5G technology helping Arizona first responders prepare for calls

While driving to a call, firefighters can download information about a building. Once they arrive, they can get instant images from the drone.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 9:11 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 10:10 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The latest 5G technology is improving how police and fire departments respond to calls in Arizona. Officials with Verizon and Verizon Frontline were at the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix Tuesday night to showcase the latest tech.

Fire crews are better prepared than ever when they head out on a call. Verizon has hundreds of trucks and equipment that can be deployed to natural disasters or wherever needed. The trucks use a satellite to set up a 5G network where service may not exist or is down. That can give first responders a way to communicate and access information quickly.

Maggie Hallbach is the President of Verizon Frontline. She says technology has come a long way, even in the past ten years. “It’s not just about voice communication anymore. It’s about data and delivering that data to that first responder who needs it most,” she explained.

She says Verizon has had more than 50 deployments in Arizona over the past two years. “That gives the first responders the coverage and capacity they need in order to have situational awareness when they’re doing their jobs,” Hallbach said.

Former Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner is on the Verizon First Responders Advisory Council. She works with Verizon to talk about the challenges crews face daily, and Verizon figured out a way to help. “I’m not a technology person I just know when I pick up the phone, I expect it to work,” she said. “As we’re driving to the call this information is in front of us before you had a map book to get there driving.”

Kalkbrenner says the technology is helping firefighters be better prepared. While driving to a call, they can download information about a building. Once they arrive, they can get instant images from the drone, which can help them decide on a strategy to battle the flames.

She says that helps protect crews, and safety is her number one concern. “It keeps me up at night, but now I’m so comfortable that we have things to help us get through the night, so to speak,” Kalkbrenner said.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego was at the event as well. She said this technology is important for big events like the Super Bowl. With so many people coming to the Valley in February, the latest technology will allow more people to get the fastest coverage. “Everyone who is coming to downtown Phoenix is expecting their cell phone to work,” Mayor Gallego said. “Our first responders need to be able to communicate because the one thing that’s for certain is something will come up.”