IAFF joins FirstNet builder

June 21, 2019

by AT&T

International Association of Fire Fighters joins FirstNet builder, AT&T, to help educate firefighters on FirstNet

FirstNet is a critical tool to keep firefighters and paramedics safe and ensure effective emergency and disaster response

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has joined FirstNet builder, AT&T, to help educate firefighters and paramedics on the 21st century tools available to provide critical data and inter-agency communications through FirstNet – America’s public safety communications platform.

With this alliance, the two are committed to educating firefighters and paramedics about the benefits of FirstNet and the impact it can have on public safety communications. The IAFF will also work with AT&T to convey the needs of frontline firefighters, including pushing for the FirstNet network to enable mission-critical voice communications for all firefighters during emergency response.

"The IAFF is dedicated to keeping our members and the communities they serve safe," says Harold Schaitberger, General President of the IAFF. "The FirstNet data and communications platform is one more tool that our members will have to gather information to make life-saving decisions when seconds count."

The goal of the alliance is to cut through the clutter and make sure firefighters and paramedics have the right information to understand the cutting-edge capabilities and benefits of FirstNet. This will help them adopt and use the technology in their own jurisdictions. Additionally, FirstNet will benefit from the IAFF’s input on providing mission-critical voice capability as the service grows to meet the needs of its public safety users.

"FirstNet exists to serve public safety and to better their communications capabilities. But to get FirstNet into the hands of firefighters, they have to know this new tool is available, and they need to understand the transformative power it can bring to their day-to-day," says Chris Sambar, senior vice president, FirstNet Program at AT&T. "The opportunity to collaborate with the IAFF to drive this critical education forward will go a long way in helping firefighters and paramedics get the modern communications they need."

FirstNet is the only nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety. Rising from difficulties communicating in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, FirstNet delivers a single, nationwide, interoperable LTE network purpose-built to enhance communications across the public safety community.

"Our nation’s firefighters serve as the foundation for resilient communities, large and small. They deserve the best tools to help them keep themselves safe and carry out their lifesaving mission," says Edward Parkinson, acting CEO of the FirstNet Authority. "We are pleased that the IAFF has joined AT&T to collaborate further on informing and getting feedback from members of the fire service on how FirstNet – their network – can best support them as they work to protect lives and property."

The alliance will facilitate information sharing, providing another avenue for public safety to give feedback, input and guidance on the evolution of FirstNet services.  

"Ensuring that firefighters and paramedics have access to reliable cell service and the internet is vital. We look forward to working with AT&T on FirstNet to improve our ability to help our members keep their cities and neighborhoods safe," says Schaitberger.