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Biohazard and chemical terrorism demand a higher level of situational awareness, integrated voice and data comms

Two recent initiatives – near San Francisco and in Los Angeles – are helping to illustrate the reliability of FirstNet®, the only network built with and for first responders and those who support them.

FirstNet, Built with AT&T is giving public safety agencies a level of support during emergencies and planned events that’s far beyond anything they’ve ever seen. And when you look at the full public safety response required, the need for the type of interoperable communications that FirstNet is enabling is critical.

For example, the Department of Homeland Security ranks the San Francisco Bay Area 5th nationally for a terrorist attack risk. Radiological terrorism is a real threat.

Radiological terrorism exercise

That’s why local and state public safety and government agencies from Northern California held an exercise earlier this year at the former site of the U.S. Naval Weapons Station in Concord, California. This included CalOES and the Oakland Fire Department. And they turned to FirstNet, America’s public safety network, to strengthen their incident response.

“As we deal with emerging threats posed by natural disasters, technological incidents and acts of terrorism, first responders must embrace new and evolving technologies, like FirstNet, Built with AT&T, if they want to be successful,” said Philip White, Lead Exercise Planner, Sentinel Response 2021 Exercise. “Events from the last year have stressed the importance of having a back-up to our radio networks that also offers end-to-end encryption, needed access to the internet to run our incident management applications, creation of incident talk-groups and cellular network priority access for first responders through its preemption capabilities.”

Watch the video to see how local and state public safety and government agencies from Northern California used FirstNet during this planned radiological terrorism exercise, as well as a Compact Rapid Deployable to ensure they’re ready for this kind of threat.

Monitoring hazardous situations

The Los Angeles City Fire Department and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health are using FirstNet and Safe Environment Engineering to access critical information while in the field.

The Los Angeles City Fire Department uses FirstNet on frontline apparatus, vehicles, modems, routers, and department-issued smartphones. And the LA County Department of Public Health Radiation Management uses FirstNet services on smartphones.

Safe Environment Engineering provides an IoT system solution for collecting, monitoring, displaying, notifying and aggregating instrumentation sensor data. This includes the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosives (CBRNE) family of devices. First responders and other personnel use Safe Environment Engineering solutions to detect and monitor CBRNE hazardous situations, such as gas leaks, refinery explosions, and poisonous plumes/clouds.

The Safe Environment Engineering solutions support access to the physically separate and dedicated FirstNet network core, which enables First Priority® capabilities on FirstNet – always-on priority and, for first responders, preemption – and the Band 14 spectrum. The LAFD and LA County Department of Public Health feel confident the Safe Environment Engineering solution combined with FirstNet services will provide the necessary critical connectivity they need in a reliable, highly secure and cost-effective manner.

“Working with Safe Environment Engineering and FirstNet we have established a Los Angeles County-wide radiation detection network,” said Jeffrey Day, Director, Radiation Management, Environmental Health, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “This system is utilized regularly and was key in our response efforts during the Fukushima disaster.”

Go to to learn more about how the LAFD and LA County Department of Public Health are using FirstNet,

What is FirstNet

FirstNet is the nationwide wireless communications platform built with and for first responders. It grew out of the devastating losses from the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The attacks exposed glaring weaknesses in our communications systems. Cell service was spotty. Countless emergency response teams could not communicate using their trusted radios. And many first responders lost their lives.

So, the public safety community advocated for a reliable, communications network for first responders. In 2012, Congress established the First Responder Network Authority and charged it with building a network just for first responders.

And FirstNet was born. FirstNet is built for all public safety. That means every first responder in the country – career or volunteer; federal, tribal, state or local; urban, suburban or rural. And reaching rural and remote parts of America is one of our top priorities.

Using all AT&T LTE bands and Band 14 spectrum, FirstNet already covers more than 99 percent of the U.S. population today.

For more information about FirstNet in California, go to, or please contact Kristi Mercado at

@2021 AT&T Intellectual Property. FirstNet and the FirstNet logo are registered trademarks of the First Responder Network Authority.  All other marks are the property of their respective owners.