CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Officials are already taking steps to enhance safety for the next Boy Scout Jamboree in 2017.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said Friday that legislation approved last year would build a nationwide high-speed network that will allow state and federal emergency responders to communicate wirelessly.
"FirstNet, a state-of-the-art, high-speed, wireless network currently being rolled out is going to absolutely revolutionize first responder communications nationwide. And it will have a profound impact on future Boy Scout Jamborees," Rockefeller said in a news release.
Rockefeller authored the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act, which was included in tax relief legislation passed last year.
The new law will help prevent the kind of communications failures that occurred during rescue efforts at Ground Zero on 9/11 and at the Upper Big Branch mine, when first responders did not have access to a single, unifying network for communicating with each other, according to the release.
"FirstNet will provide a more cost effective, reliable, resilient, and responsive alternative to the use of satellite or commercial carrier wireless data networks," said Major General James A. Hoyer, West Virginia's adjutant general. "This is critical to future Jamborees and state disaster response efforts because it will enhance first responder access to mobile video, mapping data, position based location services, and a myriad of other technologies."
Jimmy Gianato, director of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security, said West Virginia ran multiple communications networks and systems in managing the Jamboree.
"By deploying the National Public Safety Broadband Network in WV, all data communications could be run and managed on a single network available to all of the federal, state and local partners supporting the event," Gianato said in a statement. "The deployment by FirstNet here will be a huge accomplishment in furthering public safety interoperability and information sharing."