FirstNet Announces Smartphones for Life for Public Safety

Also, FirstNet applications like the e-Bridge app are being used to help first responders and medical professionals respond to the coronavirus pandemic by providing situational awareness and telemedicine capabilities.

by Jim McKay / April 3, 2020
Amid the coronavirus chaos, first responders and doctors are using FirstNet tools for critical communications and situational awareness.

Health-care professionals in Massachusetts are leveraging FirstNet app e-Bridge to screen for coronavirus and send alerts. Baystate Health had been using e-Bridge for the past year and this January launched a new coronavirus screening alert tool for the approximately 40 EMS agencies that use e-Bridge.
“Almost immediately, our partner EMS organizations started using the module to screen patients and send us alerts,” said Baystate Health senior manager Nathan Stanaway, in an email. “Every day at our flagship hospital, we welcome an average of 130 to 140 ambulance EMS patients.”

The app allows personnel at the hospital to learn about the patient being transported and where the patient is. “And then we simply click a button to alert the relevant specialty team that is then added to the case,” Stanaway wrote. The EMS organizations can then use e-Bridge to access video capability and use telemedicine as part of the paramedic and mobile integrated health programs.

Another EMS agency in Connecticut is using the same app to manage daily operations and ramp up its coronavirus response operations, having created a specific, dedicated channel for coronavirus information. The information includes status updates on the spread of the virus, best practices to keep medics safe and information on equipment related to the virus.

“It’s a full situational awareness application: Think mapping, think messaging, think presence,” said Scott Agnew, assistant vice president of AT&T Mobility. “It’s an application being used on a regular basis and it’s even more compelling for users in Connecticut now in this time of crisis to know where each other is, what each other is doing and they can message appropriately to those specific users.”

FirstNet also announced this week that FirstNet public safety subscribers can get free smartphone devices with an unlimited line of service. Now, agencies spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS,
healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 911 operations can stay up-to-date with smartphones for life at no additional cost and know their responders’ devices are up to the task when the next emergency strikes,” said Jason Porter, senior vice president of the FirstNet program at AT&T, in a press release.
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