recipients of the AT&T Public Safety Scholarships, thank you for stepping up to serve our communities in such an impactful way.  

It makes me proud that we’re doing everything we can to make sure firefighters and all public safety personnel are connected when they’re putting their lives on the line. 


FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks of the First Responder Network Authority.  All other marks are the property of their respective owners. 

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