WASHINGTON — It has been 20 years since the 9/11 attacks, and emergency communications have come a long way since the disaster. The House Committee on Homeland Security held an Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Subcommittee meeting Thursday to address the progress and challenges of first responder communication efforts.

In reviewing these communications, Chairwoman Val Demings (D-FL) and Ranking Member Kat Cammack (R-FL) hope first responders can quicken their response time with financial initiatives. Witnesses pointed to a communication gap that needs to be mended in underserved and rural areas.

Next Generation 911 (NG911) is a system that updates emergency call technology by preventing cyber-attacks and allowing for more efficient information sharing. On behalf of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Public Safety Next Generation 9-1-1 Coalition, Seattle Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Lombard requested that Congress allocate $15 billion to meet Next Generation 911 priorities in the reconciliation package.