Public Safety Communications News Round-up – January 20, 2016

The Public Safety landscape is being inundated by change, on a scope and scale not seen before. Here’s a round-up of the latest industry news and updates including some great pieces from, The San Bernardino County Sun, Urgent Communications, FOX25 WFXT, CBS Denver, FierceWirelessTech, FierceGovernmentIT, Triangle Business Journal, Federal News Radio, FirstNet and the FCC. Enjoy!

Texts-to-911 on the rise (multiple articles)
Every day more PSAPs are implementing text-to-911, and those that already have are finding that texts-to-911 are on the rise. Since making this service available in April of last year, Erie County’s Central Police Services have fielded about 1,200 requests for help through text-to-911, and those requests are increasing as more citizens become aware the capability is available. According to a county representative, the service is critically important when the person on the other end of the line is unable to speak, for whatever reason – for example, for the deaf or hard of hearing, and especially in domestic or active shooter situations.​

Speaking of text-to-911, San Bernardino County also recently announced that they’ve now implemented this vital service. The county credits text-to-911 with helping to save the life of a 52-year old deaf woman who recently suffered a heart attack. In a separate case, another hearing-impaired woman in Georgia was able to use text-to-911 to alert authorities when two young children were left unattended in a car in a mall parking lot. Authorities in Colorado also said that text-to-911 may have been instrumental in saving a suicidal man’s live.

If your PSAP is one of the 450 call centers nationwide that now support text-to-911, it may be it's time to look at recording these communications. Take a look at this instructional video to learn more.

NG911 spending on the increase (FCC Report)
The Federal Communications Commission’s annual report on state collection and use of 911 fees was recently released. It reveals that NG911 spending is on the upswing: 28 states and the District of Columbia reported spending 911/E911 funds on NG911 programs in 2014.

Drones for emergency response? (Triangle Business Journal)
Commercial entities like Amazon have been testing drone delivery of packages for some time now. So what's next? According to this article in the Triangle Business Journal, a research team from North Carolina State University’s Industrial Engineering and Systems Engineering program is exploring how drones can be used for emergency response. Far-fetched or feasible? I'm not sure....but the idea certainly caught my attention.

Dramatic changes on the horizon for PSAPs (multiple articles and videos)
Check out this Urgent Communications article which presents an interesting viewpoint from FirstNet Vice Chairman Jeff Johnson on the future role of PSAPs as they migrate to FirstNet and Next Generation 911 (NG911). This excellent video from FirstNet explores the concept further, highlighting exactly how FirstNet and NG911 will transform end-to-end public safety communications.

In other FirstNet news (multiple articles)
With 2015 in the rear-view mirror, this article in Fierce Government IT reviews FirstNet’s progress for 2015. FirstNet got off to a great start for 2016 as well, officially launching its consultation program to assist states in their public safety broadband planning process. You can keep up-to-date on the program’s progress by viewing the FirstNet Engagement Dashboard here. On January 13th FirstNet also issued its RFP for the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network. This Federal News Radio article explains why FirstNet's RFP is a major step toward making nationwide public safety broadband a reality.​

We hope you enjoyed this Public Safety news round-up. Be sure to respond in the comments or tweet us @NICE_PublicSafe.​


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