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Public Safety Communication User Needs: Voices of First Responders



Shanee T. Dawkins, Kristen Greene, Michelle P. Steves, Mary F. Theofanos, Yee-Yin Choong, Susanne M. Furman, Sandra S. Prettyman


The public safety community is transitioning from land mobile radios to a communications technology ecosystem including a variety of broadband data sharing platforms. Successful deployment and adoption of new communications technology relies on efficient and effective user interfaces based on understanding first responder needs, requirements, and contexts of use; human factors research is needed to examine these factors. As such, this paper presents qualitative research via semi- structured interviews with 133 first responders across the U.S. While there are similarities across disciplines, results show there is no easy “one size fits all” communications technology solution. To facilitate trust in new communications technology, solutions must be dependable, easy to use for first responders, and meet their communication needs through the application of user-centered design principles. During this shift in public safety communications technology, the time is now to leverage existing human factors expertise to influence emerging technology for public safety.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 2018 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting
Conference Dates
October 1-5, 2018
Conference Location
Philadelphia, PA


Public Safety, Usability, Human Factors, Communication, PSCR


Dawkins, S. , Greene, K. , Steves, M. , Theofanos, M. , Choong, Y. , Furman, S. and Prettyman, S. (2018), Public Safety Communication User Needs: Voices of First Responders, Proceedings of the 2018 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, [online], (Accessed May 23, 2024)


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Created September 25, 2018, Updated February 11, 2019