Priority Calling for Responders

Several options exist for public safety officials to help ensure reliable commercial calling during an incident.  They are all different and none of them carry all the features, so typically multiple options are needed to place calls in large incidents.

Public Safety Calling Plans

Both Verizon and FirstNet (AT&T) offer public safety calling plans that offer some level of prioritized usage.  With these plans, that are only available to public safety personnel, your smart device receives some level of prioritized and/ or pre-emptive service over regular users.  This is an always on type of feature designed to ensure that public safety officials can communicate with commercial cellular systems are congested.  Neither company gives you priority when calling over the switched telephone network without the use of GETS.  Both companies approach how they provide their public safety network differently and the infrastructure is not the same.  Learn more about Verizon here or FirstNet here.

Government Emergency Telecommunications Service

GETS is a DHS program that has been around for many years.  Public officials can obtain a GETS card from Gallatin County Emergency Management.  GETS cards act like calling cards where you dial an access code, your PIN, and the number you want to call.  When the public switched telephone network is busy, a call placed using GETS will move to the top of the queue and get the next available phone circuit.  While an awkward process for placing a phone call, GETS is the only way to prioritize a phone call in the switched telephone network.  You can learn more about GETS at

Wireless Priority Service

WPS is a feature available with most major cellular providers.  There can be a monthly fee on your phone bill, but currently most providers are waiving the fee.  WPS gives you priority access to an overloaded cellular tower placing your call at the top of the queue.  This only prioritizes you between your cellular phone and the cell tower, it does not prioritize your call from the tower into the public switched telephone network unless you also utilize GETS when placing the call.  WPS does not prioritize data.  Contact Gallatin County Emergency Management to setup WPS on your phones.  More on WPS at

Telecommunications Service Priority

TSP is available for land line phone and data circuits at critical facilities.  TSP identifies those circuits for priority restoration if service is lost.  Basically, they are first in line for being repaired.  There is a monthly cost from your provider for TSP circuits.  TSP is requested directly through DHS.  More information at