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Many Minnesotans have received Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) for severe weather threats or maybe an Amber Alert. But earlier this month, that messaging system was used in a whole new way in New York. Authorities there sent out several WEAs to warn people of a bomb as well as the suspect who’s accused of planting the device. It’s believed to be the first time the nationwide WEA system was used as a “wanted poster” of sorts. The decision grabbed the attention of New York cell phone users along with public safety personnel nationwide.
Review how Minnesota uses WEAs as part of the Integrated Public Alert Warning System on our new DPS blog.
While planning continues for a dedicated wireless broadband network in Minnesota, a new map is showing how FirstNet will roll out for first responders across the state. The goal is to make it available statewide based on capacity and coverage needs in five phases. This means Minnesota’s metro areas, along with our state highways and interstates will be the first locations to have access to the network—making emergency response more efficient and effective.
The proposed build-out map is currently under consideration, but may be accessed here.
While the overhaul of 911 systems continues across the nation, Minnesota is receiving recognition for the progress it has made with the Next Generation 911 (NG911) backbone. Work began in 2009 using E911 funds and, five years later, the internet protocol based structure went live. The backbone serves as the framework to support future technological functions such as Text-to-911 which will include multimedia messaging.
Dana Wahlberg, 911 Program Manager with Emergency Communication Networks, recently shared Minnesota’s achievements with NG911. Read the Emergency Management Magazine article here.