MCP Insights

NENA Conference and MCP's MAPS Program Will Help Prepare You for What's Coming

Posted on June 7, 2019 by Dave Sehnert

After taking a look at the breakout sessions scheduled for the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) trade show and conference—which will be held June 14-19 in Orlando—a clear theme immediately emerged: preparing the nation’s 911 centers for what’s coming next.

And there’s a lot coming. 

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MCP's Top Eight Public Safety Predictions for 2019

Posted on January 10, 2019 by Morgan Sava

What trends are expected to disrupt the public safety sector in 2019?

For 911 and emergency response organizations, it has never been more critical to stay ahead of the curve. In this post, Mission Critical Partners' (MCP) subject-matter experts offer their take on the advancements that will have the greatest impact on public safety’s transformation this year.

1. 5G Will Significantly Expand, Opening the Door for Transformative Capabilities that are Limited Today by Wireless Bandwidth.

Dave Sehnert, Director of Innovation and Integration (Twitter: @NG911Consultant)

“5G is expected to expand in 2019 beyond its current limited deployment, and the first wave of smartphones for 5G networks also is expected this year. 5G technology offers speeds that are 10–20 times faster than 4G LTE, and latency is reduced to a few milliseconds. 5G’s impact extends to public safety and other fields that increasingly rely on high-speed connections. Last year, one wireless carrier announced the creation of a 5G First Responder Lab that will serve as an incubator and testing ground for innovative technologies that use 5G and can be deployed for public safety use cases. With 5G, public safety communications finally will benefit from a full spectrum of new and increasingly prevalent technologies, such as sensors, wearables, smartphones, smart buildings, facial-recognition systems and drones, to name a few. The integration of data from these applications into the emergency response ecosystem will create increased situational awareness, reduced response times, and ultimately, the potential for more lives saved.”

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Announcing the Launch of MCP's Book, Expert Advice to Guide Your Mission-Critical Facility Project

Posted on October 26, 2018 by Morgan Sava

A project to build or refurbish an emergency communications center—including a 911 center—or an emergency operations center is no small undertaking. Generally speaking, the decisions made will impact the agency and its stakeholders for at least 20 years, perhaps a half century or more.

Mission-critical facilities must meet today’s operational and technology requirements while being flexible enough to accommodate the unforeseen practices and systems deployed in the future. The complexity of such a project is daunting. Every single decision impacts many other aspects of the facility and the desired operational outcome—just as a pebble tossed into a lake creates ripples that are many times larger than the pebble. Therefore, a great deal of thought needs to be put into sizing, purposing and equipping the facility.

In light of that, we are excited to announce the launch of MCP's new book nearly ten years in the making, "Expert Advice to Guide Your Mission-Critical Facility Project."

The basis of this book is to offer guidance to those who are spearheading facility projects, whether they be government officials, public safety directors or facility managers. The MCP Team has learned the hard lessons about what works, and what doesn't, when it comes to facility design. This book is intended to share those lessons in order to help project leaders navigate the constraints and challenges that could have a detrimental impact on bringing the facility to fruition.

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How to Protect Your Siren System from Hackers

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Brian Malinich

Emergency siren systems respond in various ways based on the type of activation tone that is transmitted. The tones correspond to the type of event that has occurred. Sometimes they will sound in a continuous burst for a predetermined length of time, other times they will sound in a series of short bursts, and for the most severe events they might emit prerecorded audio that contains critical instructions, for instance evacuation orders in the event of a wildfire.

In April 2017, someone hacked into the emergency weather siren system operated by the city of Dallas. The sirens are intended to warn citizens of weather events so serious that they should take immediate cover. Most of the time the sirens are used to warn of tornadoes, which are quite common in the region in the spring. On this night, the hacker reportedly unleashed all 156 sirens in the system simultaneously. Some media reports indicated that they blared for about 90 minutes, while others indicated that they sounded more than a dozen times for 90-second intervals. Regardless, the hack spawned quite a bit of panic. It also generated a lot of questions from government officials, the media and citizens.

Last month, sirens went off in Genesee County, Michigan, without any emergency to justify turning them on. Reportedly, this was the third time the sirens were activated in a month without apparent cause, and county public safety officials believe that the system was hacked each time.

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Apple Announces a Promising Step Toward Solving 911's Wireless Location Challenges

Posted on January 26, 2018 by John Chiaramonte

Sensational headlines criticizing the 911 industry’s inability to accurately and quickly locate emergency callers abound, like this recent one in the Wall Street Journal: “Why Uber Can Find You but 911 Can’t.” This is one of the industry’s most intractable issues—as TV host John Oliver said in 2016, “There doesn’t appear to be a simple, satisfying answer,” to why smartphone apps provide much better location information than that received by 911 centers.

Those within the industry understand the problem: 80 percent or more of all 911 calls are made using a wireless device, and such calls are routed based on Phase I data, which is the location of the cellular tower. More accurate “Phase II” data can become available (usually) in 25-35 seconds of the call being received by the 911 center, but that depends on multiple factors, including signal strength/distortion, geography and topology, especially when calls are made inside structures.

But, smartphones are supposed to be “smart” and the device knows where the caller is physically located, because of embedded GPS sensors and Wi-Fi positioning systems. Unfortunately, as we know all too well, today’s 911 systems do not have access to that device-generated location information.

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