Emergency Telecommunications Services
During times of emergency, crisis or war, State of Arizona personnel with critical missions need to know that their calls will go through. Two separate programs, the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) and Wireless Priority Service (WPS), address this need.
What is GETS?
GETS, a federal program by the National Communications System (NCS), provides priority handling of phone calls placed over the public phone system. GETS utilizes a universal access phone number and PIN to identify the caller and works like a calling card. The card is used ONLY during emergencies when calls cannot be completed by normal calling methods due to network congestion.
When used during an emergency, there may be a cost associated for this service ($.075 to $.10 per minute) which would bill directly to each agency. However, GETS has a limited amount of federal funds to support the program and has never billed for emergency use to date.
What is WPS?
WPS, another NCS sponsored program, increases the ability to make calls when cellular networks are congested. WPS service is activated by entering a special code before dialing a number. Specific carriers offer WPS: AT&T, Edge Wireless, SouthernLINC, Sprint/Nextel, T- Mobile, Alltel, Cellular South, SprintPCS, and Verizon Wireless. WPS service is billed directly to the user’s cell phone by the carrier for the WPS service and costs are not to exceed:
$4.50 (applies each month whether WPS is used or not)
$.75/minute when activated
Who should have a GETS calling card and/or WPS capability?
Not every agency will need GETS “calling cards” and WPS. GETS and WPS are to be used by agencies with critical business functions. If your agency has a critical business function, you will need to identify who on your staff should be a GETS and/or WPS user. Typical GETS and WPS users are responsible for the command and control functions critical to management of and response to state/national security and emergency situations, particularly during the first 24 to 72 hours following an event.
Each GETS and WPS user must be a person with a bona fide role supporting a government-sponsored security or emergency preparedness/response mission. GETS cards are to be used by individuals who “run towards danger” and by people responsible for continuity of government and infrastructure, etc. The following categories serve as guidelines for determining who may qualify as a potential user.
National Security Leadership – Pertains to military and federal government.
National Security Posture and US Population Attack Warning - Pertains to military and federal government.
Public Health, Safety, and Maintenance of Law and Order - This user performs functions necessary for giving civil alert to the US population by maintaining law and order and the health and safety of the US population in times of national, regional or serious local emergency.
Public Welfare and Maintenance of National Economic Posture - This user performs functions necessary for maintaining the public welfare and national economic posture during any national or regional emergency.
Disaster Recovery - This user performs functions of managing a variety of recovery operations after the initial response has been accomplished.
If your agency has critical business functions, please think of the critical services your agency provides in emergency situations and of potential GETS and WPS users, such as, Director, Deputy Director, Emergency Service Coordinators, and critical telecommunications and infrastructure personnel, etc. It is recommended that staff responsible for all critical functions in your agency have GETS cards – leaders in the department and those making key decisions during an emergency. It is also recommended that a portion of those staff with GETS cards have WPS access as well.
As you determine your agency’s needs for GETS cards and WPS access, you must take into account the following responsibilities attached to these services:
- Does your agency need a GETS card and/or WPS access?
- If yes, each agency must establish a Point of Contact (POC)
- The POC would:
- Determine who should receive a GETS card and WPS service;
- Coordinate the ordering of service and distribution of cards;
- Validate monthly call detail records;
- Validate all accounts yearly;
- Respond to agency questions regarding the two programs.
- Send the name, email address and phone number of each agency’s POC and, if applicable, alternate to Trudi Dela Cruz at [email protected].
Establishing POC and Ordering GETS & WPS
Each agency must establish a POC before GETS user cards or WPS service can be ordered.
- A POC is required to have a GETS card. It is recommended, but not required, that an alternate POC also be established.
To establish your agency POC: Instructions for Establishing POC and Ordering GETS Cards & WPS
When a GETS card is received or WPS service is activated, the user should verify the functionality of the card or service. Instructions for testing will be provided with the card and email. Your agency POC will also need to coordinate periodic testing with users to ensure continued functionality. There is no charge for testing GETS cards; however, usage charges from the wireless provider occur when testing WPS.
If you have questions about GETS, WPS or POC, please contact Jennifer Sand, Customer Relations Program Manager, at 602-364-1106 or [email protected]