Are You Ready for Next Generation 911?

Posted on Dec 08, 2021

Next Generation 911 will change the way the public safety industry provides emergency response services and how the general public communicates with 911 professionals. Is your organization NG9-1-1 ready? If not, it's time to start preparing!

Not sure how to get started? No problem! This blog post is designed to help you prepare for NG911.

In this blog, our Next Generation 911 providers and experts at NGA will discuss:

  • The purpose of NG911
  • What’s included
  • NG911 preparation
  • Tips to get you Next Generation 911 ready

Understanding The Purpose of Next Generation 911

The purpose of NG911 is to allow ECCs and PSAPs to continue providing emergency response services by connecting with today's digital society. With Next Generation 911, public safety professionals can communicate with the public through a wide variety of devices beyond landline telephones.

More and more citizens are sending information and requesting 911 assistance through text and voice messages, photos, videos, and even social media. The emergency response industry needs to implement systems to keep up with advancing technology.

According to The National Emergency Number Association (NENA), a Next Generation 911 system includes software, hardware, data, and operation procedures and policies to:

  • Provide NENA standard interfaces for emergency call and messaging services
  • Handle and process all types of 9-1-1 calls, including multimedia messages
  • Receive and integrate additional information useful for call handling and routing
  • Deliver the messages to and call the right PSAPs and other emergency response entities
  • Support the data and communication needed to coordinate emergency incident management and response
  • Provide a secure environment for all emergency communications

What Will NG911 Include?

NG911 will replace outdated 911 systems and networks across the United States. Current systems have difficulty supporting multimedia or can't support them at all. Emergency response networks that have access to additional information such as building plans, telematics information, and medical data can mean more lives saved.

Below are a few examples of what Next Generation 911 includes and how it stands out from current emergency systems:

Text-to-911- It's not always safe to call 911 in some situations. For example, during a robbery, domestic dispute, or abduction, being discreet and quiet is vital. Texting 911 will allow individuals in need to send photos and videos to 911 and provide greater detail to dispatchers. Being able to send images and texts to PSAPs also benefits individuals with impaired hearing and speech.

Video Streaming - With NG911, citizens can send videos involving an incident directly to emergency dispatchers. ECCs can send these videos to first responders. This means they'll have a better understanding of the situation and arrive at the scene better prepared.

Share Information and Re-Route Calls to Various PSAPs - Next Generation 911 capabilities allow for information to be transmitted to command staff. Quickly routing 911 calls to the right public safety answering point means better response times. Better Locational Services - Location information is now provided through GPS technology and is the responsibility of emergency response GIS capabilities. This is managed and maintained by NG911 using secure cloud-based IP networks.

NG911 Preparation: Getting Started with Data Sharing

Making the transition to Next Generation 911 starts with data sharing. For NG911 to work properly, emergency response agencies need to develop crosswalks that connect data to one another. This means that geographic information system (GIS) personnel, the addressing authority, and 911 professionals need to have access to each other's data.

To begin the data sharing process, GIS personnel should visit their local governments 911 communications, and public safety departments. The professionals in these offices should be familiar with NG911 concepts.

ECCs are responsible for coordinating the development and maintenance of its authoritative data. It's up to GIS professionals to provide GIS expertise to emergency response personnel. This means letting 911 professionals and addressing authorities know exactly what's needed to receive and maintain accurate data sharing.

Embracing GIS in Emergency Response with Next Generation 911

Traditional emergency response systems used to locate 911 callers haven't kept up with the advances in technology. With NG911, not only can the system transmit calls to PSAPs through smart devices, but communication is transmitted across secure cloud and IP-based networks.

This means that Next Generation 911 allows for the initiation of a call to 911 through:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Security Systems
  • Smartwatches
  • Wearable Medical Devices

Call centers can also receive additional data from callers through text and voice messages, videos, and photos in need of 911 assistance. Because NG911 fully embraces GIS technology, devices can send coordinates to telecommunicators during an emergency call.

For NGA's Next Generation Core Services (NGCS) to function at their best, a GIS-based collection of features must exist. Features such as address points, call center jurisdiction boundaries, and operation areas for first responders must be maintained to remain accurate and up-to-date.

With NG911, GIS personnel can now build databases that can help their colleagues in public safety and local and regional government.

5 Tips for Making Sure You’re Next Generation 911 Ready

NG911 aims to upgrade 911 systems, so they can keep up with evolving smartphone technology and communication. While this is taking place, it's vital that public safety response agencies and government entities prepare for the implementation of Next Generation 911. Our trusted NG911 experts at NGA have put together 5 tips for helping all those in the emergency response industry do just that!

1. Start Now

The sooner ECCs and PSAPs begin preparing for NG911, the better! This includes getting map data and local emergency response databases synchronized.

2. Develop A Local Database

Emergency call centers and local governments should ensure they have someone who can help them prepare for NG911 in their own jurisdiction. This means local 911 agencies, professionals, and government working together to make sure their community is Next Generation 911 ready.

3. Create Accurate Zip Code Boundaries

Because NG911 requires accurate geolocation boundaries to function properly, officials need to work with local agencies, post offices, and other organizations within the county. Jurisdiction officials can refine zip code boundaries and make sure their Next Generation 911 systems provide the most accurate information possible for emergency response.

4. Develop A Strong Maintenance Plan

The maintenance plan should focus on making sure all data is up-to-date and secure. The plan should also involve working with local agencies that involve location and street address. While NG911 comes with geolocation technology, it's essential for emergency response agencies to communicate with location-based agencies to ensure location accuracy.

5. Examine Your Workflow Process Annually After Implementation

Even after NG911 implementation, it's still important to review workflow and workflow processes annually to ensure everything is running smoothly.

If 911 agencies feel that their process is providing positive results after the first year or two, they can review it on an as-needed basis.

Conclusion

Transitioning to NG9-1-1 doesn't happen overnight. It will take time and thorough preparation, and should be something that public safety agencies seriously consider. To better ensure a smooth NG911 transition, emergency response organizations should seek out a Next Generation 911 provider and partner, like NGA.

Are you Next Generation 911 ready? Our experts at NGA can help!

Connect with us at NGA to get started!