Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg announced participation in a new nationwide first responder network at their administration’s weekly press conference Tuesday. Iowa is one of the first states in the country to opt-in to the FirstNet cell network. The network gives priority to police, fire and other emergency workers during a crisis.
Until now, first responders have used more than 10,000 different networks to communicate, creating issues during emergencies. First responders have also had to compete with consumers trying to access the same cellular network.
With FirstNet, Iowa’s first responders will have special SIM cards for their smartphones, putting them first on the network to connect and stay connected. The system will also provide interoperability, allowing first responders from different agencies, jurisdictions or even over state lines to talk to one another.