Unlocking the Value of NGA's 988 Call-Handling Solution: How California is Working to Improve Public Safety

Posted in All, NGA911 on Feb 07, 2023

A breakthrough in communications technology can make all the difference when it comes to keeping people safe. In July 2020, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline assigned its own three-digit number—988—to facilitate immediate connections between those in crisis and trained responders.

Several states have implemented the Next Generation Advanced (NGA) 988 call-handling solution designed to improve public safety, with California being the most recent. The golden state has recently taken steps to leverage NGA's infrastructure to better serve its 911 professionals and the citizens that depend on them. 

In this blog from our trusted NG911 providers and experts at NGA, we'll discuss how California is leveraging NGA's 988 call-handling solution to improve public safety for all. 

Table of Contents:

  1. What is 988? 
  2. How Does 988 Call-Handling Work? 
  3. What is the Difference Between 988 and 911?
  4. NGA's 988 Call-Handling Solution: How it Improves Public Safety in the Golden State 
  5. Conclusion 

What is 988? 

988 is a nationwide effort in the form of a three-digit number to access crisis services and suicide prevention resources. It was recently passed into law by Congress as part of the National Suicide Prevention Act, which aims to reduce the time it takes to reach help. This three-digit number will replace the existing 10-digit national suicide prevention hotline. 

How Does 988 Call-Handling Work? 

988 works by providing an automated call-routing system that immediately connects callers with qualified counselors. Upon dialing 988, a caller is connected with a counselor who can provide resources and support for their needs without interruption. The system also includes a live tracking feature that allows counselors and dispatchers to monitor calls in real-time, ensuring an accurate and timely response. 

In addition, the 988 solution integrates directly with existing systems such as Next Generation 911 (NG911) and emergency professionals like police and dispatchers, so all incoming calls are routed through an intelligent routing engine for faster response times. This means that even if a caller does not know exactly what kind of help they need, they will still be connected with professionals who can assist them effectively. 

What is the Difference Between 988 and 911?

The 988 and 911 phone numbers are both vital lifelines for emergency services. 988 is a hotline dedicated to mental health, providing support in times of crisis and potential paths to getting help for individuals suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. 

911 is the emergency number called when physical safety and immediate assistance are needed due to accidents, fires, or medical issues. 988 provides hearts while 911 provides hands - both numbers being essential pieces of the puzzle in ensuring the protection and quality of life for every individual across the nation. 

NGA's 988 Ccall-Handling Solution: How it Improves Public Safety in the Golden State 

Implementing NGA's 988 call-handling solution has improved public safety in several ways. 

First, it has reduced response times for emergency services as calls are routed more quickly and accurately. The service has helped reduce stress for 911 operators as calls are handled more efficiently with less manual effort. 

Second, automated message handling systems allow pre recorded messages with instructions on what to do after dialing 911. These messages instruct callers on handling specific types of emergencies, such as fires or medical emergencies, so that individuals can get assistance faster. 

Finally, this automated technology helps keep track of all incoming calls so that resources can be allocated more effectively based on location and type of emergency, further improving response times and public safety overall.  


With NGA's 988 call-handling solution now in California, public safety professionals can take advantage of innovative features designed specifically for emergencies while streamlining processes across multiple departments within the state. 

By unlocking the value of the 988 call-handling system, California is working towards creating a more efficient way of providing emergency services while still maintaining a high level of service within its public safety protocols. By leveraging these new capabilities, California is leading the way in modernizing its approach towards improving public safety throughout the state— all thanks to NGA's innovative 988 call-handling solution!

Would you like to know more?

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