First on the Line

Source: Lisa Phillips-Morris, American City and County, March 1, 2009

Virtually free services give priority to first responders’ emergency calls.

There are very few ways to ensure that emergency communications operate without severe disruptions caused by hurricanes and fire, but the federal government offers low-cost options to keep landlines and wireless channels open to national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) personnel. By registering with the National Communications System (NCS), part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, emergency responders and government leaders can have priority status on congested land and wireless telephone systems during emergencies.

The Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) gives priority service to more than 210,000 landline users nationwide that maximizes use of all available telephone lines when networks are jammed. Through the service, emergency personnel receive priority processing in the public telephone network during any disaster or emergency.

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