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Learn More About How Drones Are Being Used in Public Safety

Over the last two decades, I have written now and then about a relative who was a career firefighter for the city of Chicago. I am writing about him again today because he’s the reason I’m so excited about a panel discussion that I’ll be moderating in a couple of weeks during MCP’s second-annual Conference for Advancing Public Safety (CAPS).

Five Professional Development 'Must-Dos' for Public Safety Organizations & Pros

Ten years ago this month, the United States Congress recognized April as “National 911 Education Month”, and ever since the 911 community has organized dedicated events throughout their communities to support public education about this vital, life-saving service. This month also is a fitting time to look inward and focus attention on how much emphasis is placed on education within our own organizations, whether it be a 911 center or a company like ours.

At MCP, we view professional development and mentoring as an integral part of our culture. Not only does it help our staff members cultivate their knowledge and remain current on technological and operational developments, it also plays an important role in employee retention. Every year, we invest more than a million dollars in development and training because we recognize that not investing in our staff could negatively impact how we serve our clients.

For our clients, and public safety professionals in general, the same holds true. Invest in yourself and / or your agency and you will reap the rewards.

Professional development and mentoring in emergency communications has never been as important as it is today for two reasons.

Social Media and Emergency Response: The Challenge with Leveraging Social Media Data

In a previous post, we examined how social media had a profound effect on emergency response in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake that devastated the Caribbean island nation of Haiti. This marked the first instance of social media being leveraged in this manner, when disaster victims rose up to play a role in their own rescue.

Social Media and Emergency Management: A Powerful Combination

A network television show that debuted recently is centered on a crowd-sourcing platform that is used to solve all sorts of serious crimes, and in some cases, prevent them. While this may seem implausible, it actually is a case of art imitating life.

Data and How It Will Change the Public Safety Communications Landscape [WEBINAR]

Ready or not, data is taking over the world. So what does that mean for emergency communications?

The way in which public safety answering points (PSAPs) respond to both emergency, and non-emergency events, will change dramatically once public safety communications starts harnessing the the increasing availability of data in our communities. Here are some interesting stats:

  • Internet-connected machines are expected to be more than 200 billion by 2020 according to research from Intel.
  • Gartner predicts that the IoT market will eventually include 20.8 billion things.
  • Technology giant Ericsson predicts that in 2018, there will be more IoT gadgets than mobile devices.

In today’s communications environment, PSAPs rely primarily on voice communications to provide an up-to-date picture of what’s happening at the emergency scene and communicate with other first responders. This is problematic when the communications infrastructure becomes disabled during natural disasters, or when a victim is unable to place a call for help.

When It Comes To FirstNet and NG911 Convergence is the Key To Success

“Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday.” – Steve Jobs

Our nation’s 911 centers, the nexus of citizens who need help and our dedicated first responders, are on the brink of a major evolution. Some would say that it is on a level similar to how the iPhone revolutionized mobile communications a decade ago. 

The foundation currently is being laid for end-to-end Internet Protocol (IP) communications from the caller (or sensor) all the way through to the first responders in the field. Freed from the limitations of 512 characters (or less) of emergency caller data, the 911 sector will integrate systems and networks previously impeded by proprietary protocols and siloed networks. 

The convergence of Next Generation 911 (NG911) and the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) will give 911 professionals and first responders alike a seamless emergency communications environment that enables sharing of critical multimedia data—between the public, 911 centers, and first responders. Gone will be the days of, “This network/system doesn’t talk to that one.” Or, “That data isn’t available.” Or, “There’s no way for me to send you that information.”

The flywheel of progress continues to turn and we all owe it to everyone who calls 911 in their greatest time of need to keep it moving in the right direction. Discussions are taking place on how and why Emergency Services IP Networks (ESInets)—which will transmit emergency calls and related data—and the NPSBN need to be interconnected to share critical information needed by 911 centers and first responders alike. There are many compelling use cases that speak to the need for a strong integration—all of which come back to the workflow of our emergency responders. Keeping our responders safe, leveraging the data to make better decisions, and ultimately improving outcomes for those who need help, are all reasons that NG911 systems and the NPSBN must work together. 

Embracing the Power of NG911 Content for Improving Emergency Response [Webinar]

Next Generation 911 (NG911) and the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) promise to be powerful platforms that will improve response times, create resource efficiencies and revolutionize how public safety operates. We believe that NG911 content, defined as value-added data inputs about a call, caller or the location of a call, will not only enable first responders in the migration towards NG911, but will also help drive NG911 adoption.

PSAP Cyber Security Threats and How to Prepare Your Agency [Webinar]

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an alert indicating that government facilities are being targeted by hackers and cyber criminals, a trend that DHS expected would increase.

Not only were they spot on, the issue has since specifically impacted emergency communications systems on various scales and unprecedented levels several times since that alert. For example:

  • Last October, a Twitter post containing a shortened link took over the phone and dialed 911 repeatedly was clicked more than 117,000 times by Apple phone users. 9-1-1 centers across the country were affected.
  • In Washington D.C., 70 percent of storage devices that record data from D.C. police surveillance cameras were infected with ransomware eight days before President Trump’s inauguration.
  • In Licking County, OH, a 911 center went without computers for a time because of a countywide network shutdown to prevent an attack from spreading.

CAD-to-CAD Best Practices, Challenges and How to Solve Them [LIVE WEBINAR]

Real-time, effective interoperable data sharing is essential in the 911 and first responder communities, especially as the industry transitions to Next Generation 911 (NG911). One necessary tool to accomplish this is CAD-to-CAD (also known as computer-aided dispatch to computer-aided dispatch, or CAD2CAD) interoperability.

CAD-to-CAD interoperability is not a new term—CAD systems have been used across the 911 community for decades. While CAD-to-CAD data exchanges have been implemented in several regions throughout the country, they are not yet a prevalent technology.

Achieving NG911 Interoperability: What Does it Take? [Webinar]

Emergency management and 911 organizations across the country are in various stages of migrating from operating in a legacy environment to Next Generation 911 (NG911), a broadband-enabled communications network that will dramatically enhance first responder communications.

If your organization is focusing on this transition, it’s likely you have a vision of NG911 interoperability. What may not be clear is exactly what steps you need to take to get there.

For example, GIS will play a central role in the NG911 transition, but what exactly does that mean for your agency? How important are policy routing rules? How do you begin establishing data interoperability with your neighboring agencies? And how will FirstNet impact this migration?