The 9-1-1 system was developed in the late 1960s and has served the public and first responders well for over five decades. However, technological advances require the public safety industry to evolve its communication systems to stay safe and secure.
The origins of NG9-1-1 can be traced back to 1999 when Congress passed the Wireless Communication and Public Safety Act. Since then, public safety agencies and industry partners have been working on a next-generation emergency system that can provide more accurate location and routing assistance, better connectivity, and reliability.
In this blog from NGA, we'll explore NG911 and what it means for 911 security and improved public safety.
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NG911 stands for Next Generation 911. It's a modernized emergency response system that provides faster, more accurate, and reliable 911 services. The NG911 infrastructure runs on Internet Protocol (IP) and cloud-based technology, which allows for the integration of voice, video, text, and other data sources.
This means that Next Generation 911 can support multimedia communication and text on various devices, including cell phones, landlines, smartphones and smartwatches, tablets, car computers, and more.
One main objective of NG911 is to establish more data points obtained from multiple sources, increasing the amount of information available to 9-1-1 dispatchers and first responders out in the field.
Unlike the traditional 911 system, which relies on outdated technology, NG911 uses an IP-based infrastructure and cloud-based computing to handle and route calls. This means that calls are routed to the closest PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point), even if the caller doesn't know their location.
Because the Next Generation 911 system supports multimedia, live photos, videos, text and real-time text messaging can help emergency responders better understand the situation and deploy resources more effectively.
NG911 is more than a technology upgrade from the Enhanced 911 (E911) system. It's a total re-innovation that includes several vital features.
Some of these features include:
Multimedia Messaging: With Next Generation 911, individuals in need can send photos, videos, and text messages to 911 dispatchers during an emergency. This feature is especially useful for those unable to speak or hear or when they're in a situation where speaking might put them in danger.
Photos and videos via SMS or MMS allow dispatchers to receive visual representation of an emergency and determine the appropriate response. Live videos and photos can also help responders differentiate between calls for medical emergencies, terror, and everyday accidents.
Improved Location Accuracy: Currently, some 9-1-1 operators rely on a caller's phone number and cell tower triangulation to determine their location. With NG911, all emergency telecommunicators can use more precise location technology, including GPS and indoor positioning systems, to pinpoint a caller's location.
This information is critical to emergency services dispatch, especially in urban areas where every second counts.
Data Sharing: If a caller has a medical condition or disability, NG911 can share this information with first responders. This data sharing will help ensure first responders are equipped with the information required to provide the best care possible.
System Security: Another crucial aspect of Next Generation 911 is the security features that come with the system. The system includes multiple security measures to protect the infrastructure from cyber attacks. The security features of the NG911 system ensure that there is little to no chance of calls to the emergency services being compromised. This makes the NG911 system one of the world's most advanced and robust emergency response systems.
Interoperability: The NG911 system is interoperable by design. This means that the infrastructure works with other systems, devices, and equipment. The system allows first responders to share multimedia data to improve emergency response.
With Next Generation 911, first responders can collaborate in real-time as they work towards mitigating emergencies. NG911 technology also allows for better coordination between different levels of government agencies and private sector organizations, leading to improved emergency response overall.
NG911 transmits call data over an IP-based network, enabling encryption and much-needed security features. The system is designed to give call centers accurate mapping and caller data that are updated in real time.
This way, emergency responders can be notified of any potential security threats and respond promptly. In the traditional 911 system, the caller's location is determined based on the nearest cell tower, which is not always accurate. With NG911, location accuracy is improved, enabling emergency responders to deploy resources quickly and efficiently, potentially reducing response times.
NG911 was also undersigned with robust cybersecurity features in mind. Next Generation 911 security can help prevent cyber threats, including hacking and malware attacks, disrupting emergency response services, and putting lives at risk. This provides better resilience against cyber attacks and offers a more secure network.
NG911 not only improves 911 security but also enhances public safety significantly. With real-time communication and a more accurate caller location, emergency responders can deploy resources quickly and efficiently, saving more lives.
The system also enables the transmission of photos and videos by callers, which can provide significant help in identifying an emergency. For instance, a caller can submit a photo or a video of a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run or a suspect in a criminal act, making it easier for law enforcement officers to track and apprehend the perpetrators.
Next Generation 911 is already revolutionizing the emergency response sector. With video streaming, PSAPS can assess the severity of an emergency and deploy the appropriate resources instantly.
Additionally, the system enables communication between call centers in different areas, allowing for better collaboration and cooperation between emergency response teams. With NG911, emergency response teams can access accurate and real-time data, enabling them to make crucial decisions faster.
NG911 is the future of emergency communication technology. Our emergency response system must keep pace as we move towards a more digital and connected world. By modernizing our emergency communication system, we can provide a safer environment for the public by enabling faster and more efficient response times.
While implementing NG911 may come with some challenges, the benefits, especially regarding security, are worth it. With NG911, we have a modernized emergency response system that is efficient, accurate, and able to handle the complex needs of today's world.