FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb 28, 2013) – Kentucky Emergency Management Director John Heltzel was recently named to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), which is comprised of 40 representatives of public safety organizations across the nation.

“It is an honor to have been chosen for this committee,” Heltzel said. “This group is dedicated to assuring first-responders and public safety agencies will have the necessary capabilities to communicate, thus making them safer and more effective.”
Heltzel is a retired brigadier general in the Kentucky National Guard and brings years of experience in communications, technology and leadership capabilities to Emergency Management. Heltzel serves as treasurer and chair of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact Committee, part of the National Emergency Management Association.

During his tenure with the Kentucky National Guard, Heltzel helped Kentucky become nationally recognized as a leader in Information Technology and Communications Systems. Heltzel has been influential in the development of several automated applications that have been adopted nationally.

In February 2012, Congress enacted The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which mandated the creation of a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network to enable police, firefighters, emergency medical service professionals and other public safety officials to more effectively communicate while performing their duties.
The law created the FirstNet, an independent authority within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Congress charged FirstNet to take “all actions necessary” to build, deploy, and operate the network, in consultation with federal, state, tribal and local public policy entities.

The wireless broadband network is not just for emergency use, Heltzel said.
“While the nationwide wireless broadband network for public safety will be most critical during severe emergencies, it will also improve public safety response on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

Additional information on FirstNet and PSAC can be found at http://www.commerce.gov/news/fact-sheets/2012/08/20/fact-sheet-first-responder-network-authority-firstnet .
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