Top 5 Considerations on the Journey to NG9-1-1

June 22, 2018

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.” This phrase is appropriate as cities, towns, counties and states journey toward implementing NG9-1-1. During this effort, the stakeholders, from traditional public safety organizations to utilities and public works, will face challenges and impact considerations that will shape how and when they reach their destination: a country-wide implementation of NG9-1-1.

Here are top five considerations for the stakeholders driving toward NG9-1-1:

#1 – Governance
With no federal mandate and spotty state oversight, there is often no one behind the NG9-1-1 policy wheel who gets the GIS. Making the transition successful means those in charge of implementing NG9-1-1-ready systems need standards, policies and regulations to ensure all systems will be operational and compatible with legacy equipment during and after the transition process.

#2 – Funding
Without federal or state mandates to move to NG9-1-1, securing the funds to implement NG9-1-1 will be difficult. NG9-1-1 requires a significant amount of funding, particularly during the transition phase. There should also be plans in place to secure ongoing funding to support costs that may develop over time. These funds must be available and sustainable.

#3 – Technology
NG9-1-1 requires an Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet) so upgraded technology is essential. This includes GIS data. GIS data for NG9-1-1 should be cross-referenced with existing databases to ensure accuracy for emergency call routing. Once the data is in sync, processes and procedures should be established to ensure and maintain data accuracy. Without accurate GIS data, call routing, dispatch and first responders all can be impacted. GIS data needs to be updated and checked regularly to resolve inconsistencies.

#4 – Operations
Interoperability between agencies and jurisdictions is paramount to the successful transition to NG9-1-1. ESInets will provide connectivity and interoperability with emergency response officials and other stakeholders involved in emergency management. This new call routing network will need to communicate with PSAPs and existing networks during the transition as well as existing state local, local or regional ESInets. Readiness criteria for PSAP and ESInet connectivity should be developed well in advance and continually refined during the transition process.

#5 – Education
Promoting a common definition and laying out what NG9-1-1 is and isn’t will enable all stakeholders to understand the benefits of NG9-1-1. It’s important to stress that NG9-1-1 will better serve the needs of the public by providing greater situational intelligence for the public safety community. A comprehensive awareness plan targeting federal, state and local decision makers will help them understand the benefits of an early NG9-1-1 deployment and the consequences of a delayed deployment.

Taking all of this into consideration when planning your transition should ensure a successful implementation to NG91-1. Considering the various stakeholders and how NG9-1-1 will impact each of them will allow the public safety community to create an action plan that benefits all constituencies. The journey may not be easy. But arriving successfully at NG9-1-1 will benefit the entire public safety ecosystem.

By: Stephanie McCowat

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