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Emergency Communication Networks

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

What's New?

WEA 2.0 Goes Live!

Picture of the National WEA Test
If you have a cell phone, chances are you’ve received an AMBER Alert or a weather alert. The loud tone and the buzzing likely warned you of flash flooding or another imminent danger in your area.
After seven years of service, those Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) getting a much-needed update, which will allow for:

  • Longer warning messages.
  • Multilingual capabilities.
  • New alert classes.
  • Better location accuracy of WEAs throughout Minnesota.
Read how these life-saving messages will keep you better informed in an emergency in our latest DPS blog.

Testing: 1, 2, 3...

Picture of ARMER Test in Lac Qui Parle County
Public safety agencies have many resources to aid them in responding to emergencies and keeping the public safe, but if those tools don’t work, the success of their response could be at risk.

That’s why it’s important for agencies to test their equipment and systems on a regular basis. Recently, Lac Qui Parle County conducted a drill to ensure that emergency responders, healthcare providers and 911 dispatchers were familiar with the state’s land mobile radio system known as ARMER (Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response). The drill involved 16 different agencies across all disciplines that provide emergency services in Lac Qui Parle County.

First responders will take the lessons learned from the drill to improve training and identify equipment needs.

ARMER is managed by ECN. Learn more about ARMER here.  

First of 23 FirstNet Cell Towers Installed in Minnesota

​The next time you take a trip to Itasca State Park, you can take comfort in knowing that public safety officials in that area have a dedicated wireless broadband network to respond to emergency calls. That means, first responders no longer have to compete with the public to exchange information and data.

FirstNet recently installed the cell tower in Zerkel—just to the east of the White Earth Reservation. Prior to the installation of this tower, broadband coverage in that area was scarce. The tower will give public safety—such as law enforcement, fire and EMS—reliable and dedicated wireless broadband coverage. This is the first of 23 cell sites that will be installed across the state to build the dedicated wireless broadband network for Minnesota’s first responders. FirstNet aims to install the remaining towers over the next year.

Learn how ECN is helping to shape this new dedicated wireless broadband service for public safety.
Click here to learn more about FirstNet.

International Radio Test Between Minnesota and Ontario

Minnesota Ontario ARMER Interoperability Test

Minnesota continues to lead the way in public safety communications after Koochiching County and Ontario conducted a first-ever cross-border test of the land mobile radio system known as ARMER (Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response). The test was part of a larger international emergency interoperability exercise held earlier this month.

How did it work? Exercise participants created a “patch” (or a connection) between Minnesota’s system and Ontario’s Public Safety Network. Once the patch was stable, both U.S. and Canadian dispatch centers and first responder agencies tested the communication pathway. This was made possible with a newly designed patch that allowed the connection between separate frequencies on the two radio networks.

Koochiching County Emergency Management Coordinator Willi Kostiuk says, “The ability to communicate with our resource partners in the Fort Frances, Ontario area when a disaster strikes is the key to a successful and unified response…and may ultimately save lives.” Learn more about the ARMER system, which is managed by ECN.

Featured Video

Video Description: Call if you can, text if you can't. Learn about Text-to-911.