To request a presentation, please email us at LKG911taskforce@gmail.com and we will contact you to schedule.
IMPROVING OUR 911 EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYSTEM – A CALL FOR SUPPORT
- Our mission is to save lives by raising awareness of the challenges confronting rural 911 operations, and help find solutions to those challenges. We are a citizen-led nonprofit and work collaboratively with emergency response professionals in our community.
- Our organization was formed after the death of our founder’s husband, Bob Herzing, when it took 21 minutes for wireless 911 calls to reach the correct county and state PSAP (911 call center). Overall, it took 47 minutes for rescuers to arrive.
Key Task Force Accomplishments
- Increased community awareness of 911 emergency system shortfalls and access to preparedness tools and resources through community outreach.
- Robust community first responder appreciation program
- Meetings with 911 dispatcher teams in five counties and two states to provide education surrounding the issues, improve coordination and facilitate collaboration
- Improvements in signage on bridges and at homes to help responders locate the emergency
Primary Issues Plaguing 911 Emergency Response Systems in Rural Communities
- Full deployment of Next Generation 911 System (NG9-1-1).
- Inadequate internet bandwidth to recognize full benefits of NG9-1-1 once implemented. Broadband service is necessary to support usage of 911 call data received.
- Telecommunicator staffing crisis
- Hiring and retention difficult due to clerical rather than first responder classification of positions, low pay, insufficient mental health benefits
- Continuing education and training difficult due to resource constraints (time, staffing, funding)
E-911 Border Response Workgroup
- The Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security formed this work group at the direction of Virginia’s legislature (Delegate Reid budget amendment).
- The workgroup was charged with assessing the deficiencies related to the timely routing and processing of 911 calls to the appropriate public-safety answering point (PSAP) across either state or county borders.
- Stakeholder groups represented: Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, Virginia General Assembly, Virginia Residents (Sherry Herzing), Virginia 9-1-1 Services Board, 9-1-1/PSAP Community, Emergency Management Community
- The workgroup collected information on problems with the current system and processes; reviewed mitigation solutions already implemented by localities and citizen groups; and determined best practices.
- The workgroup investigated the five functional areas related to 9-1-1 systems and processes: Governance, Technology/NG9-1-1 Deployment, Equipment, Operations and Mitigation Strategies, 9-1-1 Personnel and Training, Funding and Compensation
Findings of the Virginia E-911 Border Response Workgroup
- As service providers begin to abandon legacy circuit-switched technology, the urgency to update the 911 infrastructure to NG9-1-1 increases tremendously. NG9-1-1 is a modern internet protocol (IP) network, that has the ability to deliver calls to the appropriate PSAP faster, transfer 911 calls and associated data anywhere needed, interconnect with other public safety systems and databases, and in the future, securely receive multimedia communications like text, photos and videos.
- While some local PSAPs are resourced with the latest technology, advanced training, and ample staffing, this does not reflect call centers statewide. Many communities struggle to obtain access to technology, training and other resources to rapidly locate callers, especially in areas away from public roadways where location is difficult to describe.
- New technical capabilities and training are available to PSAPs, but implementation is often limited by resource constraints (time, staffing, funding, etc.).
- PSAPs must be adequately staffed to provide coverage necessary to effectively serve communities 365 days per year, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Staffing must be sufficient to allow telecommunicators to receive continuing education and training.
- Telecommunicators are routinely asked to carry out non-911 related tasks. These expectations often hamper telecommunicators when attempting to perform their essential duties.
- Statewide training recommendations or requirements for telecommunicators do not exist.
- PSAPs must make career development and salary investments to address growing attrition of experienced staff leaving in search of better paying jobs. A comprehensive pay plan is required to address compensation, reclassification, recruitment, training, and retention.
- To help 911 callers orient themselves, location tools, such as water signage and land markers with QR codes are essential, especially in public areas lacking traditional street signs (parks, rivers, etc.).
- Limitations in the quality of location data provided by wireless carriers to the PSAP. The carrier community must work collaboratively with VDEM to analyze the extent of wireless location accuracy issues in Virginia and provide remediation recommendations.
WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU
- Local Officials
- Provide funding/resources to update PSAP technology for full implementation of NG9-1-1.
- Update protocols in PSAPs.
- Make emergency response agency collaboration a priority.
- Create one oversight entity for all emergency response agencies.
- Make career development and salary investments in telecommunicators to address growing attrition.
- State Officials
- Support VDEM staffing and funding requirements needed to assist localities unable to implement new technologies or procedures due to staffing shortages or other stressors.
- Support VDEM’s efforts to assess and remediate the issues associated with wireless location accuracy.
- Support efforts to address telecommunicator compensation, reclassification, recruitment, training and retention.
- Federal Officials
- Provide working Broadband nationwide.
- Integrate emergency response agencies, and assure seamless communication/cooperation.
- Support training mandates for telecommunicators.
- Fund the 911 system to upgrade technology and provide adequate emergency response personnel across the nation.
- Assure adequate paramedics, emergency medical technicians and physicians in rural areas.