Most first responders today understand that emerging technologies have potential to transform public safety communications through access to a dedicated broadband network. As the Manager of Outreach & Education in the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology, I am part of the Colorado team working on the first of its kind National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). In my free time I am a first responder with Evergreen Fire Rescue as an emergency medical responder, firefighter and Public Information Officer (PIO). I remember one instance like so many other when I came home from work, prepared dinner, and as I was taking that first bite, a call came in that a biker had gone down in Elk Meadow and was severely injured. Leaving my dinner behind I responded to the call. This scenario has played out numerous times throughout the country; a first responder receiving a call that someone is injured, lost or in distress and responding without asking questions. These calls come at all times of the day and night. Responders of all disciplines never really know what they will encounter, understanding that each scene has its own unique nuances.
Authors Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations Businesses, and Our Lives) write about the current state of information technology, “Never before in history have so many people, from so many places, had so much power at their fingertips. And while this is hardly the first technology revolution in our history, it is the first that will make it possible for almost everybody to own, develop and disseminate real-time content….” To help first responder teams across Colorado and the nation, the NPSBN is a national effort to build a dedicated broadband network for use daily as well as during all types of incidents; it will provide responders access to devices and applications to “adapt” their response in the face of this new data revolution. For the first time in history, responders will have access to a secure network supporting advance smart device technologies to respond with greater proficiency, accuracy and efficiency. In the coming months I will introduce you to these emerging technologies and how they are poised to transform the way responders communicate day-to-day as well as during incidents.
1 Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives (New York: Vintage Books, 2014), page 4.