Putting FirstNet on Display: Preparing Communities for Hurricane Season

AT&T Blog Team
July 7, 2022
Public Safety


Putting FirstNet on Display: Preparing Communities for Hurricane Season

The start of hurricane season reminds us of the need for reliable communications, no matter what Mother Nature may have in store. When disaster strikes, first responders must be able to communicate with each other to understand the situation at hand and ensure the safety of those around them.

Established to modernize public safety communications and help first responders’ access critical information in the field, FirstNet®, Built with AT&T has done just that. We spent years working hand in hand with public safety and state officials to design a network that would meet their unique needs.

FirstNet’s mission is to help our first responders, firefighters, police officers, emergency management officials and countless others have access to the communications they need so they can protect their communities and save lives.

If a disaster, such as a hurricane, takes down communication infrastructure in a city or region, the Response Operations Group (ROG) team is there to swiftly restore service. As part of the FirstNet program, the ROG team has a diverse fleet of over 100 deployable assets prepared to meet first responders’ needs, along with solutions including:

  • Dedicated FirstNet Band 14 Satellite Cell on Light Trucks, or SatCOLTs, provide assured and reliable communications during critical response efforts.
  • Terrestrial Cell on Wheels, or COWs, to quickly address operational requirements where there is a lack of cellular network.
  • An aerostat- a 55-foot blimp that provides wide-scale portable connectivity over an extended period of time, making it ideal for large disaster areas like a hurricane’s aftermath.

This equipment was designed specifically to meet the public safety community’s most pressing needs – before, during and after a storm. This means that first responders can focus on public safety, shrinking the time between disaster and recovery.

We want to show you:

We are bringing our equipment on the road across communities in the Southeast: to give people the chance to see what FirstNet is about.

We started with events in Atlanta, Jackson, Miss., Orlando and Tallahassee, Florida and are gearing up for more activity in the coming months. We are excited to continue demonstrating the FirstNet program and deployable assets to allow first responders and local officials to familiarize themselves with FirstNet tools.

Leon County Sherriff, Walt McNeil, and his department hosted the showcase in Tallahassee, Florida where he shared his firsthand experience with FirstNet. “Call FirstNet ahead of time, get them on standby,” said Sheriff McNeil. “It’s a godsend for communities across America.”

These activities help local and regional officials, public safety personnel, legislators and first responders see the FirstNet equipment firsthand to learn about the infrastructure that is upgrading public safety communications.

Together with public safety, we stand at the ready for day-to-day operational needs, large-scale event support and disaster response and recovery.

What people are saying:

Steve Casey, Executive Director of the Florida Sheriffs Association

“When it comes to natural disasters like Hurricane Michael, we’re all in this together. And when everything else was down, FirstNet was working. It’s helping keep our officers across the state stay safe and connected during their lifesaving missions.”

Chief Bill Partridge, City of Oxford Police Department

“At the City of Oxford Police Department, technology and innovation drive how we protect our community and deliver intelligence-led policing. FirstNet, Built by AT&T is a gamechanger in how we utilize technology, giving our law enforcement and public safety officials strengthened connectivity to keep our community safe.”

Pat Labat, Fulton County Sheriff

“FirstNet, Built with AT&T is a game changer for first responders in Fulton County, giving us the ability to immediately coordinate across departments, agencies and jurisdictions in Georgia’s most populous county. It is providing first responders with critical state-of-the-art communication capabilities, so we can better provide for and protect our communities.”