When it comes to NG9-1-1, many things contribute to successful deployment. A crucial part of the process is complying with The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rules and regulations and NENA standards.
There's no doubt that staying compliant with federal rules and regulations can be daunting at times. However, it's essential to remember planning and taking necessary steps can mean a smoother NG911 transition for your emergency response organization without compromising any future options for Next Generation 911 services you provide.
In this blog post from our trusted Next Generation 911 providers and experts at NGA, we will discuss:
What Next Generation 911 is
Ten actions to put in place for a successful NG911 project plan
Next steps for ensuring NG911 law compliance and success
Next Generation 911, also known as NG911, is a digital telecommunications system that runs on secure internet protocol (IP), cloud-based networks. The NG911 infrastructure is designed to replace traditional 911 systems to make way for faster, more accurate emergency response that can meet the needs of our digitally communicative society.
With the implementation of Next Generation 911, dispatchers and other first responders can communicate with those in need of emergency assistance in real-time.
This immediate communication is possible through multimedia sharing, in which citizens can reach 911 professionals in times of need via:
NG911 will also help PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) manage 911 call overload during unprecedented situations like natural disasters. Next Generation 911's interconnected network will also allow emergency response professionals to transfer 911 calls to the right call center based on caller location data.
NG911 is also a nationwide initiative to update and replace outdated 911 infrastructures with Next Generation 911 across the United States and Canada. The goal of this NG911 initiative is to improve emergency communications and services in a society that's rapidly evolving into a completely wireless society.
While the technology to implement these new IP-based 911 systems is available, transitioning to NG911 entails more than replacing existing computer equipment with newer hardware and software. The successful implementation of Next Generation 911 across the nation will need the collaboration of public safety, legislative, and governing bodies.
It will also require PSAPs and other 911 organizations to ensure their FCC and NENA compliance through strategic NG911 law project planning.
As you begin planning your NG911 project, there are ten specific actions that you should take into consideration:
The phone or device an individual in need is using to reach emergency response professionals must be able to dial 911 directly and reach the right 911 organization. The application must also provide a valid call back number, provide a dispatchable caller location, and information for the 911 telecommunicator and onsite authorities.
The FCC requires all emergency response agencies to adopt and follow two federal laws designed to strengthen 911 calling: Kari's Law and Section 506 of RAY BAUM'S Act.
These laws require agencies to ensure that staff, patrons, students, visitors, and employees can successfully reach emergency professionals by dialing 911 when needed.
Your stakeholders are responsible for all fundamental decisions regarding the NG911 project plan. Typically, your stakeholders will include security professionals, safety personnel, and legal representatives in risk management, human resources, and organization management. Your 911 agency's IT, network, helpdesk, and desktop support staff may also be included.
These will include developing new across your organization, such as:
A successful project outcome rests heavily on properly assessing the geological area and mapping a clear plan. During the early phases of NG911 planning, you may want to consult with a local or regional emergency response agency representative about the existing 911 system and any planned improvements.
The goal of overseeing a 911 call is to find, route, and notify. This means that the 911 caller's location must first be identified inside the agency's network. The call is then transferred to the voice service provider, passed to the 911 network, and transmitted to the correct emergency call center.
If location information is restricted, the caller may be unable to be found. It's critical to test, audit, and implement the ability to call 911 from various phones and voice applications from different places.
Depending on the 911 agency's location, branch offices may have different needs from the main office - especially if the company has a large presence across multiple states. In situations with different state laws, the best practice is to follow the most strict requirements of each state.
Consider it from the point of view of all employees, visitors, and patrons who are entitled to the same services if a need for emergency help arises.
Although some emergency response organizations have used PS-ALI or VPC voice service providers before regulatory requirements, this is simply not enough to satisfy current or future NG911 needs.
PSAPs and other emergency agencies must provide dispatchable location information for every 911 call on the network, regardless of where the call was initiated.
What technology and voice systems are already in use in your organization? This might include wireless phones; soft clients for remote workers; mobile apps on employees' smartphones, tablets, and laptops; or voice-enabled applications like Zoom or Teams.
Suppose someone starts a call from any device on the network. In that case, you need to be sure that your 911 system can find the caller's current location and notify them simultaneously using the technology and devices in your organization.
New rules, procedures, and procedures may be required to secure a successful NG911 implementation outcome. You may want to include an in-house notification capability if you have in-house security personnel.
By alerting the right people in your 911 agency to an emergency, you create a better chance of successfully coordinating with other first-responders outside of your organization. The importance of internal notifications is to work alongside other emergency response personnel to help assess and identify the 911 caller's location regarding the specifics of your agency.
All personnel, visitors, etc., in your organization needs to understand how the technology and responses to 911 calls work.
For example, a staff member working from home should know how to report their location. This can be identified if there is an emergency and 911 is dialed from a work-provided phone or other devices.
Initial and ongoing testing is necessary to maintain a streamlined 911 system. Any change in the NG911 network can interfere with how this works, and finding the issue before someone needs emergency services is ideal.
To ensure that your Next Generation 911 calling, and solutions are working properly, test them when you make any changes or updates quarterly or bi-annually.
When countless individuals rely on your 911 services, your organization can't afford to put system maintenance on the back burner. Resources should be dedicated to keeping track of all information while you test your NG911 solutions regularly.
New employees will require additional training, which is needed whenever a new facility is established or when changes among the staff and people in charge occur. This becomes especially important for those responsible for safety and security.
The importance of initial and ongoing system maintenance cannot be stressed enough, as having a reliable and fully operational NG911 infrastructure is essential to keeping your community safe.
Complying with NG911 law and setting up projects are complex and require a lot of planning. However, following the ten steps above can help your 911 organization stay on track and succeed.
If you want more information about creating an NG911 project plan or need assistance, don't hesitate to reach our providers at NGA! Our team has years of experience providing trusted emergency response services and working with public safety professionals and agencies of all kinds.