Practice Makes FirstNet:  2019 Winter Institute Workshop and Exercise

Practice Makes FirstNet: 2019 Winter Institute Workshop and Exercise

Hi, my name is Clint Arnett. I’m a training manager with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. My name is Jarred VandenHeuvel. I work for the Texas Department of Public Safety as a program coordinator over the public safety broadband program. The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, or TEEX has partnered for this exercise with the Texas A&M Internet2 Evaluation Center to put on a very realistic earthquake scenario in which the emergency responders are engaging as much as possible as they would in real life, except this time they’re using developmental systems and networks from FirstNet and others to try to enhance the response. During this exercise, we had a earthquake scenario So there was situations with collapsed buildings, and car wrecks, and things like that So we’ve got our own highway patrol troopers out responding to wrecks and maybe responding to some incidents that might be a little bit out of their normal comfort zone. In this day and age of cell phones, and cameras, and social media, and everything else, there are so many data streams that are available to everyone now and part of the challenge is sorting out what’s important to who and who gets what, and one of the issues for emergency responders is some of that needs to be secured for their particular applications and so FirstNet offers the opportunity to make that a secure first responder-only network. I think for a lot of first responder agencies, they’re not accustomed to having a dedicated smart device in their hands in a work context, so I think this is a great opportunity for industry and academia to put some prototypes of what they think would work in their hands and get that live feedback on as close as you can to a simulated event. So we’re really excited about some of the applications that are on display here today because some of them are pulling data from a lot of different sources to give better visibility and situational awareness to the emergency responders. So it’s particularly exciting in this event to see that kind of technology coming and it’s really exciting for our emergency responder participants because they get to influence the next generation of technologies that they’re going to get to work with.