Client Success Story: MCP Helps Telecommunicators in Florida Prepare for the Arrival of Next Generation 911 Systems
In the United States, people call 911 approximately 240 million times annually – or roughly 657,000 calls daily – to seek help. During these calls, telecommunicators working in state, regional, and local emergency communications centers (ECCs) must make life-or-death decisions promptly, which requires effective preparation for the transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911) services, to avoid increasing an already high-stress environment.
In Florida, the Department of Management Services (DMS) supports state agencies with workforce and business-related functions that enable them to fulfill their core missions. Among DMS’s responsibilities is assisting public-safety communications through the Division of Telecommunications.
In 2019, DMS received federal funding for the implementation of NG911 services. The department used a portion of the funding to conduct training classes to prepare telecommunicators and officials working in state ECCs for the NG911 response environment. DMS recognized a learning gap among state ECC officials and telecommunicators concerning NG911 implementation.
Compared with legacy 911 systems, NG911 systems improve effectiveness in locating emergency callers and dispatching the appropriate response. NG911 systems also provide responders, both in the field and in ECCs, with enhanced situational awareness. This will save more lives and property.
NG911 systems are different from legacy 911 systems in the following ways:
- NG911 systems are broadband enabled, which allows transmission of large files, e.g., video.
- Telecommunicators must be able to quickly analyze copious amounts of received data.
- Telecommunicators must be able to respond to visual cues and monitor numerous screens simultaneously.
- Telecommunicators must be able to maintain emotional well-being while viewing graphic visuals.
After a competitive procurement process, DMS hired Mission Critical Partners (MCP) to create the curriculum and conduct the training. MCP created five virtual training workshops delivered over seven months in 2022. This was done to maximize flexibility for the telecommunicators wanting to take the courses and to reduce travel expenses. MCP subject-matter experts provided instruction.
Courses included the following:
- Quality Assurance (QA)/Quality Improvement (QI): This course was designed to ensure that personnel have a better understanding of the QA/QI process and activities.
- Continuity of Operations Planning: This course was designed to address the importance of a continuity of operations plan (COOP). The course provided critical information to telecommunicators so they can assist with the development, implementation, and updating of such plans in alignment with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidance.
- Cybersecurity for the Telecommunicator: This course was designed to improve the ability of telecommunicators to recognize and combat cybersecurity threats facing the public sector (e.g., telecommunicators were taught how to recognize a phishing attack, and were instructed on best practices pertaining to passcodes and passphrases, as well as the dangers of connecting unauthorized devices to their workstations.
- Surviving Stress: This course was designed to introduce telecommunicators to stress management including how to detect and combat stress within themselves and coworkers.
- Crisis Situations: This course was designed to address how telecommunicators can respond better to low-frequency/high-urgency incidents, e.g., an active-shooter event at a shopping mall, a multivehicle crash on a freeway that has resulted in serious injuries and/or fatalities, or a hostage situation. Telecommunicators also learned more about their role in the post-incident review (e.g., calls), as well as public information and document management.
More than 500 telecommunicators in the state were trained through March 2022.
What Training Attendees Say
Quotes below are from four course attendees.
“The online format with Zoom was fantastic. It helps those who want to take the class but are unable to be there physically. I hope this becomes available more in the future.”
“The instructor's contribution of real-life stories made the class interesting and relevant.”
“I look forward to taking more courses.”
“Instructor was very knowledgeable and engaging!”