MCP Insights

Panel Discussion Offers Myriad Tips for Battling Public Safety’s Ever-Growing Cybersecurity Menace

Posted on July 15, 2020 by Glenn Bischoff

The cybersecurity problem that public safety agencies have is very big and it’s not going away—if anything, it’s only going to expand as time passes. That was the consensus of a panel convened for MCP’s inaugural Conference for Advancing Public Safety, which was presented last month.

“The threat’s there—something is going to happen, and we need to be prepared for it,” said Thomas Stutzman, director, Indiana County (Pennsylvania) Emergency Management Agency.

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Call-Handling and Dispatch Technology Considerations for ECCs

Posted on July 10, 2020 by Eric Caddy

First responders historically have arrived at an emergency scene armed with only the information that emergency communications center (ECC) telecommunicators extracted while talking with a 911 caller. However, such callers usually are experiencing one of the worst moments of their lives, which makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most to deliver complete, coherent information. As a result, first responders are left to piece together what to expect upon arrival.

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Whitepaper Cautions Against Using TIGER Data for GIS Data Development

Posted on May 21, 2020 by Glenn Bischoff

Geographic information system (GIS) data is a foundational component in the migration to, and continuing operation of, Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems.

But developing local GIS data so that it aligns with NG911 standards is a laborious and time-consuming process that can take months or years to complete.

Despite this, MCP’s Robert Horne, one of the firm’s GIS gurus, cautions in a recent whitepaper against taking shortcuts in developing GIS data for use in a NG911 environment. Spe cifically, Robert writes that public safety agencies should avoid using the U.S. Census Bureau’s open-source Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) data for 911 call-routing purposes. TIGER data is available free of charge, but does not meet basic public safety requirements, nor the established NG911 standards, Robert writes. This is due to incomplete data attribution, poor spatial accuracy, incomplete coverage of the PSAP’s jurisdictional footprint, inaccurate street names and address ranges, and a lagging data update schedule. local GIS data so that it aligns with NG911 standards is a laborious and time-c onsuming process that can take months or years to complete.
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How to Keep GIS Institutional Knowledge From Walking Out the Door

Posted on May 19, 2020 by Robert Horne

Every once in a while, the geographic information system (GIS) professional working for one of our clients retires, which is great for the pro—and equally bad for the client.

GIS has been important in the public safety community for a couple of decades now. The data generated by such systems is leveraged by computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system mapping applications to pinpoint the location of 911 callers on telecommunicator screen displays. In the Next Generation 911 (NG911) environment, to which many emergency communications centers (ECCs) are migrating, GIS-generated geospatial data will replace the legacy automatic location identification (ALI) and master street address guide (MSAG) databases to locate emergency callers. The result will be fewer misdirected 911 calls and timelier dispatching of the appropriate emergency response. When lives are on the line and every second counts, this is a good thing.

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Podcast Series Tackles COVID-19-Generated Telecommunicator Stress

Posted on May 12, 2020 by Glenn Bischoff

Without question, the role of telecommunicator in an emergency communications center (ECC) is one of the most stressful jobs on the planet. Having to deal with distraught, even hysterical, callers who are having the worst day of their lives, and then making split-second decisions regarding the appropriate emergency response to dispatch—all while maintaining one’s composure—is no easy task. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to the stress considerably.

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