You asked, we answered!
Question: Can I deploy Next Generation 9-1-1 without a statewide plan?
Answer: Yes! Did you know that in 2011, only four states had developed a comprehensive strategy to deploy NG9-1-1? By 2019, more than 30 states had an NG9-1-1 plan in place, and there are more on the way. PSAPs in states that have not adopted an NG9-1-1 plan may feel that a lack of coordination and funding at the state level will be another barrier to bringing nex gen to their communities. But pioneering PSAPs can (and do!) develop their own NG9-1-1 strategies every day.
The most common concerns raised are over the cost of Next Generation 9-1-1 and how to fund it. This leads many PSAPs to wait or to pull in a patchwork of solutions. To avoid the pitfalls of patching old tech or delaying implementation, our customer in Nevada decided to skip E911 and move their basic system to NG9-1-1. Here is how they did it:
Elko County faced several challenges on the journey to Next Generation 9-1-1. They started by forming a 9-1-1 advisory board and worked with a consultant to help them understand the costs and benefits of transitioning to NG9-1-1 or doing a full upgrade all at once.
Nevada does not have a Statewide 9-1-1 Coordinator, meaning they are not eligible to receive federal funds designated for Next Generation 9-1-1. Funding for the project came via a surcharge, grants, and fundraising. Members of the community rallied support early on to gather donations and get approval for the surcharge.
Another complicating factor was having three separate PSAPs governed by different bodies. To solve this problem, the three dispatch centers will be tied together in an Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network (ESInet). This will enable one-click call routing during transfers to include all the location information and other data, with no fear of dropped calls.
Here are a couple of additional tips for rolling out a plan in your area:
Share The Responsibility: Transitioning Legacy 9-1-1/Enhanced 9-1-1 to NG9-1-1 is a complex process, and many of the PSAPs that we work with would struggle if they tried to manage it on their own. If your state office does not have a plan in place, you can join forces with other PSAPs to create a city-wide, county-wide, or regional NG9-1-1 strategy. That way, you can share the responsibility of planning with other centers in your area.
Choose an NG9-1-1 Leader: Many of our partners have found that it is helpful to choose a point person who can coordinate efforts within the region. Each PSAP can focus on its own priorities, while the NG9-1-1 leader plans meetings, assesses budgets, and gathers necessary info and education.
If you would like tips on how to develop an NG9-1-1 plan for your community, give us a call! We would be happy to share our best practices and lessons learned with you and other decision-makers in your region.