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New communications system helps emergency response

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Fire Department has been testing a next generation communications system called FirstNet.

Communication is at the heart of any emergency response and when it comes to police, fire and medics most of us think radio when we should think data.

One advantage of sending data versus radio, is that it saves a lot of time. Data is dependent on cell networks and Greg Hauser with the Charlotte Fire Department says it really becomes a problem when a large group experiences an emergency at once.

For example, if everybody takes out their cellphones to report an emergency during a Panthers game, the network will slow down, potentially making it more difficult for officials to respond.

This is an issue first responders are trying to combat with FirstNet. "It's a problem and we're seeing it more and more in public safety every day," said Hauser.

The Charlotte Fire Department tried the new communications system during CIAA and Billy Graham’s funeral.

Hauser said one benefit of the system is that “if we get a 911 call from someone who sees an assailant or someone that's doing harm to other people we could potentially send over a picture to those responding officers."

That is one benefit that could ,in turn, save many lives.

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