We make decisions in split seconds all the time. But few are as critical as those made during 9-1-1 calls. Ensuring that those decisions lead to an optimal outcome can be the difference between life and death. Due to the critical nature of 9-1-1 emergency communications, maintaining effective responses is something we all need and want. It is the reason that most, if not all PSAPs, have some form of quality assurance (QA) procedure.
Up until now, QA focused on telephone calls as this has been the primary form of 9-1-1 communication between the public and PSAPs. All this is changing with NG 9-1-1, Text-to-911 and possibly multimedia availability through FirstNet. PSAPs will be required to handle text, video, images and potentially many other forms of communication as well as data originating from various security sensors.
Telecommunicators will need to have the ability to process new media formats and make decisions based on those inputs. In this complex environment, QA will be even more essential for identifying and closing knowledge gaps. With this in mind, here are some tips on what your PSAP should look for when choosing a “next generation” quality assurance solution.
- Complete incident capture – If it can’t be captured, it can’t be reviewed. When it comes to QA, voice recordings are increasingly just part of a larger picture. With next generation QA systems, it’s possible to capture and synch, for example, screen recordings to voice recordings, making it possible to see and hear what transpired. How was the telecommunicator interacting with the systems? Did the telecommunicator enter the right information? Follow the right protocols? Dispatch the right assistance to the right location?
- Enhanced performance assessment – Following on the above point, PSAPs should select a solution that enables them to review and assess the telecommunicator’s quality of response involving all forms of incoming data, including 9-1-1 calls, text, video, radio communications, and GIS.
- Targeted coaching and training – Getting telecommunicators ready to handle NG9-1-1 is going to require training. But that’s just the first step. It will take continued learning, reinforcement and guidance over time to become truly proficient with all of the new systems, procedures and regulations. Your PSAP will need a next generation QA system that can easily identify telecommunicators’ knowledge gaps so supervisors can provide needs-based coaching and training to groups or specific telecommunicators. Additionally, some of the most effective learning occurs by example. There is a vast difference between reading about something and experiencing or seeing it first-hand. Next generation QA solutions allow PSAPs to use captured incidents as learning and training tools. A supervisor can pinpoint where a 9-1-1 call went extraordinarily well or swerved off course, and then use these real-life examples for one-on-one coaching or classroom training.
- Skills monitoring – Next generation QA systems can help supervisors track how well telecommunicators are acquiring new skills and adhering to procedures related to Text-to-911 and NG 9-1-1. This is not only important in providing the public with a high standard of service, but also to ensure compliance with a growing number of regulations such as CALEA, APCO P33, and future NENA standards as they gain momentum.
- Reporting – Reporting provides essential information on trends, resource utilization, and overall performance so that you can make smarter and more efficient staffing decisions. Next generation QA systems can provide managers insight into the quality and productivity of the PSAP and of each staff member. Look for a QA solution that allows you to drill down to results for each QA metric, on both a group and individual basis.
The role of the PSAP has always been complex, but with NG 9-1-1 and public safety broadband on the horizon, it will become even more so. Technology is creating this complexity. But with Next Generation QA solutions, technology also has the power to simplify it.