Thought Leadership

Next Generation 911: Why Your Agency’s Success and Community’s Safety Depends on Having Updated Technology

In 2021, NBC Washington reported that nearly 100,000 emergency 911 calls in the D.C. region were sent to the wrong call centers or required transfers to reach the correct jurisdiction due to outdated technology. Those 100,000 calls represented 100,000 lives possibly facing life-threatening situations. Over the years the country has felt the adverse effects of 911 call centers using antiquated technology. Service issues, faulty phone software, overwhelming call volumes, and even hackers have demonstrated that older systems are vulnerable. Our communities need efficient, responsive, and updated technologies.

What Is NG 911?

Most 911 systems were originally built using analog, as opposed to digital technologies or Internet Protocol (IP)-based 911 systems. This digital system is what is referred to as Next Generation 911 (NG911).

NG911 is a necessary technology update to handle today’s emergency needs. In a world where almost all aspects of life are digital, NG911 offers the capability of allowing the public to share critical information with responders such as videos, images, and texts. Interoperability is also a key function of NG911. Capabilities include faster network communication and data sharing between public safety answering points (PSAPs) and first responders. Additionally, in cases such as mass casualty incidents or natural disasters, NG911 allows for calls to be transferred and accepted by available 911 call centers.

Why We Need to Accelerate NG911 Implementation

In the same way that mere seconds can determine the severity of an emergency situation, the accelerated implementation of NG911 can also make the difference in creating safer communities at a much more rapid pace. NG911 technology breaks down borders and removes the roadblocks that hinder responders from doing their job – saving lives.

This technology increases flexibility and reliability in 911 systems across the country. In states and regions that experience natural disasters such as storms, hurricanes, and freezing temperatures, even public entities are exposed to the dangers of these harsh conditions. So, what happens when the nearest 911 call center loses power? Updated emergency response technology combats this issue, allowing network routing options to mitigate outages and reduce susceptibilities to failure.

The public also gains improved access to emergency response services. The average household does not have a landline. We are in a mobile society. Having the capability to share information with responders, outside of a traditional phone call, enhances situational awareness. 911 call centers can make more educated decisions and send the right responder to the scene.

Resources

Investing in the Right Modernized Solution

Growing demands in the area of public safety, have strained personnel and local government employees. With increased threats to public safety, agencies need an interconnected and interoperable system. CentralSquare’s Public Safety Suites offer CAD+911, mobile, records, jail, and analytics. This software offers the ability of a coordinated response to emergency situations between agencies, police and fire, sheriff with county municipalities, dispatchers with responders, and departments with citizens. There is also the benefit of enhanced field operations. With the mobile capabilities, responders are not chained to laptops. They can complete in-field reporting in the palms of their hands.

CentralSquare’s CAD+911 systems can help 911 centers handle the complexity of emergency response with technology to automatically locate cellphone caller location, identify the nearest first responder, and even prioritize calls to send responders to the most urgent incidents. Efficient resource utilization is a key component of this system. The correct units are dispatched in the quickest amount of time to help citizens in need while giving responders access to shared information that improves their situational awareness to keep everyone safer.

Funding

Budget and funding resources cannot hinder agencies from acquiring the technology needed to serve the community. Government funding and grant opportunities exist to support.

Through the American Rescue Plan, the government has created provisions for investments in the modernization of technology and services to aid in a more effective response to public health emergencies.

Additionally, CentralSquare provides a free, unlimited, and customized Grant Assistance Program to help secure additional funding to meet your budgeting needs. Services include:

  1. Access Grant Database: Gain access to the most extensive grant listing database available, GrantFinder, to easily identify the best grant to fit your agency’s needs.
  2. 1:1 Grant Consulting: Unlimited, personalized grant research assistance and coaching from our team of Grant Experts specific to your agency’s project.
  3. Grant Application Help: Let our Grant Experts help you best position your grant application for success with detailed application reviews, editing, or proofreading.

The Goal Is Public Safety

Technology is ever-changing and continuously advancing to meet societal needs. The public safety sector must also progress in all aspects starting with its emergency response systems to create safer communities—and now is an opportune time. The government has created more opportunities than ever to secure funding for technology updates. With increased access to funding and resources, the most important question to ask is, is your department NG911 ready? If your answer is unsure, or if you have not taken the time to assess your department’s technology, start the conversation today to see if CentralSquare’s NG911 solution may be right for you.