Heather Hood played a pivotal role in stopping a high-speed chase last month as a dispatcher at the Tuscumbia Police Department in Alabama. Hood contacted officers in other jurisdictions while maintaining communications with the team involved in the chase. After the officers passed out of radio communication range, they kept contact with Hood via cellphone. "She was there with us the entire time, giving us information, letting us know who was with us, where we were heading. She was our lifeline," said Capt. Stuart Setliff.
The First Responder Network Authority said it is on schedule to dole out $6.5 billion in vendor awards by the end of the year and does not expect any more deadline extensions on its request for proposals. The deadline was extended this month to May 31, and the network is expected to launch in 2017.
FirstNet request-for-proposal bids are due at the end of May, and the service is expected to go live within a year. In this piece, Donny Jackson argues that the time has arrived for state and local officials to learn more about the program "so they can make intelligent budget decisions and procurement choices for their public-safety agencies." He notes that "[a]lthough most of the key decisions for state and local officials are at least a year away, it is important that outreach and dialog with these key stakeholders happen sooner, rather than later."
A number of fire departments and first responder agencies in Nebraska recently trained on new automotive technology and designs, and how they will affect emergency situations. The group learned about "different cut points, safety precautions for air bags and cylinders that deploy," said Herman Volunteer Fire Department member Ed Exley.
Drone manufacturer DJI has partnered with the European Emergency Number Association to develop drones capable of helping emergency responders. Eventually, drones could be used in search-and-rescue missions or to survey accidents or chemical explosions. "We hope to demonstrate the power of aerial systems in first response missions," DJI Director of Education Romeo Durscher said.
First responders in New Haven, Conn., are using a computer-aided dispatch system that alerts first responders at the same time that dispatchers enter information. "We're seeing sub-three-minute complete dispatches to on-scene, which is kind of unheard of," said Tim Murray of NexGen Public Safety Solutions.