Making first responder health and wellness a top priority

April 1, 2021

by Jason Porter - President, Public Sector and FirstNet Program at AT&T

Four years ago, the federal government selected AT&T to enter into a public-private partnership to build and manage public safety’s network. And when we set out on this historic and critical initiative, we committed to Be There for America’s first responders. Now, as the FirstNet network turns 3, we’re going beyond our commitment to the federal government and have established the FirstNet Health & Wellness Coalition (FNHWC) to coordinate how we support holistic health and wellness of first responders.

Nothing is more important than the lives of first responders and the people they serve day in, and day out. These are the men and women who run toward emergencies. And we understand the service public safety provides to our communities does not come without personal sacrifice and burdens.

The FNHWC has more than 2 dozen members representing more than 1.3 million first responders – including organizations like the International Association of Fire ChiefsInternational Association of Chiefs of PoliceNational Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and National Emergency Management Association. Its mission is to integrate responder, community, industry and academic capabilities to support the health, wellness and readiness of America’s first responders. We’re focused on collaborating with our members to support healthy, well and resilient first responders that are ready to support public safety at a moment’s notice.

Our support of first responder health and wellness began long before the formation of the FNHWC through dedicated financial and resource support to public safety associations and related programs.

  • For the past two years, we’ve sponsored the IACP Officer Safety & Wellness Symposiums which focuses on improving officer safety and wellness to enhance the health and effectiveness of officers, as well as the safety of the community.
  • Just last fall we launched a collaboration with All Clear Foundation to help increase the accessibility of education, resources and support that will aid first responders who may be struggling with health wellness challenges brought on by the unique stressors of their jobs.
  • And, more recently, we’ve added more health and wellness apps to the FirstNet App Catalog and supported conferences and seminars with 1st Responder Conferences.

Moving forward, the FNHWC will serve as the backbone to everything we do to support the health and wellbeing of first responders.

Coalition priorities were developed from the input of over 350 first responders in professions including law enforcement, fire, emergency communications, emergency management, and emergency medical personnel.  Priorities include Post Traumatic Stress, Suicide Prevention, Physical Fitness, Stress Management, Resiliency, leadership engagement and others. The coalition will be developing integrated approaches to raising awareness, identifying technical solutions and applications, and local targeted areas to support these priorities.

We believe FirstNet is the most important wireless network in the country because it’s serving our first responders and the extended public safety community. And we have a responsibility unlike any other wireless carrier to deliver for America’s first responders. Shaped by the vision of the first responder community and Congress following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings. It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority – an independent agency within the federal government. The FirstNet network is providing public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption for first responders, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities help fire, EMS, healthcare workers and law enforcement save lives and protect their communities.

Just as FirstNet is built with and for first responders, we want to be there to support the health and well-being of those who serve their communities every day.