AT&T tech will make Noblesville safer, fire chief says

Noblesville FirstNet (WISH Photo)

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) –The newest public safety tool coming to Noblesville is not a fire truck or a police car: It’s a stronger internet and cellular connection.

Noblesville is the first Indiana city to partner with an AT&T-built communications platform specifically for first responders.

Firefighters and police are currently relying on a cellular hot spot connection when they’re working. Responding to rural areas and crowded events can hamper that connection.

First responders use an internet connection to share information and to see where they need to be and what they need to know as they respond to a scene.

The new network, called FirstNet, gives first responders a constant, reliable connection according to AT&T.

Gov. Eric Holcomb opted Indiana into the network last fall.

Noblesville Fire Chief Greg Wyant said he expected to start using FirstNet this spring, as the Indiana network is still being built.

Wyant said the technology can “absolutely” save someone’s life.

“If it wasn’t there, we could be slower getting there,” he said. “Imagine a police officer going into a scene that (police) had been to a lot, but he or she didn’t necessarily know that. When they get there, if they know that ahead of time, they’re able to mentally prepare for what’s coming.”

Noblesville city leaders say they’re already in an AT&T contract, and FirstNet won’t cost them anything extra.

The federal government started looking into a communications network for first responders shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. AT&T entered a deal with FirstNet and the United States government to build networks across the country.