MCP Insights

A Call to Action: 911 Data Sharing

Posted on January 23, 2019 by Gordon Vanauken

In a previous article on MCP Insights, we discussed in length how data will be king in public safety’s incredibly exciting new era. The torrent of rich data that is beginning to enter into 911 centers promises to have a profound impact on emergency response—but only if its harnessed effectively.

For the 911 community to realize the full value of data, several critical elements must be in place. One of those is a data management and sharing environment that provides useful and sustainable standards, requirements, and guidance. Not only must this environment support day-to-day 911 service delivery today, it must be flexible enough to support the industry’s future, next-generation data needs as well.

With today’s legacy 911 environment—which consists of localized, siloed systems—overcoming this significant hurdle will be difficult, but one that MCP believes not only is attainable, but also imperative.

A Step in the Right Direction

On January 19, the National 911 Program, which is housed within the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), released a draft document entitled, "Data and Information Sharing: A Strategic Plan.” The plan intends to establish a long-term vision of where the 911 community should go in terms of standardized and automated collection, use, and sharing of all tiers of 911 data to support efficient and evidence-based 911 decision-making.

You can read more about the development of the draft Strategic Plan in this Urgent Communications article by my colleague, Jackie Mines.

The Strategic Plan’s purpose is to propose:

  • A strategic vision and goals for the process of defining the 911 community’s needs as it relates to data sharing, and the value it brings to the public safety sector
  • Goals and objectives that serve the proposed vision
  • Questions and considerations for the 911 community to explore as it strategizes about how to move forward.

Dialogue and Input Are Key to Progress

The key to the plan working are feedback and dialogue from the 911 community on whether the goals and concepts outlined within it will unite the industry toward a shared vision and strategic framework. Based on our work supporting the National 911 Program, along with our partners at Dynamic Pro, Inc. (DPI), we strongly encourage you to contribute your insights and perspective on whether this plan will set our industry on the right path.

The plan’s strategy lays out five strategic goals for how the routine sharing of 911 data to create actionable knowledge for enhanced public safety can be achieved:

Data Uniformity: The essential data elements that are standardized and supportive of interoperability and overall quality assurance of 911 service delivery.

Automated Data Handling: Collection, use, quality assurance, and security of data across disparate 911 systems.

Role-Based Data Sharing: The right data to the right people at the right time, facilitating evidenced-based decisions while protecting privacy.

Sustainable Vital Support Mechanisms: Governance frameworks, funding sources, and a network of 911 community partners that can maintain a 911 data-sharing environment for all tiers of governing bodies.

Data-Savvy 911 Professionals: 911 professionals with the skills to apply user-centric approaches to using 911 data.

Your Role as a 911 Professional

This strategy sets a viable, attainable vision of the future that can help improve public safety, but not without input from you. We strongly encourage all members of the 911 and public safety community to familiarize themselves with this plan and provide their unique and valuable perspective as to whether it will help our industry take the steps required to truly leverage PSAP data to improve emergency-response outcomes.

All comments must be submitted by February 1, 2019.

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