NECP Webinars

Implementing the National Emergency Communications Plan Webinars

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming webinars in 2022

View Archived 2021 Webinars

December: Stay Flexible and Adaptable: Planning for Communications Continuity

Achieving secure and resilient voice and data communications across the Emergency Communications Ecosystem is essential for public safety agencies to execute their missions. However, as communications systems and functions become more interconnected, they also become more vulnerable to impacts from physical and cyber-based threats and hazards. The National Emergency Communication Plan (NECP) highlights the critical need for public safety organizations to plan for resilient communications which is supported by the FEMA Federal Continuity Directives and Continuity Guidance Circular as well as associated training and evaluation programs. Despite the importance of continuity planning, the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey found that less than half of public safety organizations build processes into their plans to ensure continuity of communications during out-of-the ordinary emergencies or disasters.

This webinar held by CISA, will highlight the importance of continuity across the Emergency Communications Ecosystem and provide participants with resources and best practices for ensuring resilient communications. Speakers will discuss specific communications elements that should be considered as part of continuity planning; explain how existing capabilities should be updated or upgraded to ensure continuity based on lessons learned; and provide real world experiences on how jurisdictions have adapted to mitigate mission impacts from communications vulnerabilities. During the webinar, participants can expect to learn about:

  • Continuity building principles, practices, and resources available in the FEMA National Continuity Resource Toolkit and other sites;
  • The importance of periodically reviewing and updating or upgrading capabilities; and
  • Leveraging the NECP to understand and build emergency communications resilience

Presented in partnership with:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Continuity Programs Directorate

City of Alexandria (VA) Department of Emergency & Customer Communications

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October: Addressing the Ransomware Threat to Emergency Communications

Ransomware attacks hit a new target every 14 seconds - shutting down digital operations, stealing information, and exploiting businesses, essential services, and individuals. In recent years, ransomware incidents have become increasingly prevalent among state, local, tribal, and territorial government entities and against national critical infrastructure to include emergency communications. Disruptions to public safety operations directly and negatively impact the health and safety of the communities they serve. Despite this increasingly frequent threat, the SAFECOM Nationwide Survey shows only 20 percent of public safety organizations have cybersecurity incident response plans, policies, and capabilities in place, making them more vulnerable to an attack.

This webinar highlights the risk ransomware attacks pose to emergency communications and actions within the National Emergency Communications Plan that organizations can take to protect against, respond to, and recover from this threat. In addition, participants will hear a real-world example of a ransomware attack and the lessons learned from that experience.

During this webinar, participants can expect to learn about:​​​

  • What ransomware is and how to protect emergency communications systems
  • What to do if a mission-critical system is attacked by ransomware
  • Resources and actions to prepare for and recover from ransomware attacks

Presented in partnership with:

CISA Cybersecurity Division

City of Tulsa Oklahoma

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September: Planning for Emerging Communications Technology

Innovative technologies are rapidly evolving the way we share information. In emergencies, we are able to leverage groundbreaking emergency communications advancements to achieve faster, safer, and overall more efficient outcomes. However, as technology evolves, public safety organizations must adapt in an increasingly complex environment to realize the benefits of these emerging communications capabilities.

The SAFECOM Nationwide Survey (SNS) showed that public safety organizations encounter significant challenges in adopting new technologies and integrating them into operations. Acquisition is only one piece of the planning required to implement new technologies – as the National Emergency Communications Plan recommends - addressing the governance, standard operating procedures, and training and exercises to support advanced technologies is critical to success.

During the webinar, participants can expect to learn about:

  • Planning and best practices for the integration of new technologies
  • Emerging technologies supported by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet®)
  • Leveraging the NECP to address emerging technology challenges

Presented in partnership with:

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet®)

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May: It Takes a Village: Leveraging the Whole Community to Make Critical Emergency Communications Decisions

Effective governance is a critical component of successful emergency communications. It relies on the cooperation of jurisdictions, agencies, and organizations across the emergency communications ecosystem. Establishing and maintaining inclusive governance entities is critical to preparing for and responding to emergencies, yet it is a complex process, especially in the constantly evolving communications landscape.


While emergency communications governance bodies typically involve traditional disciplines or sectors, contributions from additional functions (e.g., transportation, public works, public health, utilities, natural resources or parks and recreation, building inspectors), support systems (e.g., information management, network infrastructure, cybersecurity), neighboring jurisdictions, and elected officials may be beneficial. The SAFECOM Nationwide Survey found that 4 percent or fewer of emergency communications decision-making groups are proactively seeking new participants beyond first responders. Involving a wider variety of organizations when developing strategic, operational, and contingency plans results in reciprocal benefits for all. In this webinar, you will hear from representatives who are actively participating in building more inclusive emergency communications governance bodies. They will offer lessons learned and discuss the overall impact of a comprehensive approach to planning. During the webinar, participants can expect to learn about:

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April: Jump to the Head of the Line! Priority Services for Emergency Communications

Emergency responders and government officials rely on a mix of devices to communicate during an emergency (e.g., land-mobile radio, cellular, landline). Commercial networks can quickly become congested during or immediately following an incident when first responders need them most. Priority Telecommunications Services (PTS) including Government Emergency Telecommunications Service, Wireless Priority Service, and Telecommunications Service Priority prioritize access for users to support national security and public safety communications. Due to the critical nature of these services, it is essential that organizations have standard operating procedures (SOP) governing the programs’ use, execution, and testing. The SAFECOM Nationwide Survey found that only 18 percent of public safety organizations have developed interoperability policies for priority services. This webinar will focus on the benefits of these programs and the importance of developing and updating procedures governing the services to promote interoperability and continuity of communications. During the webinar, participants can expect to learn about:

  • The importance of reviewing and updating SOPs for PTS operations
  • How effective governance of these programs can support and improve continuity of communications
  • Resources and tools that can assist public safety agencies with accessing priority services and incorporating them into their SOPs

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March: Train and Exercise to Help Public Safety Personnel Overcome Information Overload, Stress, and Trauma

Working in public safety is stressful. New technologies being integrated into emergency communications are changing the nature of the jobs performed both in the field and at facilities such as emergency communications centers/public safety answering points and emergency operations centers. More technologies, applications, and services impact information volume and flow and increase the number of data sources. Additionally, these new technologies bring responders who are not on-scene closer to the impacts of a threat or hazard through photos, videos, and live streaming. Training and exercises need to evolve to combat the impacts these new information types and sources have on personnel and their work. The National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) encourages incorporating these “human factors” in training and exercises to prepare for the demands that voice, video, and data information place on public safety professionals. The National Association of State 911 Administrators and National Emergency Number Association are partnering with CISA on the webinar. Join the webinar to learn about: 

  • What human factors are and how they can impact public safety professionals  
  • How to leverage the NECP to address human factors in training and exercises 
  • Best practices and available resources that agencies can use to incorporate human factors into their own training and exercise programs

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View Archived 2020 Webinars

July: How Does Your Agency Start to Improve Its Cybersecurity Posture? Implement the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.   

As cyber threats and vulnerabilities grow in complexity and sophistication, the risks for public safety communications systems increases. The SAFECOM Nationwide Survey (SNS) showed that almost half of public safety organizations are not utilizing or adopting existing cybersecurity guidance documents. This webinar identifies actions organizations can take to improve their cyber posture through the implementation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework. Join the webinar to learn about:

  • Effectively implementing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework
  • Leveraging the NECP to enhance cybersecurity risk management practices
  • CISA Central and resources you can use to mitigate cyber risk

Presented in partnership with:


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August: Make the Most of Your Organization’s Investments: Lifecycle Planning for Emergency Communications. 

Public safety organizations rely on complex and often expensive systems to carry out their missions. Communications systems are not one-time investments; rather, system components require maintenance and funding throughout their lifespan. The SNS found that 25 percent of public safety organizations have no strategic planning process or plans in place. And of the organizations that do have a process in place, only 7 percent review their strategic plans annually. In this webinar, we will review real-world examples of how organizations are making the most of their investments by conducting emergency communications lifecycle planning. Join the webinar to learn about:

  • Using the NECP to close existing strategic planning gaps
  • Navigating the seven phases of the system lifecycle in the Emergency Communications System Lifecycle Planning Guide
  • Benefits of incorporating key stakeholders in lifecycle planning activities
  • Accounting for new and emerging technologies

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Lifecycle Planning for Emergency Communications (Webinar Factsheet)

September: EXERCISE! EXERCISE! EXERCISE! Learn How to Turn Evaluations Into Real-World Communications Improvements.

Effective training and exercise programs bolster emergency professionals’ proficiency with communications equipment, as well as improve their ability to execute policies, plans, and procedures governing the use of communications. The SNS showed strong participation in training and exercise programs, indicating progress in the right direction. However, it also found that very few public safety organizations use communications exercise evaluations to identify and capture gaps and needs. This webinar reviews ways to use evaluations to improve outcomes of emergency communications training and exercises in order to strengthen interoperability and continuity of communications. Join the webinar to learn about:

  • Implementing the NECP to close existing training and exercise evaluation gaps
  • Using the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program to develop quality exercise evaluation objectives and plans
  • Benefits of using third-party evaluators

Presented in partnership with:

FEMA National Exercise Division

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October: Money Talks: Funding Your Emergency Communications Capabilities

In order for public safety organizations to build, improve, expand, and support public safety communications systems, they must implement a variety of funding mechanisms, including grants. The identification of funding mechanisms to cover continually increasing costs is an ongoing challenge. The SNS found that most public safety organizations have either no funding or insufficient funding for capital investments in interoperability solutions, interoperability-related operations, or maintenance costs. Shortfalls in funding continue to affect the ability for organizations to properly maintain systems, conduct system lifecycle planning, and make decisions. This webinar assists participants in identifying funding mechanisms to support emergency communications projects. Join the webinar to learn about:

  • Federal grant guidance and opportunities that support emergency communications activities
  • Prioritizing communications needs and coordinating applications for federal financial assistance that align with the National Emergency Communications Plan
  • Developing a diverse portfolio of funding mechanisms to sustain emergency communications systems

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December: 5G is Here! How Will This Impact Emergency Communications?

New and emerging technologies offer advanced capabilities to enhance command, control, and situational awareness for emergency response. Yet, the rapid rate of technology advancement continues to outpace the public safety community acquisition cycle. The arrival of 5G – the fifth-generation technology standard for cellular networks – is one example. Telecommunications networks are evolving to this next generation of wireless technology. It is envisioned that 5G will have the potential to enhance operations, support information-sharing, improve efficiency and response time, augment security, and increase capacity for more connected devices. The SAFECOM Nationwide Survey found that more public safety organizations (60%) are currently using a cellular system than land mobile radio (57%), so they need to be prepared for the deployment of 5G. This webinar will identify actions organizations can take to prepare for the implementation of new solutions like 5G. Join the webinar to learn about:

  • 5G capabilities and impacts on public safety communications
  • CISA 5G Strategy and other resources on preparing for emerging technologies
  • Leveraging the NECP to address emerging technology challenges

Presented in partnership with:                                      

CISA National Risk Management Center

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