The new generation of 911 systems incorporate expanded technology to better get help in an emergency.
According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, 137 million adults in the United States live in homes only with mobile phones. 48 million children also live in homes with only mobile phones without access to a landline phone.
As technology and the way we communicate changes, public safety technology has had to change as well. Next Generation 911 (NG911) is the future of public-safety answering points (PSAPs).
The NG911 are replacing the current circuit-switched 911 networks. These networks only carry voice and limited data. These networks cannot handle text messages or multimedia such as video or images or other information such as medical data that needs to be shared over a network.
Here are a few of the features of NG911 that are being implemented across the country in order to improve public-safety answering points and keep citizens safe.
In some emergency situations such as during a robbery, domestic assault, or an abduction, dialing 911 is not safe or possible. In these situations being quiet and discreet is vital to personal safety and perhaps survival which has led to the implementation of texting 911. This addition allows for citizens to send photos, texts, and videos to 911 dispatchers in order to get the most information about a situation to pass along to crucial details about the situation to emergency personnel. Texting 911 also allows for those who are audibly impaired to better contact 911 in an emergency.
First Responder Video Streaming
Some apps allow citizens to livestream emergency events such as gunshot wounds or car accidents to responders. However, these apps are private-sector and do not allow this information to be transferred to government emergency services. NG911 is changing that. The new communication systems will have the ability to send and receive multimedia to PSAPs. This will allow for emergency personnel to arrive better prepared to respond to the situation.
Sharing and Rerouting Information
NG911 capabilities will allow for more data to be transmitted to dispatch to then pass along to police. This increased data capabilities will allow for information to be passed along more quickly. Response times will be improved by allowing for emergency calls to be quickly routed during large public events or natural disasters to the correct PSAP. This can be done by adding virtual PSAP routing boundaries around the geographic area.
Improved Location Services
Phone providers were responsible for providing the best-known location services through billing addresses or GPS in mobile phones. Location data is now provided through GPS and can be accessed through cloud technology to 911 dispatchers. Like the other aspects of NG911, this will increase response time.
The implementation of NG911 is a slow yet much-needed process. Government agencies should partner with agencies that will allow for a seamless and thoughtful transition to integrate NG911 into PSAPs.