Millions of Americans rely on 9-1-1 every year, but it is not without challenges. 9-1-1 can be impacted by network failures, attacks, carrier outages, and natural disasters that can cause outages that make it impossible for the public to get through when they need it most.
While the industry pushes for upgrades in technology to mitigate downtimes, the recently introduced Emergency Reporting Act could help emergency response professionals better serve their communities.
The FCC relies on the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) and Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) to collect data on telecommunications failures. Communications officials can share that information with State and Local agencies as well as Federal agencies. Unfortunately, NORS and DIRS are extremely inefficient. It can take 48 hours or more for the FCC to receive data from network providers.
If signed into law, the Emergency Reporting Act will help the FCC respond to local outages as soon as they occur, mobilizing officials and first responders to provide emergency services when they are needed most. This federal legislation is supported by elected officials across the country, including leaders from the Golden State.
Similar to the Emergency Reporting Act, California Senate Bill 670 was enacted in 2019. Under this legislation, telecommunications providers are required to notify the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) within 60 minutes if there is a network outage. As wildfires devastated the region a year later, the notification tool created by NGA 911 enabled Cal OES to collect, report, and distribute essential data for first responders in affected regions.
However, this isn’t a regional issue. California is just one of many states taking a proactive approach to emergency management and network outage reporting. As the FCC proposes a new framework for telecommunications network outages, and if the Emergency Reporting Act is signed into law, there will be more transparency around outages for state and tribal agencies across the nation.
2020 taught us that disaster can strike at any time, leaving public safety professionals with little to no warning. A coast-to-coast outage reporting system would provide an effective framework for responding to these threats, making it easier for citizens to get the help they need when telecommunications networks fail.
In the meantime, you can make sure that your residents are fully protected with their own network outage reporting system. NGA 911 provides purpose-built public safety solutions, including real-time network outage monitoring and reporting for hundreds of PSAPs. Give us a call today. We would love to learn more about you and share how our solutions are transforming communities throughout the United States!