Next Generation 9-1-1
America’s current 9-1-1 system is decades old, and was not built to handle the text, data, photos, and video that are increasingly common in personal communications. The current system is analog, not digital, and is landline-based, not Internet-based. This antiquated network cannot transmit the information available from new technologies.
The data, photos, and video provided by personal communication devices have the potential to improve emergency response, triage, and definitive care. That’s assuming Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) are equipped to receive data, photos, and video, and that EMS providers know how to use this additional information to improve patient care. It’s not hard to imagine a 9-1-1 call of the future, compared to the present.
Working closely with the 9-1-1 stakeholders and industry, NHTSA’s EMS unit is managing a research initiative that will produce a high-level system architecture and deployment plan for the next generation of the 9-1-1 system; establishing the foundation for emergency communications in a wireless mobile society and enabling enhanced 9-1-1 access with many communication devices. The goal of the initiative is to establish the infrastructure for transmission of voice, data, and photographs from different types of communication devices to the PSAPs and onto emergency responder networks. 9-1-1..... it’s not just for telephones anymore! For more information on the Next Generation 9-1-1 Initiative, visit the Intelligent Transportation Systems Web site at http://www.its.dot.gov/ng911/index.htm, or contact Laurie Flaherty.
|Future ITS with Today’s 9-1-1
||Future ITS with Next Generation 9-1-1
|1 Dead, 10 Injured in I-75 Pileup
Road Closed for 2 Hours
|5 Hurt in I-75 Truck Crash
Kudos for County’s New Alert System
“. . . lucky that they didn’t crash directly into that jackknifed truck and that their crash notification system worked. With all the focus on the pesticide tanker, no one would have noticed a car off in the ravine. If we only had confirmation of the little girl’s injuries sooner, the Medivac team might have had a chance to get her to County Trauma Hospital in time.”
Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Ryan also noted that “quick thinking by Pest-R-Us driver Dore Smith minimized the I 75 shutdown.” Upon impact by the mini-van, Smith pushed the truck’s HAZMAT Mayday button, notifying the National Truck Security Center (NTSC). On-board sensors confirmed no tanker breech. Critical response information about the truck was relayed from NTSC to County Fire/Rescue.
The County 9-1-1 Center was overloaded with calls from travelers on I-75, leading to initial confusion of the locations of the multiple crashes. Following a 50-minute delay waiting for the correct towing equipment to arrive, the response team quickly reopened the two south-bound lanes of I-75.
. . . 9-1-1 Director Jim Cadell stated that “We received notification of the tanker accident, location, and status within seconds from the National Truck Security Center. Since there was a high risk of another impact that could rupture the tank, we activated our new Citizen Alert System.
“Everyone within the risk footprint’ with an Internet-connected device was immediately warned to prepare to evacuate or avoid the area,” Cadell said. “We are not in the business of traffic management, but we believe this early warning helped avoid a major backup on I 75.”
Traffic incident data is now routinely sent from the 9-1-1 Call Center to the DOT and county towing companies. Highway
message signs and the 5-1-1 system also had the Citizen Alert message displayed.
Six-year old Brooke Kenny is in stable condition at County Trauma Hospital.
“Just a year ago cases like this were not survivable,” said trauma surgeon Dr. Ric Lerman. “We now dispatch our Medivac helicopter based on the data we receive from ACN and other certified alert devices.”
Enhance 9-1-1 Act of 2004
Most commercial telephone networks have the technology to transmit 9-1-1 calls that include automatic phone number and location identification. However, our Nation’s 9-1-1 call centers, still operating with a 30-year-old infrastructure, are far from ready to take advantage of these new capabilities. The ENHANCE 9-1-1 Act seeks to provide the funding for 9-1-1 call centers to upgrade their equipment and operations to receive location-capable wireless 9-1-1 calls.
On December 23, 2004, President Bush signed the “Ensuring Needed Help Arrives Near Callers Employing 9-1-1 Act of 2004” (ENHANCE 9-1-1 Act of 2004). The act establishes a national 9-1-1 Implementation Coordination Office (ICO) whose functions include:
- Actions to improve Federal coordination and communication on 9-1-1 activities;
- Developing, collecting, and disseminating information concerning practices, procedures, and technology used in the implementation of 9-1-1 services;
- Administering a grant program designed to provide funding to 9-1-1 call centers, to upgrade their equipment and operations to receive 9-1-1 calls with automatic phone number and location identification.
The National 9-1-1 Office will be housed in the Office of Emergency Medical Services at NHTSA. NHTSA, along with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (Department of Commerce), are partners in this effort. Although the grant program has not yet been funded, the national 9-1-1 office gives the Nation the chance to develop and implement a plan to advance the Nation’s 9-1-1 system. For more information, contact Laurie Flaherty.