Emergency Medical Services

Interviews with EMS professionals:

Using the FirstNet network will improve situational awareness and decision-making. The FirstNet network will make it possible to use new tools that support faster parallel processing. The FirstNet network will enable the exchange of real‐time data and audio/video feeds between EMS personnel and hospital staff. This kind of connection, while units are on the scene and during transport, will improve all levels of pre‐hospital care.

How will FirstNet promote communication with other first responders?

Interoperability: By establishing a common public safety network core, with priority and pre-emption, first responders from fire service, law enforcement and medical services will be able to share data on a single platform without concern for the availability of bandwidth to support their communication. Such communication will facilitate a more coordinated response during emergencies.

How is FirstNet being built to ensure reliability and cybersecurity?

Reliability: FirstNet’s goal is to provide public safety-grade reliability so first responders can count on the network when they are on the job. FirstNet will make the network more resilient than existing commercial networks by requiring the FirstNet network to be hardened. Hardening entails strengthening cell tower sites and the overall network to ensure maximum reliability. The network will be engineered with back-up equipment and services to sustain operations during adverse conditions, like those experienced in Vermont during Tropical Storm Irene.

Cybersecurity: FirstNet will have effective security controls that protect data and defend against cyber threats. To defend against today’s complex and rapidly changing security threats, FirstNet will be built with layers of security at every vulnerable point. Security will be designed into all radio access networks (RAN), the evolved packet core (EPC) network, service platforms, as well as the devices that use the network. Firewalls will enforce stringent security policies developed in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) to meet National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requirements. The FirstNet design will be guided by 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) standards for encryption, as well as other standards-based security measures and best practices. FirstNet also plans to work closely across federal agencies with expertise in telecommunications security design modeling.

How will FirstNet solve coverage issues in my area?

Coverage Solutions: In addition to providing coverage with terrestrial towers, the FirstNet network will support mobile solutions to provide coverage to areas that are challenging to serve. Vermont will have three deployable units based in our state. One is owned by AT&T and operated for FirstNet. It is based in South Burlington and is already operational. There will be two additional deployables owned and managed by the Department of Public Safety. Those deployables have yet to be delivered to the state. DPS is working on procedures for requesting the use of deployables in an emergency or for a planned exercise or large event. 

If my current communication set-up is working now, why should I change to FirstNet?

Coverage must be a first consideration. If you do not have reliable coverage from AT&T, you should not change. However, keep up-to-date on the build-out of the network in Vermont. Additional towers will be built throughout the state for FirstNet as part of AT&T's federal contract. The initial build-out is scheduled for completion nationwide in 2022. If coverage is not a concern, subscribing to FirstNet may save you money and give you additional features you do not currently have. FirstNet’s priority is to support the latest technological advances for the benefit of public safety users of the network. You want to make sure your department can take advantage of new developments when they become available, rather than falling behind and missing opportunities to improve the safety and effectiveness of your service response.


The FirstNet project is housed within the Radio Technology Services unit of the Department of Public Safety.

Public Safety Broadband Network Commission
Department of Public Safety
45 State Drive Waterbury, VT 05671
(802) 241-5535/ Email the PSBC

Email the PSBC Chair: Terry.Lavalley@vermont.gov

Visit the federal government FirstNet Authority web site at: www.FirstNet.gov

Visit the commercial AT&T FirstNet subscriber web site at: www.FirstNet.com

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