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Public Safety (PS) organizations bring value to society by creating a stable and secure environment. The services they provide include protection of people, environment and assets and they address a large number of threats both natural and man-made, acts of terrorism, technological, radiological or environmental accidents. The capability to exchange information (e.g., voice and data) is essential to improve the coordination of PS officers during an emergency crisis and improve response efforts. Wireless communications are particularly important in field operations to support the mobility of first responders. Recent disasters have emphasized the need to enhance interoperability, capacity and broadband connectivity of the wireless networks used by PS organizations. This paper surveys the outstanding challenges in this area, the status of wireless communication technologies in this particular domain and the current regulatory, standardization and research activities to address the identified challenges, with a particular focus on USA and Europe.