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Decision Regarding NG911 Is An Obstacle That Can Be Overcome

Last week the 911 community received some bad news.

The House recommended just $500 million for Next Generation 911 implementations, a fraction of the $10 billion that it originally recommended. (See the Urgent Communications story.)

We know that $500 million isn’t going to stretch very far. We also know that the $10 billion is right in line with the Next Generation 911 Cost Study that Congress requested in 2012. Three years ago, the National 911 Program published the Cost Study, with support from Mission Critical Partners. Congress had requested a comprehensive investigation into the cost of deploying NG911 service nationwide. It did so in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 — the same legislation that authorized the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) being implemented under the auspices of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and provided $7 billion in seed money.

9/11 Two Decades Later — Much Done, Much Still to Do

Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon, as well as the hijacking of a third commercial airliner that day, United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers confronted the terrorists. The attacks resulted in 2,977 fatalities and more than 25,000 injuries. It is the deadliest single incident for firefighters and police officers in the U.S., who respectively lost 340 and 72 members that day. It remains the deadliest terrorist attack our history.

The Key Buzzword at MCP These Days Is ‘Growth’

Last week, Mission Critical Partners (MCP) announced the acquisition of MTG Management Consultants (MTG), a Seattle-based firm that provides strategy and management services to local, county and state government entities. The acquisition further strengthens MCP’s credentials as the leading provider of consulting services—as well as data-integration, network and cybersecurity solutions—for public safety and justice sector clients.

More on that in a bit—but first, a history lesson that will provide some context for this development.

Succession Planning Is a Must for Every Emergency Communications Center

The term “baby boomer” applies to anyone born between 1946 and 1964. There have been a lot of us—according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 73 million in total. And by 2030, all of the baby boomers will be 65 or older—which means that many are leaving the workforce. In fact, the Census Bureau estimates that about 10,000 people cross the age threshold every day. It further is estimated that about 365 Americans retire every hour. Consequently, every emergency communications center (ECC) needs to start planning now for the so-called “silver tsunami,” which promises to exacerbate the staffing shortages that many centers already are experiencing.

Public Safety Needs a Better Way to Triage Emergency Calls

At MCP, our mission is to help clients improve emergency response outcomes.

Depending on the client and its unique environment and resources, this could mean providing guidance regarding technology, operations or governance, and often all three. The overarching goal is to ensure that 911 callers receive the most appropriate emergency response as quickly as possible. Lives often are on the line in an emergency, and every second matters.

Achieving a balance between sending the optimal response to an emergency and having it arrive as fast as possible is tricky. In fact, it is analogous to walking a tightrope. To achieve the former, many emergency communications centers (ECCs) rely on standard protocols developed for each type of emergency call that they receive, typically law enforcement, fire/rescue and emergency medical services.

An Effective Way to Improve Evidence Management

An axiom within the criminal-justice community is that the more evidence that can be captured and leveraged by the prosecution, the better. Corollary to that axiom, however, is that evidence—regardless of type or quantity—has no utility if it is not easily accessed and shared, or worse, somehow falls through the cracks. The way to prevent such problems from occurring is to deploy a digital evidence management solution, or DEMS.

What the Public Safety Community Can Learn From the COVID-19 Pandemic

In a recent post, I touched upon some of the novel ways that the public safety community has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this post I’ll explore some of the most important lessons that have been learned.

First and foremost, all public safety agencies need continuity-of-operations (COOP) and disaster-recovery (DR) plans. We have roughly 150 subject-matter experts, and as they travel the country supporting clients, they often discover the complete lack of such plans and/or they come to realize that they haven’t been updated for quite some time. This always amazes me. Every agency should have such plans. As Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” While the pandemic has brought this need into sharp focus, there are many events—tornados, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, hazmat incidents—that could render an emergency communications center inoperable, inaccessible or uninhabitable.

COVID-19 Has Brought Out Public Safety's Resolve, Ingenuity

Sometimes you don’t have a choice—an event occurs that is so cataclysmic that you are forced to do things you had no idea you were capable of doing, and certainly no desire to do them. Here’s a for instance. On December 6, 1941, the United States continued on its slow but steady recovery from the Great Depression, content in the cocoon of its isolationism. Things were getting better, fueled in part by the New Deal. And then Japan bombed Pearl Harbor the next day. In an instant, the U.S., its citizens, and their way of life were turned upside down—and a lot of things changed very quickly as a result.