FirstNet Plans Emerg Drop Kits, As a ‘Connected Bubble’ for Public Safety

New Response Operations Program to Provide Unprecedented Emergency Support Customized for Each State
New Response Operations Program to Provide Unprecedented Emergency Support Customized for Each State

In an emergency, communication is critical to response efforts. That’s why former public safety officials and first responders on the AT&TFirstNet team, in collaboration with Sonim, are creating Emergency Drop Kits.

These portable kits will envelop first responders in a 300-foot “connected bubble,” letting them maintain constant communication to better coordinate their response.

The Emergency Drop Kits are being designed for use during emergencies in rural and remote areas, as well as areas where communications may be temporarily unavailable. Think wildfires or hurricanes.

Incident commanders will be able to drop in the kits for rapid connectivity to FirstNet. First responders will also be able to take the kits with them in the field.

Ideal for short-term situations or as an interim solution until a FirstNet dedicated deployable arrives, a typical Emergency Drop Kit will include:

A Cradlepoint LTE router equipped with a FirstNet Ready™ MC400 modem and integrated Wi-Fi.

MC400 Modular Modem Benefits Include:


  • Cradlepoint first responder solutions are available for in-vehicle, in-station, and mobile command center networks.
  • All FirstNet features across all spectrum bands are fully supported, including priority and pre-emption.
  • The MC400 includes support for Band 14, which is critical in areas where other bands are limited.
  • Cradlepoint solutions are field upgradeable, first-day ready, and easily managed from the cloud.
  • Dual-modem Cradlepoint routers offer maximum reliability by supporting FirstNet with failover to alternative carrier networks.
  • AER2200, COR IBR1700, and IBR900 Series routers support full unified edge security with FIPS 140-2 validated.
  • Use the MC400 FirstNet Ready modem in new deployments or easily upgrade existing Cradlepoint products that accept an MC400 modem.

This will provide a highly secure and reliable data communications hub with intelligent failover to Inmarsat Government satellite service.

Four FirstNet Ready Sonim XP8 devices.

Sonim XP8 Features Include:

Sonim XP8 reliable ultra-rugged smartphone, built to provide those who serve with the smart communication they need, regardless of situation or environment
  • Survive hazardous environments with IP-68, IP-69, MIL 810G, Non-Incendive Class I, II & III Div 2 ratings
  • Instantly connect and share private information on the nation’s only dedicated public safety network with FirstNet and B14 capabilities
  • Access programmable buttons and applications in any condition with Gloved hand/Wet finger operation
  • Hear every word even in the noisiest places with Extremely Loud & Clear Audio
  • Connect instantly, reliably, every single time with Push-To-Talk*
  • Communicate more powerfully, more freely with Handset Powered Audio Accessories connected through Sonim’s SecureAudio Connector
  • Enjoy all-day power with Multi-shift Battery Life

These will come preloaded with FirstNet Certified and Reviewed apps – like Intrepid Response – to help improve public safety’s situational awareness.

The Intrepid Response app can show each first responder’s live GPS location in the field, so command can “see” where they are and what’s happening around them.

Chris Sambar, senior vice president-FirstNet, AT&T Global Public Sector
Chris Sambar, senior vice president-FirstNet, AT&T Global Public Sector

“This is a great example of how FirstNet is driving focused innovation for first responders,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T-FirstNet.

“To create the Emergency Drop Kits, we’re pulling in expertise from public safety and across the industry.”

“The kits will make it even easier for first responders to stay connected to the full capabilities of their network – no matter where their mission takes them.”

FirstNet will bring first responders added coverage and capacity through the Band 14 buildout.

This will help provide greater access to the connectivity they need, where they need it. This includes rural and remote areas.

(Learn More. Hear from Chris Sambar, AT&T’s senior vice president of FirstNet,  about FirstNet’s plans and recent developments during IWCE 2018. Courtesy of RCR Wireless News and YouTube. Posted on Mar 27, 2018.)

The build is also bringing more network resiliency to first responders, as critical sites are being hardened to meet their needs.

The drop kits will serve as an additional tool to help ensure first responders are not without the critical communications they rely on. The kits are currently moving from a proof of concept to a reality for future availability to purchase.

(Learn More. Lives depend on first responders’ ability to communicate in disaster and emergency. That is why FirstNet was created – to develop a wireless, mobile network to modernize public safety communications and keep first responders connected when it counts the most. Courtesy of FirstNet and YouTube. Posted on Feb 23, 2017.)

Giving public safety greater control of their network

The AT&T FirstNet team is also establishing a Response Operations Program to strengthen public safety’s command and control of their network.

The program aligns with the National Incident Management System to better guide the deployment of the FirstNet dedicated deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.

Right now, FirstNet users have a “lending library” of deployable assets, but they don’t have the situational awareness to make sure those resources go where public safety needs them most.

With the Response Operations Program, the AT&T FirstNet team is working to embed liaisons within each state Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to deploy assets based on their situational awareness of life safety, incident stabilization and property conservation.

Fred Scalera, director of public safety strategy and policy, AT&T-FirstNet
Fred Scalera, director of public safety strategy and policy, AT&T-FirstNet

“First responders don’t just deserve their own network and communications platform. They deserve a true network partner,” added Fred Scalera, director of public safety strategy and policy, AT&T-FirstNet, and former public safety official.

“That’s what they are getting with FirstNet and the new Response Operations Program.”

“As their partner, we don’t control where deployable assets go. Public safety does.”

The AT&T FirstNet team is currently working to meet with every state to properly tailor the program to their distinct needs.

New Response Operations Program to Provide Unprecedented Emergency Support Customized for Each State (Courtesy of AT&T)
New Response Operations Program to Provide Unprecedented Emergency Support Customized for Each State (Courtesy of AT&T)

During incidents, dedicated liaisons will be available to provide 24/7 support to the state EOCs.

And as the program continues to grow, liaisons will join county and municipal EOCs where personnel are available to do so.

Liaisons will serve as the primary link between public safety and their FirstNet resources, coordinating across federal, state, local and tribal agencies.

This will give public safety agencies a level of support during emergencies that’s far beyond anything they’ve ever seen.

This close integration with public safety and EOCs will enable the AT&T FirstNet team to better solve first responders’ communications challenges – whether via deploying network assets or expediting network restoration.

For example, after a tornado in Connecticut wiped out a third-party’s fiber lines, we were able to find a solution to restore the physical network in hours versus days to keep FirstNet users connected.

(Learn More. When the town of Brookfield, Connecticut was hit hard by a tremendous storm with wind speeds over 100 miles per hour, most of the area’s communications infrastructure was damaged and overloaded. Thanks to a quick response, first responders were outfitted with 30 FirstNet “ready” devices connected to a deployable SatCOLT (satellite cell on light truck) to support Brookfield. Courtesy of FirstNet and YouTube. Posted on Jun 8, 2018.)

And, when the Texas City Police Department requested a deployable network asset for additional emergency support, FirstNet deployed an asset within hours.

“With FirstNet, we are finally seeing a network that understands and answers to our needs – no strings attached,” said Robert Turner, systems administrator, City of Texas City and Texas City Police Department.

“This type of commitment is exactly what the public safety community is looking for.”

FirstNet is the nationwide public safety communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders.

Being built with AT&T, in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, FirstNet is bringing public safety a much-needed technology upgrade to help them connect to the critical information they need.

To learn more about how FirstNet is helping public safety, go to, or stop by the FirstNet booth (#836) at this week’s APCO 2018 Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.