Indiana County Emergency Management Agency Director Thomas A. Stutzman said Thursday the county has been working with AT&T FirstNet on deployment of voice and data services, supported by their networks, to enhance the county’s capabilities for public safety first responders.

“Indiana County EMA has been striving to provide access to live data from the county’s 911 center since the inception of our new radio system in 2011,” Stutzman said.

In turn, FirstNet, which calls itself the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for first responders and the extended public safety community, is touting that connection in a release issued Thursday to media and industry markets in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“We’re honored that Indiana County chose FirstNet to elevate their communications capabilities,” said David Kerr, president of AT&T Pennsylvania. “It’s our mission to give first responders the cutting-edge tools they need to safely and effectively achieve their mission.”

The county posted that release on the emergency management page of its indianacountypa.gov website.

“This is a big step into the future of technology for first responders and it will take some time to fully deploy all the available resources,” Stutzman said.

Among tools offered by FirstNet, AT&T and county officials said, are:

• A nationwide communications platform that allows the county to coordinate emergency responses efficiently and effectively across agencies and jurisdictions.

• A pre-emption tool that allows the county reliable access to the connection it need — even when the network is congested.

• A separate, dedicated and highly secure network core purpose-built for public safety’s sensitive communications.

“Having the ability to use FirstNet Wi-Fi for our computers in the patrol vehicles has been a huge benefit for the deputies,” said Indiana County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. John R. Compardo. “Before joining FirstNet, our deputies had to either be sitting at their desk in the office to access information or use their radio to request needed information while in the field.”

The FirstNet connection includes planned increases in coverage and capacity, enabling the county to better respond to emergencies in all areas, locally and across the state.

For example, a new cell site was recently turned on in the Montgomery Township area, giving AT&T customers and FirstNet subscribers improved coverage along state Route 286 and Gipsy Road.

“We look forward to supporting Indiana County and all of Pennsylvania’s public safety community with FirstNet,” said Edward Parkinson, CEO for AT&T’s FirstNet Authority, “making sure it delivers what they need, when they need it.”