Public Safety Communications Snapshot

Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs)

  • PSAPs are responsible for receiving 9-1-1 calls, processing requests, and dispatching first responders.
  • With specialized call-taking equipment, PSAPs answer 9-1-1 calls within a specific geographic area. When a landline or cellular phone is used to place a voice call, PSAPs can automatically identify the location of the caller. If a caller uses voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) or another method to call 9-1-1, they may have to self-identify their location to the operator.
  • Text to 9-1-1 and Next Generation 9-1-1 allow PSAPs to process 9-1-1 calls originating from sources other than landline or cellular phones.

Emergency Notification System

  • An emergency notification system facilitates one-way dissemination of messages to groups of people to alert them to an emergency.
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. With WEA, warnings can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without the need to download an app or subscribe to a service.
  • Other types of emergency notification systems include National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, news broadcasts, the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV programs, outdoor sirens, internet services, and other alerting methods offered by local and state public safety agencies.


  • In 2012, Congress authorized the deployment of a nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated for public safety, in response to public safety communications findings in the 9/11 Commission Report. FirstNet, or First Responder Network Authority, is responsible for building the network.

  • The goal of the FirstNet program is to build a network which provides reliable, functional, safe, and secure communications systems for first responders.

  • When FirstNet launches, it will augment voice communications of land mobile radios by providing high-speed data and video services.


  • JerseyNet started as a proof-of-concept for the FirstNet program, as it proved that a wireless network reserved for first responders could be mounted on mobile equipment like trucks and trailers, and deployed on short notice.

  • The program is the nation’s first deployable wireless communications network designated for use by public safety agencies. It can provide provisional first responder communication services anywhere in or near New Jersey.

  • In addition to mobile equipment, JerseyNet uses mounted antennas to provide continual first responder communication service in three geographic regions in New Jersey: the Route 21 corridor, the City of Camden, and Atlantic City.

Text to 9-1-1

Since September 2016, Text to 9-1-1 service has allowed individuals in New Jersey to text 9-1-1 to report an emergency when it is not safe or possible to speak on the phone. This service is a collaboration between nationwide wireless carriers, PSAPs, and other state public communications partners. Each of the State’s 21 counties has designated a PSAP to receive 9-1-1 text messages.

Next Generation 9-1-1

Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) is comprised of hardware, software, data, and operational policies that will create a faster, more flexible system for emergency number services. NG9-1-1 will:

  • Process all types of emergency calls including VoIP and multi-media messages,
  • Deliver all calls, messages, and data to the appropriate PSAP or other emergency entity, and
  • Allow digital information to flow from the public, through the 9-1-1 network, to first responders.

Land Mobile Radio

First responders use land mobile radios (LMRs) for voice communications. LMR networks are designed to meet the needs of first responders by providing features that easily allow either group or one-on-one communications.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP’s Preparedness Bureau at