MCP Insights

New Legislation Will Have Significant Impact on Public Safety Communications in Florida

Posted on October 10, 2019 by Bonnie Maney

The State of Florida recently enacted legislation that has considerable implications for public safety agencies. The law was introduced after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, an organization formed to analyze the 2018 events of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting, highlighted several opportunities to improve public safety communications within the state.

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How Public Safety Agencies are Navigating Change and Accelerating Progress

Posted on August 8, 2019 by Morgan Sava

MCP’s Model for Advancing Public Safety is Helping Agencies Build a Blueprint for Today and What They Can Become

Last year, the 911 Center that serves Harford County, Maryland, was having a hard time recruiting and retaining telecommunicators, a problem that is quite common in emergency communications centers (ECCs) across the country.

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Public Safety Drones are Worth Pursuing, Despite the Challenges

Posted on May 3, 2019 by Glenn Bischoff

The concept of drones—also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS)—dates back to August 1849 when Austrian soldiers attacked the city of Venice with hot-air balloons filled with explosives. The campaign largely was unsuccessful; in fact, ill winds blew many of the balloons back toward the soldiers who launched them.

Nearly a century later, in 1944 during World War II, Japan embarked on the little-known Fu-Go campaign that involved launching about 9,000 balloons laden with incendiary bombs; the balloons were supposed to waft across the Pacific Ocean and then start forest fires in the western United States to spark panic amongst the citizenry. This campaign also was unsuccessful.

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This Weekend's GPS Rollover Event Requires Public Safety Communication's Attention

Posted on April 5, 2019 by Dennis Matzen

Global Positioning System (GPS)-based time sources are used throughout the public safety sector to synchronize a wide array of systems and equipment, including radio consoles, voice recorders, and computer-aided dispatch, fire alarm and video surveillance systems. Such time sources, known as master clocks, also ensure that every system used by a public safety agency generates an accurate, consistent timestamp for every emergency event that requires a law enforcement, fire/rescue and/or emergency medical services (EMS) response.

An event that will occur in two days—Saturday, April 6—threatens to throw things out of sync, at least to some degree. GPS marks time by transmitting signals that indicate the current week and the number of seconds into that week. That data is then converted by the various systems and equipment into the more recognizable format of year, month, day and time of day.

Because the field that represents the current week is a 10-bit binary number, a total of 1,024 weeks can transpire—roughly 19.7 years—before GPS resets the week value to zero. In the world of GPS, this time period is known as an epoch. The first epoch began on January 6, 1980 and rolled over on August 21, 1999; the second epoch will roll over in two days.

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Public Safety Cloud Solutions: Clear Sailing Ahead

Posted on March 8, 2019 by Chad Brothers

Do not be alarmed—those are not storm clouds on the horizon.

What you are seeing is the front line of cloud-based solutions entering the 911 technology marketplace. While cloud-based computing in its current form has been used effectively for more than a decade in non-public-safety markets, the 911 community has been glacier-like in adopting this technology. This largely is because 911 officials have been reticent to trust that cloud-hosted solutions can meet the rigorous demands of operating 24 x 7 x 365 with high reliability and availability—which is essential in a 911 center. 

However, cloud solutions have proved that they can achieve this high standard with other mission-critical entities, such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Department of Defense missile systems. They also have proved to be quite advantageous from implementation, maintenance, scalability, disaster-recovery and cost perspectives.

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