Sen. Jay Rockefeller wrote an editorial piece for the Charleston Gazette in his home state of West Virginia on Sunday outlining FirstNet and how it will help emergency responders in times of crisis.
The editorial came in the wake of the National Scout Jamboree, which was held in West Virginia for the first time in what will be its new permanent home. Rockefeller outlined that in preparation for the event, he visited Glen Jean Armory where a Joint Interagency Task Force was headquartered for the 10-day event.
He wrote that in the future first responders will be able to use FirstNet at events like that to communicate on one network.
“FirstNet is going to make sure we minimize any chance for communications failures during emergencies. Sadly, we have seen what happens when our first responders can’t communicate, most notably on Sept. 11, 2001,” Rockefeller wrote.
“In the years after 9/11, I wanted to make sure we honored our brave first responders who were injured or died as the result of failures in our communications capabilities. So I set out to establish a program that uses the cutting-edge communications resources we have at our fingertips to give first responders the tools they need to communicate effectively during emergencies. And FirstNet will fulfill the last major remaining recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.”
He continued, “Last month, the Boston police commissioner testified before Congress about his department’s response to the Boston Marathon bombing. He said that law enforcement needs to have in place a state-of-the-art public safety wireless network that will help his police force communicate with other first responders, from anywhere in the nation, when responding to an event like the bombing. Testimony like this makes it impossible to argue against the case for meaningful investments in first responder technology.
“While it will take time to get this network off the ground, we’re finally modernizing the way our first responders communicate. Once up and running, FirstNet will fulfill the promise of bringing advanced interoperable communications to emergency officials across the nation — and help make sure future Boy Scout Jamborees remain safe and secure.”