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Conferences like NENA’s SBP Are Key to Advancing Emergency Response

Posted on January 20, 2020 by Sherri Griffith Powell

In the past, we’ve talked a lot about the critical role that standards play in the advancement of next generation 911 (NG911). They help to ensure interoperability between disparate solutions providers by reducing proprietary development and promoting open-source approaches to design. But as technology continues to change, standards and best practices development becomes even more important in addressing the issues that agencies continue to face when trying to fully implement NG911. That’s where conferences like the National Emergency Number Association (NENA)’s Standards & Best Practices come in.

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Statewide Implementations Are Best For Text-to-911

Posted on August 21, 2017 by Sherri Griffith Powell

Imagine being on the freeway and encountering a horrific accident, one that almost certainly has resulted in fatalities. You instinctively reach for your mobile phone, and then freeze—because you are a member of the deaf/hard-of-hearing/speech-disabled community and text-to-911 service has yet to arrive where you live.

This is no hypothetical event. It actually happened to Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who spoke about it during her keynote address at the 2013 Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) national conference. Matlin—who has been a devoted advocate for text-to-911 service—reportedly said at the time, “Instead of being able to instantly text to 911, I had to trust and leave it to other bystanders. And I shudder to think, what if it had been me in the accident—how could I have called?”

Four years later, text-to-911 service still isn’t ubiquitous in the United States—in fact, it is nowhere close to ubiquity, as only about 14 percent of public safety answering points in the United States have implemented the service.

This leads to a critical question: why isn’t this lifesaving feature universally available today?

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