APCO Brings Out the Big Dogs of Emergency Response Communications


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First Responders know how to communicate judging by the myriad of methods, networks and equipment at their disposal all on display at APCO 2019 in Baltimore. The conference closes today at the Baltimore Convention Center having covered the gamut of issues facing all levels of heroic players in the field of emergency management.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai lauded the group by telling them they come through, under pressure, day in and day out when lives are on the line. From hurricanes to active shooters to wildfires and earthquakes, the emergency responders actively strive to do their job faster and better and more consistently each year, learning lessons and adapting from each disaster.

A panel entitled “FirstNet Emergency Response Operations” discussed the case studies garnered from Hurricanes Florence and Michael and the California wildfires. Fred Scalera and Ryan Burchnell, both with FirstNet Built with AT&T, defined their focus as aligning with the FEMA National Response Framework in a natural disaster and establishing ‘first of a kind’ relationships with all public safety entities. Reducing duplication of efforts across the board is a priority, according to Burchnell. The past year tested the system, throwing overlapping, multiple disasters at them throughout 2018. “Does the system work?” Scalera said. “Absolutely.” Both panelists stressed they operate as an entity on the public’s behalf, not as AT&T.

The conference ends today with a tour of Baltimore’s E-911 Center and a “Celebrate and Connect” dinner.

August 14, 2019

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