Keeping 911 Local - While Flattening the Network

communications centers have been felt nationwide for many years. Recent budget deficits, and a reduction in revenues from service funds, have forced the people we rely on to answer our pleas for help to make some difficult decisions on staffing. Dispatch Magazine online reported in an article this week that consolidating emergency management in some areas would compromise the current level of service, and resulted in only minimal financial savings.

What really pulled at my heartstrings, was the story of Gulfport Florida communications officer LaKeisha Issac telling the City Council, nearly in tears, that her communication center is an irreplaceable and invaluable asset. She told the story of a three-year-old girl coming to the front counter reporting that her mother had been assaulted. "I held her hand and kept her calm." LaKeisha told the Council.

I've been around public safety networks for many years, and telecommunications even longer; What I've yet to see developed is a piece of gear mounted in a 19 inch rack that can hold the hand of a distraught three-year-old and keep them calm in the time of emergency.

So when we talk about next generation 911, consolidation of networks, cloud-based solutions, and unified communications; we're not talking about people, were talking about technology. We're talking about using technology and network conductivity that provides communications officers like LaKeisha with the resources that they need to do their job, wherever their job may be.

Building the ESI network at the state level is as critical and significant as it was when broadband Internet became commonplace in residential America. Now I understand it doesn't exist everywhere, and rural America is still fighting their conductivity issue, but for the general population, broadband delivery is simply a financial and level of service decision. The delivery of broadband is fairly ubiquitous. Cable TV, DSL, and now 4G wireless have reduced the complexity of joining friends and family on the Internet. By applying that same level of connectivity to public safety, in a high-speed reliable and resilient manner, we can also allow public safety to be physically located where they need to be while not building huge rooms filled with equipment at each and every point of presence.

I remember a few years ago, I was presenting next generation 911 concepts to an audience of communication officers via a web conference. I remember it like it was yesterday, the very first question that came in, was from a communications officer, and was simply "does this mean I can work from home?"

Now of course that brought out a good chuckle from everyone, but in reality, the answer to that question was, "yes, if that's where you need to be." Now back then I don't think everyone realized what I really meant by that. And to be honest, I didn't realize the real impact of what I said until I read that article in Dispatch Magazine Online this week, and the story from communications officer LaKeisha being there to hold that little girl's hand.


As we get older, we get wiser. We get wiser from the experiences we experience, and the stories that we hear. In the past, when people asked me about flattening and consolidating a 911 network, I used to have all the facts and figures that showed the efficiency of the consolidated infrastructure, as well as the financial return on investment an agency could receive. Now, although that still important to the municipal CIO when planning out the future of their emergency services network, let's not forget about the other reason that next generation 911 is the right thing to do. That reason is that it allows people like communications officer LaKeisha in Gulfport Florida to maintain her local presence, in her local center, where she can hold the hand of a three-year-old whose parent has been assaulted, and still have available the tools, the technology, and conductivity she needs to the rest of public safety so that she can do her job efficiently, and provide assistance to the people that need help.


Want more on E9-1-1?  E9-1-1 Talk Podcast
Subscribe to my weekly E9-1-1 Talk Podcast here

Thanks for stopping by and reading the Avaya CONNECTED Blog on E9-1-1, I value your opinions, so please feel free to comment below or if you prefer, you can Esta dirección electrónica esta protegida contra spambots. Es necesario activar Javascript para visualizarla

Public comments, suggestions, corrections and loose change is all graciously accepted ;-)
Until next week. . . dial carefully.