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.

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[Interview] The Impact Social Media is Having on the Public Safety Community

Posted on November 21, 2018 by Glenn Bischoff

As people change how they communicate, 911 must change too.

Recently MCP Insights chatted with Dr. Andrea Tapia, associate professor of information sciences and technology at Pennsylvania State University in State College, about the impact social media is beginning to have on the 911 community.

Dr. Tapia is working with Mission Critical Partners for the next year, as she takes a sabbatical from her duties at Penn State, to help public safety agencies leverage the opportunities that social media interactions provide to enhance emergency response.

Insights: Why is social media becoming more important to the emergency response community?

Tapia: Society has changed the way it communicates. Most of society is not using the telephone as it has in the past. This isn’t true of only the younger generations—even older people are changing. My 75-year-old father is texting now rather than making phone calls, mostly because his children and grandchildren insist that he do so. The middle and younger generations are changing because they want to, while the older generations are changing because they must. Most of society—even the reluctant—are changing.

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Leveraging Social Media Data in Charleston County, SC

Posted on July 20, 2018 by Dave Sehnert

Recent history has shown that, when 911 becomes overwhelmed, citizens turn to social media in an effort to have their pleas for help heard.

Last fall, Texans trapped in homes flooded by Hurricane Harvey used the social radio network app Zello to contact the volunteer Cajun Navy fleet and posted their addresses on Facebook and Twitter to aide emergency medical services in locating them. After a 7.1 magnitude earthquake collapsed buildings in Mexico City, volunteers used WhatsApp to recruit and mobilize informal search and rescue teams before the army, navy and civil protection units were mobilized. When wild fires destroyed parts of California over the course of several months, many turned to social media to plead for help locating missing loved ones and to mark themselves as “safe” using Facebook’s Crisis Response feature when they could not reach friends and relatives.

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Using data to improve emergency response outcomes

Posted on June 27, 2018 by Kevin Murray

All fine restaurants have two things in common: they use the best ingredients in their recipes and, more importantly, they have chefs who know exactly what to do with those ingredients.

The public safety sector is on the cusp of an incredibly exciting new era, one that will be driven by a torrent of rich data and more precise wireless location coming into 911 centers. This data potentially will have a spectacular impact on emergency response—but only if it is harnessed effectively.

When the “data tsunami” is contemplated today, it generally is in the context of Next Generation 911 and the nationwide public safety broadband network being implemented by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). But there also is much discussion these days about integrating crowd-sourcing applications—such as the Waze traffic-navigation app—and social media into the emergency response environment, as well as the convergence of the “smart cities” concept and public safety. The idea is to leverage the millions, perhaps billions, of sensors already in place in communities today, from video cameras to motion detectors to gunshot-location systems to wearable devices, and use them to evolve 911 centers into proactive hubs that can prevent emergencies instead of simply responding to them. This data can generate unprecedented situational awareness, which when integrated, prioritized and operationalized into the PSAP, will improve emergency response outcomes and keep first responders safer. This is no small consideration.   

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