Natural and man-made disasters can cause considerable disruption to telephone service by generating extraordinary levels of call volume. Although backup systems are in place, degradation of service can still occur because of increased vulnerability to network congestion and system failures. This possibility can be seriously problematic for Emergency Services Sector (ESS) departments and agencies that must complete their calls to perform mission essential tasks.
The Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) satisfies the need for government leaders and ESS personnel to have priority status on congested landline telephone systems when disaster strikes. GETS is a White House-directed emergency phone service provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Communications System (NCS). GETS supports federal, state, local, tribal, industry, and non-government organization personnel in performing their national security and emergency preparedness missions by offering service priority call routing during incidents when telecommunications networks are jammed.
Using enhancements based on existing commercial technology, GETS allows the emergency management and responder community to communicate over Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) paths with a high likelihood of call completion during the most severe conditions of high-traffic congestion and disruption. The result is a cost-effective, easy-to-use emergency telephone service that is accessed through a simple dialing plan and Personal Identification Number (PIN) card verification methodology. GETS is maintained in a constant state of readiness as a means to overcome network outages through enhanced routing and priority treatment.
For information about the wireless companion to GETS, the Wireless Priority Service (WPS), access the WPS link at http://wps.ncs.gov