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

Posted on Sep 26, 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. 

Table of Contents:

  1. Understanding the Limitations of Outdated 911 Infrastructures 
  2. What is NG911?
  3. What is the Next Generation 911 Initiative?
  4. Next Generation 911 Preparation: A Decision Maker’s Checklist
  5. NG911 Preparation for Implementation
  6. What are the Benefits of NG911 for Emergency Responders? 
  7. Why Choose to Upgrade to NG911?
  8. Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions About NG911
  9. How will NG911 Improve the Current 911 System? 
  10. What are the Benefits of NG911 for Emergency Responders? 
  11. What are the Advantages of NG911 for Citizens? 
  12. Conclusion 

People Also Ask: 

What is the difference between E911 and NG911?

The Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) initiative will replace legacy E911 systems with NG911 in the United States. Where E911 records the location and mobility of emergency callers, Next Generation 911 delivers PSAPs and first responders precise 911 caller location instantaneously.

What are NG911 services?

NG911 will enable 911 centers to receive and manage different types of information from responders and citizens, like text and voice messages, voice calls, and photo and video streaming. 

What does NG911 stand for?

NG911 stands for Next Generation 911. The term “NG911” is often used within the public safety community. 

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 emergency 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

Why Choose to Upgrade to NG911?

There are many reasons why federal and local governments are choosing to upgrade to Next Generation 911. These included but not limited to: 

Improved efficiency and effectiveness: With NG911, emergency calls are routed to the appropriate call center based on the caller's location. This will help ensure that calls are answered by the most qualified personnel in a timely manner. Additionally, dispatchers will be able to view real-time data from multiple sources on a single screen, which will allow them to make better informed decisions. 

Increased safety for first responders: First responders will have access to more information about an incident before they arrive on scene. This information can help them better prepare for what they may encounter and make sure that they have the resources they need. Additionally, text-to-9-1-1 and multimedia messaging capabilities will provide new ways for citizens to communicate with emergency services in times of need. 

Enhanced public confidence: The public confidence in the 911 system has declined in recent years due largely to outdated technology. Upgrading to NG911 will help show the public that their government is committed to providing them with the best possible service during their time of need.

Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions About NG911

If you're an emergency response professional, you likely have a lot of questions about NG911. Below, we'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Next Generation 911, so that you can be better informed about this innovative technology. 

How will NG911 Improve the Current 911 System? 

The biggest improvement that NG911 will offer is the ability to send data and video along with voice call information. This will give emergency responders a much clearer picture of what is happening at the scene of an incident and will help them make faster and more informed decisions. 

NG911 will be much more scalable than the current 911 system, making it easier to add new features and capabilities as needed. 

What are the Benefits of NG911 for Emergency Responders? 

With NG911, emergency responders will have access to more information than ever before. This means that they'll be able to make better decisions, provide more efficient services, and improve outcomes for citizens in need of assistance. 

In addition, NG911 will make it easier for responding agencies to share information and coordinate their efforts, resulting in a more streamlined and effective response overall. 

What are the Advantages of NG911 for Citizens? 

By making it possible for citizens to send data and video along with their voice call, NG911 will give emergency responders a better understanding of what is happening at the scene. This will ultimately lead to faster and more effective assistance for those who need it. 

Conclusion 

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, ESInet, 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!