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posted by IT Admin

March 31, 2020 - Update notes and resources posted in document below

Ongoing FCC efforts to assist during COVID-19 pandemic

posted by IT Admin   [ updated ]

March 31, 2020 - In addition to the activity below, you can track all of the FCC's COVID-19-related items on the FCC's  Keep Americans Connected page.
  • New Hospital Robocall Protection Group: While it's hard to believe that scammers and fraudsters would clog up hospital phone lines with nuisance calls in a time of crisis, it is a reality. And the last thing health care facilities should need to worry about right now is robocalls. So the FCC launched a group to help combat these calls.
  • Helping Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands stay connected: The FCC granted AT&T temporary access to use additional spectrum (AWS-4 spectrum licensed to DISH) to serve Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands during the pandemic. The Commission under Chairman Pai has placed a special emphasis on connectivity on the islands following the devastating storms that hit them in recent years. This move comes on the heels of several other temporary spectrum grants to boost wireless networks across the country.
  • Relief for Rural Health Care Program participants: The FCC took a number of actions to assist rural healthcare facilities, including extending the program application window and other administrative deadlines. Healthcare providers have faced massive disruption due to the pandemic, and the FCC, alongside other federal agencies, is working to address these challenges head on. These changes will help these providers focus more of their attention on caring for patients.
  • Temporary access to 5.9 GHz Spectrum: Like everyone, rural Americans are facing an increased need for broadband services as more of us work, learn, and get healthcare at home. Fixed wireless Internet providers serve many of these rural areas and having additional spectrum will help them meet the needs of their customers. The FCC is granting temporary access to 5.9 GHz spectrum to 33 Internet providers serving 330 counties in 29 states.
  • Zoom and WebEx regulatory relief: Inteliquent, the company that carries traffic for Zoom and WebEx, has faced a massive increase in conference calls. Normally, that would trigger the FCC's "access arbitrage" rules leading to financial penalties. The FCC has granted a waiver from these rules to help Americans stay connected to these services.
  • Connectivity on the Pueblo of Zuni tribal reservation: The FCC granted emergency access to 2.5 GHz spectrum for the A:SHIWI College & Career Readiness Center to provide broadband service to the Zuni tribe in New Mexico. Chairman Pai has seen the digital divide first-hand on tribal lands in New Mexico, and is committed to finding creative solutions to close that divide, including through this action.
  • Keeping Low-income Americans connected to Lifeline: The FCC took action to help ensure that no current Lifeline subscribers are involuntarily removed from the program during the pandemic. Specifically, the Commission waived several rules that could otherwise result in de-enrollment of Lifelien, which provides monthly discounts on broadband and voice services to low-income consumers.
  • $200 Million plan for COVID-19 Telehealth Program: Chairman Pai announced his plan for a $200 million telehealth program to support healthcare providers responding to the ongoing pandemic. Congress appropriated the funds as part of the CARES Act. This will allow the FCC to help health care providers purchase telecommunications, broadband connectivity, and devices necessary for providing telehealth services. These services would directly help COVID-19 patients and provide care to patients with other conditions who might risk contracting the coronavirus when visiting a healthcare provider—while reducing practitioners’ potential exposure to the virus.


posted Mar 25, 2020, 2:22 PM by IT Admin

March 25, 2020 -  In its latest actions the FCC has taken to address COVID-19 and connectivity, FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai is "committed to using every legal means at the FCC’s disposal to help Americans deal with the coronavirus pandemic." As a reminder, you can track everything on the FCC's response to COVID-19 at https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected.

  • FCC granted Verizon temporary access to AW3-band spectrum licensed to other companies. The FCC also granted Verizon and AT&T temporary access to AWS-4 band spectrum licensed to DISH. These moves will help ensure that, as more Americans turn to telework, 
  • remote learning, and telehealth, wireless networks have additional capacity.
  • Unfortunately, scammers and frausters are taking advantage of this crisis to try and rip off Americans by preying on coronavirus-related fears. The FCC launched a COVID-19 Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips webpage to help make consumers aware of these scams and guard against fraud. The page includes audio samples of fraudulent calls as well as additional resources from other agencies like the FDA and FTC.
  • In order to slow the spread of this disease, communication to the public about social distancing and other health and safety information is vital. The FCC issued a Declaratory Ruling to ensure that public health authorities can communicate to the public by phone without worrying about running afoul of anti-robocall law. Specifically, the FCC confirmed that COVID-19 constitutes an "emergency" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and that hospitals, health care providers, and state and local health officials may lawfully communicate information.
  • The FCC announced that its monthly meeting, scheduled for March 31, will be held wholly online and open to viewing by the public at https://www.fcc.gov/live. Because of these extraordinary circumstances, the agenda items will be voted on by Commissioners prior to the meeting.
  • The Keep Americans Connected Pledge has surpassed 500 signers for a total of 580, and more continue to roll in. These broadband and telephone providers have agreed 1) not to terminate service due to the inability of consumers to pay bills during this crisis, 2) waive late fees caused by the pandemic, and 3) open their Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them. Many companies have gone above and beyond the pledge, including offering free service to low-income households and students. Some of those new offerings we've seen since our prior announcements are listed here.
  • And finally, the FCC moved its 3.5 GHz auction from June 25 to July 23 due to the pandemic. The Commission also indefinitely postponed an auction of FM construction permits originally scheduled for April 28. These changes were deemed necessary in order to protect the health and safety of FCC staff and to allow partied additional time to prepare for the auctions.


posted Mar 24, 2020, 4:30 PM by IT Admin

 March 24, 2020 - EMS Stakeholder Call Information on COVID-19 Update notes and resources including the Office for Civil Rights HIPPA disclosures for EMS and other first responders.  (See posted document below.)

FCC takes additional steps to help during COVID-19

posted Mar 18, 2020, 12:37 PM by IT Admin

March 18, 2020 - The FCC has taken additional steps to keep Americans connected to communications services as we all grapple with the novel coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Chairman Pai urged Internet and phone providers to take actions that go beyond the three pillars of the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, and many have heeded this call, including by increasing speeds, lifting data caps, and offering 60 days or more of free service for students and low-income households. Pai tweeted his appreciation here. For more information, see our press release (also pasted below my signature). It is not an exhaustive list, but should help give you an idea of the additional steps providers are taking.
  • Today, the FCC waived gift rules in the Rural Health Care and E-Rate programs to make it easier for broadband providers to support telehealth and remote learning efforts during the pandemic. This will allow service providers to offer, and for program participants to solicit and accept, improved connections or additional equipment for telemedicine or remote learning.
  • Yesterday, the FCC granted U.S. cellular temporary access to additional spectrum to help meet the increased demand for mobile broadband during the pandemic. This will provide additional capacity to U.S. Cellular customers in parts of California, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. This follows a similar effort by T-Mobile previously announced. The FCC also waived certain recertification and reverification requirements in the Lifeline program for 60 days. These changes will help consumers stay connected to affordable communications services by easing burdens both on Lifeline subscribers and Lifeline carriers.
  • The Chairman on Monday held a conference call with radio and television broadcasters to commend their coronavirus response and call for further action. Specifically, the Chairman urged broadcasters to work with cable and satellite video operators to avoid blackouts and service disruptions over the next 60 days, such as by agreeing to short-term extensions of expiring retransmission consent agreements. The FCC will also provide broadcasters with flexibility in the inventive auction repack to address disruptions.


posted Mar 17, 2020, 4:09 PM by IT Admin

March 17, 2020 - EMS Stakeholder Call Information on COVID-19 Update notes and resources posted in document below

CDC's Guidance on keeping home/workplace/school safe

posted Mar 11, 2020, 7:23 AM by IT Admin   [ updated Mar 11, 2020, 7:26 AM ]

March 11, 2010 - The Center for Disease Control has issued guidelines to help keep yourself and other safe as our country faces questions involving the COVID-19 coronavirus. Those guidelines can found at this link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/workplace-school-and-home-guidance.pdf 


posted Mar 10, 2020, 4:03 PM by IT Admin   [ updated Mar 10, 2020, 4:10 PM ]

 March 10, 2020 -  Crisis Standards of Care: EMS Toolkit (IOM 2013) is available. NASNA is also posting current information at page section and at our "Current Issues" page (available by clicking the CURRENT ISSUES option above). 

Georgia Emergency Management shares COVID-19 Information with its Public Safety Community

posted Mar 6, 2020, 8:19 AM by IT Admin   [ updated Mar 6, 2020, 8:51 AM ]

March 6, 2020 - Georgia Emergency Management shares COVID-19 Information and has made it available to others through the NASNA website here:            

In partnership with the Georgia Office of EMS and Trauma, we are asking that all PSAPs please continue to monitor the CDC’s website regarding 911 and EMS guidelines concerning COVID-19. This information can be found here. The CDC also has guidance on evaluating and reporting persons under investigation here.


You and your communications officers are encouraged to ask COVID-19 related questions (defined by CDC) when COVID-19 may be suspected and relay the information to EMS, fire, and law enforcement personnel responding prior to arrival.


In addition to asking COVID-19 related questions, there are three specific situations where, if applicable, in your situation that you examine processes related to the flow of information.


Situation 1: Law enforcement and/or fire personnel are dispatched to assist EMS from a single PSAP.

  • In this situation, please evaluate the processes used to share information between the communications officers assigned to each discipline, making sure that each of the responders receives the information prior to arrival.


Situation 2: The PSAP receives the initial call then transfers that call to a secondary PSAP/dispatch center to communicate directly with the 911 caller.

  • An example of this would be, when a privately owned EMS agency is responsible for 911 calls within your jurisdiction. After the initial screening of the call at the 911 center, the call is transferred to the EMS service’s dispatch center. In this situation, it is imperative that the dispatch center has a process to relay pertinent information they are able to obtain from the caller back to the 911 Center for dissemination to responding fire and law enforcement personnel.


Situation 3: The PSAP receives the initial call, and then notifies a secondary PSAP/dispatch center of the need for an ambulance to be dispatched.

  • An example of this would be, when an EMS agency is responsible for 911 calls within your jurisdiction and has their own dispatch center, but they do not communicate directly with the 911 caller. In this situation, it is imperative that the PSAP has a process in place to relay pertinent information they are able to obtain from the caller to the secondary dispatch center for dissemination to responding EMS personnel.


Attached is the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch’s Emerging Infectious Disease Surveillance Tool as a resource.


If you have any additional questions regarding COVID-19, please contact your Regional EMS Director.

EMS Stakeholder Update on COVID-19

posted Mar 3, 2020, 3:09 PM by IT Admin

March 3, 2020 - Additional resources have been made available to 911 and the public through  NHTSA's Office of EMS and CDC, including the newly issued "What Law Enforcement Personnel Need to Know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)" That link and others can be found in the attached document.

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