First responders are often the difference between life and death or disaster and safety for the people who need their services. Whether they're law enforcement officers, firefighters, or EMS teams, a great deal depends on their success. In turn, they depend more than ever on mobile data and cell phone technology. Cell phones help teams stay connected no matter where they are. They let them receive timely and detailed information while enhancing their agility.

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For critical public safety users, having a strong and reliable cellular signal is a top priority. Ultimately, a cell signal is just radio waves, and there are a number of factors that can easily block or interfere with it:

  • Tall structures and terrain features

  • Adverse weather conditions

  • Construction materials in dense urban locations or inside buildings

  • Distance from the nearest cell tower

  • Heavy levels of network traffic

All of these can cause first responders to experience poor signal or interruption in coverage. Fortunately, there’s a way to compensate for this — cell phone signal boosters like those provided by WilsonPro.

How Cell Phone Signal Boosters Work

A signal booster generally functions by bringing together three things:

  • A donor antenna that captures an external signal from the nearest tower.

  • An amplifier that boosts signals both sent to and received by mobile devices.

  • An inside antenna that distributes the boosted signal inside a building or vehicle.

HIW_Diagram_GIF_03There are two kinds of boost that these components provide: gain (a measure of how much the signal is amplified) and downlink output power (a measure of how much signal the amplifier can retransmit inside a building or a vehicle).

The best signal boosters work with multiple carriers rather than depending on a single service provider—offering flexibility while providing the strongest possible combination of gain and downlink output power. All of this comes together to provide a stronger, more reliable cellular signal.

Wilson signal boosters operate on this philosophy, using proprietary digital technology to deliver the best possible mobile support for first responders.

5 Benefits of Cell Phone Signal Boosters for First Responders

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With the backing of reliable mobile technology, first responders can enhance their operations in a number of crucial ways. Having the support they need increases their odds of delivering a positive outcome in any situation. Mobile phones have played key roles in disasters, including the Boston Marathon bombing, the Haitian earthquake of 2010, and Atlantic storms like Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Maria. The list hardly stops there — countless other emergency and rescue events have depended on cell phones in the years since the smartphone's rise to prominence.

Here are five of the major benefits that mobile devices with reliable signal, supported by a cell phone signal booster, can provide for first responder teams.

1. Compensation for the Limitations of Two-Way Radio

The most common first responder tool for communication is still the two-way radio. But the same factors that can interrupt cell phone signal can interfere even more dramatically with radio communication. First responders have often found themselves operating in radio "dark spots" when dealing with emergencies.

In these situations, resorting to their cell phones to coordinate operations provides a critical alternative that can help save lives. When faced with these challenges, cell phone signal boosting can provide peace of mind that makes all the difference.

2. Improved Preparedness and Situational Awareness

Mobile technology is useful in supplementing information from radio dispatch centers and control rooms. Giving first responders access to detailed reports and multimedia can help them understand the current conditions and the incident they're responding to. That makes it possible to better prepare a response strategy — mitigating risk and maximizing the odds of success if the team has reliable cellular signal.

Likewise, teams with access to mobile technology can make use of file sharing, video analytics, and online databases while on-site. This way, it’s easier to enhance situational awareness for both first responders and dispatchers. With the best-available information at their fingertips, emergency response teams can communicate more efficiently and better coordinate their efforts.

3. Robust Access to Wireless Emergency Alerts

Strong signal also means being able to access the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) network. The WEA is used during critical events to send out threat notifications, AMBER alerts, and other government notices.

Timely access to WEA is crucial for first responder teams, allowing swift and accurate response to rapidly-changing conditions. Without such access, keeping teams updated on the status of developments like shelter-in-place orders can be difficult — and therefore dangerous.

4. Communication and Information Sharing From Almost Anywhere

Mobile devices let first responders complete reports, send emails, search databases, and get critical information where it needs to go. In-vehicle cellular signal boosters also work to keep GPS devices online, so dispatchers can locate their team in real time.

From any location where there's available signal to amplify, a signal booster can enhance signal strength. This makes it far easier for teams to stay in touch and provide the most effective possible service to the public.

5. Access to Real-Time Digital Automation and Reporting

Being able to carry out administrative tasks and compile reports while on the move gives first responders more time to devote to the work of managing public safety. With access to reliable signal, they can share photos, use automated transcription tools for interviews, and compile real-time insights for the creation of accurate reports.

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Finding the Best Signal Booster Options for First Responders

With all of the above said, it's important to note something candidly — there are situations where signal boosters may not always be able to help. Naturally, they can't amplify what isn't there. In the event of the total absence of signal from an area or its interruption at the source, first responders may find themselves resorting to other options.

Nevertheless, with high-quality cell phone signal boosters in a first responder vehicle fleet and its buildings, first responders can be confident in their signal. They can expect to enjoy improved signal strength and quality and to reap the benefits above. Put simply, these devices work, and they deliver results.

It’s important to invest in a cell phone signal booster solution that offers multiple carrier support, powerful gain and downlink output power, and a long service life. Such a device can be the key to taking critical public safety user operations to the next level.

It can afford your people access to tools on the ground that they wouldn't otherwise have — keeping them reliably in communication with members of the public and other stakeholders when that communication matters most. Most importantly, a strong and reliable signal offers responders the best possible chances of minimizing risk and maximizing positive outcomes for the people they serve.

It's always best to consult with the experts in finding the right solution for your needs. If your first responder organization is looking for a cell phone signal booster solution for its vehicle fleet, offices, or other structures, reach out to the professionals at WilsonPro. We’re happy to discuss it and come up with a solution that will improve public safety outcomes and remove headaches for your team. Contact us today to find out more.