Next Generation 911 Ready: A Decision Maker’s Guide to NG911

Posted in All, NGA911 on Mar 29, 2022

The digital communications landscape is evolving rapidly, driving the high demand for more efficient and effective emergency response services. With the nationwide NG9-1-1 implementation initiative, PSAPs (public safety answering points) and other 911 telecommunications agencies will access updated wireless multimedia communications technology. 

Much of the Legacy 911 infrastructure that supports emergency calls has remained the same since the first 911 call was placed in February 1968. Given how so much of the digital communications ecosystem has changed, it’s not surprising that there are still complications with handing off vital information to first responders. 

With Next Generation 911, communication difficulties between emergency response organizations, first responders, and the general public are set to be a thing of the past. For this reason and many others, it's essential to understand NG911 and everything it offers.

Our Next Generation 911 providers and experts at NGA have created this blog to offer a helpful guide to NG911 for decision-makers looking to implement this infrastructure and its technology for their public safety organizations. 

Understanding the Limitations of Outdated 911 Infrastructures 

Traditional emergency response systems such as Legacy 911 have not kept up with today's digital technologies. Even with the Next Generation 911 initiative, many PSAPs still use the Legacy 911 infrastructure that is challenging to maintain and operate in an increasingly digital world.   

Emergency response communication significantly relies on mobile technology. Public safety agencies using outdated systems means that calls and information being sent to dispatchers and first responders cannot seamlessly move across the 911 communications infrastructure.  

Below are a few examples of the limitations surrounding outdated 911 systems:

  • Unable to support high volumes of emergencies calls due to network congestions 
  • Systems are prone to failure and security attacks due to outdated technologies
  • Cannot support smartphone and smart device capabilities such as wireless 911 calls, multimedia sharing, and transferring of digital data 
  • Outdated systems lack support for new technologies 

What is NG911?

NG911 stands for Next Generation 911. NG911 is an emergency response telecommunications system designed to accept traditional and mobile landline 911 calls. The Next Generation 911 infrastructure is designed to receive and support data-based notifications such as real-time text messages, videos, photos, and more. 

The NG911 system runs on IP (internet protocol) and cloud-based platforms that enable interconnection among many private and public networks. These networks include wireless networks, the internet, and traditional phone networks. 

What is the Next Generation 911 Initiative?

The Next Generation 911 is an initiative to update outdated 911 systems to NG911 to improve emergency response communications and overall public safety across the United States and Canada. 

Following NENA standards, the NG911 initiative aims to help 911 organizations and first responders update their current systems and improve how they respond to emergencies at large. 

The Next Generation 911 initiative hopes to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Transition from current Legacy 911 infrastructures to systems that use and support modern networking technology
  • Establish standards for 911 operations, which can be applied throughout the nation
  • Create and apply an easy-to-follow plan for NG911 implementation and transition 

Next Generation 911 Preparation: A Decision Maker’s Checklist

Whether you're looking to implement NG911 at the local or state level, the process remains the same. To make it easier for you, our team at NGA has put together the following list below to break the process down into a more digestible resource. 

NG911 Preparation for Implementation

Technology and Hardware:

  • NG911 solutions that include key elements such as Next Generation 911 core systems (ESInet, GIS, and MIS), call handling, and other emergency services that provide decision-makers the flexibility and capabilities they need to meet their needs
  • Confirm all PSAPs and 911 dispatch centers have an IP phone system that follows NENA i3 Standards
  • Ensure data from various sources (video feeds, smartphones, smart devices) are correctly logged and securely stored- this should also include comprehensive backups
  • Integrate analytics solutions to provide insights for enhancing the emergency response process
  • Implement a communications system that allows for better, more streamlined communication between PSAPs, first responders, and civilians 
  • Confirm that the information exchanged between different systems is standardized
  • Deploy a geo-location mapping system to comply with national NENA standards

Policy & Processes 

  • Refer to the Next Generation 911 Self-Assessment Tool to determine your organization’s NG911 readiness
  • Implement training for system processes and policies to certify dispatchers 
  • Ensure your emergency response organization has comprehensive policies in place for: Data storage and retention, local and national guidelines, stakeholder communications, process, and system evaluation plans, data sharing, cybersecurity
  • Select vendors whose systems comply with national NENA standards
  • Establish an NG911 transition plan that does not disrupt daily operations


When an emergency occurs, timely and accurate emergency response is everything. At NGA, we advocate for a more streamlined, collaborative NG911 environment designed to provide efficient and effective 911 services. 

We urge public safety agencies and organization decision-makers to consider comprehensive solutions and vendors for essential components such as 911 call-handling, multimedia data sharing, Next Generation Core Services, ESInert, GIS, and much more. 

At NGA, we’re committed to providing you with industry-leading solutions for NG911 and improved emergency response services. 

Get started by connecting with our NGA team today