Enabling NG911: 6 steps to support NG911 adoption

Everything emergency communications centers (ECCs) do starts with a call or an incident, and as we move toward full adoption of Next Generation 911 (NG911) – whether it’s 911, 112 or 000 – next-generation capabilities allow public safety agencies to leverage the “smart” part of smartphones.

To enable those capabilities, decades-old technology must be upgraded. For agencies to enable NG911 they should provide their teams with information on next-gen technology requirements and a roadmap to get there. Public safety industry leaders, governing bodies and the community need to be informed, get involved and stay engaged to make NG911 happen.

There is a roadmap to achieve NG911 success, and while it seems that implementing the initiative is taking a long time, it’s going faster than other industry implementations as the original 911 deployment took nearly 30 years.

Here are six steps agencies can take to support NG911 adoption.

    1. Help your team get informed about what NG911 means for them
      ECC employees need to know the ins and outs of their computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and related technologies. Adopting modern CAD and other technology means the data available from smartphones and apps will be available to aid in saving lives and reducing response times.
    2. Educate the public on what will change when they need to report an incident
      While the data available for call-takers and dispatchers will be more precise, some processes will stay the same. Let the public know they will still need to follow usual processes, like providing the address of the incident; however, there will also be non-verbal ways to reach 911, including mobile apps.
    3. Talk with your vendors about their plans to support the implementation
      Are your vendors NG911 capable? If not, do they have a roadmap to get you there? Plan how to get from your starting point to your end goal to adopt this technology.
    4. Research infrastructure with your stakeholders
      Most public safety agencies have stakeholders at different government levels. These leaders have a responsibility to assess an agency’s infrastructure and how to get it where it needs to be.
    5. Get stakeholders involved with industry leaders
      Next-gen implementation requires collaboration on all levels: emergency communications, public safety and local and federal governments. Keeping stakeholders apprised of the recommendations of industry leaders like the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) is essential to moving forward with evolving industry initiatives.
    6. Stay engaged
      Staying engaged in the industry can mean a few things: encourage public education and involvement, keep up with industry trends and use new technology to prepare for events that are planned or unplanned.Agencies can educate the public by speaking at local events or optimizing social media accounts. Some agencies are already initiating forums, like the Michigan 911 Tech Forum hosted by the Michigan State Police. Settings like these allow for transparent community engagement.

Where can we go from here?

911 is about answering every call, every time and getting people help when they need it. NG911 revolutionizes ECCs by enabling them to do their jobs more effectively. This leads to more successful public safety organizations and safer communities. The greatest way to enable NG911 is to keep asking questions to stay up to date and ahead of the game. NG911 implementation is meant to evolve 911 from a number to an ecosystem in which the industry and the public thrive.

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