This week the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is kicking off the second annual Emergency Communications Month to honor emergency communications professionals and highlight the critical role that emergency communications play in keeping connected during a disaster.
In an emergency, wireless and wireline communications can be degraded or overwhelmed, but those on the frontline still need to have timely and effective response. During Emergency Communications Month, CISA is encouraging all emergency communications partners to “Get Connected and Stay Connected” by enrolling in the agency’s free priority telecommunications services.
“As the nation’s cyber defense agency and the national coordinator for infrastructure security, CISA’s mission includes ensuring interoperable, secure and resilient emergency communications for the nation,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “This April, our second-ever Emergency Communications month, we are not only honoring our emergency communications partners across the nation but encouraging them to sign up for our priority telecommunications services. We want to ensure that together we are focusing on how they can integrate the next generation of emergency communications systems to keep our nation and the systems it depends on safe.”
Throughout April, CISA encourages emergency communications partners to enroll in free priority telecommunications services (PTS) like Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) and Wireless Priority Service (WPS) in order to maintain communications during crises. These services are critically important as they allow for communication with priority capability when networks are degraded or congested and allow for the exchange of information when needed most.
GETS covers wireline communications and WPS covers wireless communications. Anyone with a national security and emergency preparedness function is eligible to enroll. Additionally, Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP) covers repair and installation of critical voice and data circuits or IP-based services.
CISA also offers Tribal Emergency Communications Team (TECT) to help sovereign Native American and Alaska Native tribes "Get connected and Stay Connected" by providing direct and equal access to CISA technical assistance, priority communications services, grant funding, and other programs to facilitate to achieve or enhance effective operable and interoperable communications.
Through its emergency communications mission, CISA leads the nation’s operable and interoperable public safety and national security and emergency preparedness communications efforts. This includes addressing challenges like adopting and using new technology which opens the doors to vulnerabilities like cyber threats.