Priority Telecommunications Services for First Responders

Dorie Chassin and Tim Runfola
Office of Emergency Communications, Department of Homeland Security

The ability to communicate and share information across jurisdictions and disciplines is vital for public safety personnel. However, during major events, such as natural disasters, traditional landline telephone circuits and cellular phone networks often become congested. 

As a result, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) provides the following services to federal, state, local, territorial and tribal emergency personnel, as well as industry personnel, to ensure ongoing communications under all circumstances: Government Emergency Telecommunications Services (GETS), Wireless Priority Services (WPS), and Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP). SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) utilize emerging technologies such as these to improve the way emergency response communications is handled during major events.

Successful call completion rates during large scale events, such as the Super Bowl and the Boston Marathon bombing, have shown these services drastically improve response operations. By familiarizing themselves with these services and implementing them when necessary, government leaders and emergency personnel will be better able to ensure they have access to reliable, resilient communications when they are needed most.  Read the full article, “Priority Telecommunications Services for First Responders” on the Technology Resources page to learn more.