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The art of listening by the dispatcher demands a high level of hearing. To do less would be an injustice to the dispatcher, the employer and the citizen who might only get one chance in a lifetime to call 9-1-1 for help! After many years in this field, I feel that the time has come to bring this deficiency to the forefront.
On Monday, May 23, 2011 just after 8:30 AM, units of the Santa Clara County (CA) Fire Department responded to reports of a garage fire in the 800 block of Rose Blossom Drive in the city of Cupertino. Upon their arrival firefighters were confronted with heavy smoke and fire showing from a one-story single family dwelling.
Late last year Stratus created a 19-question survey that featured questions on call volume, staffing, next-generation 9-1-1 plans, use of virtualization technologies, system outages and more. With the Survey completed and results analyzed, 9-1-1 magazine interviewed Dave LeClair, Senior Direct of Strategy & Product Management for Stratus Technologies, to detail the results they found - and what they mean to PSAP technology and operations for 2014.
The proliferation of new applied data resources and new applications is going to be an impact of incredible proportion for E9-1-1 since Wireless E9-1-1. This will affect our systems in network, hardware, software, administration/management, training, and funding... 4G refers to the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards... a comprehensive and secure IP-based solution, high usability for any technology...
The attacks and subsequent loss of responders helped to once again elevate the public's respect of the entire Fire Service. But with great respect comes great responsibility and five years later some agencies have found that the greater the height, the greater the fall as the "mileage" gained after 9/11 has come back to haunt them in many ways never imagined.
The Fifth Annual California Mobile Command Center Rally took place on May 8th in Sacramento. With 30 state-of-the-art mobile command and communication centers of all shapes and sizes, from law enforcement, fire, EMS, military, utility companies and other support agencies, this year's open-vehicle display focused on interoperability, networking, and the interactive capabilities of diverse disciplines in major incident command and coordination.
9-1-1 Communications Center teams work like well-oiled precision tools when a critical call comes in or the phones and radios are swamped on a full moon Friday night. But we often hear that teamwork comes to an abrupt halt when it comes to getting along or to be a team off the phones and radio. Here are 7 Deadly Habits and 7 Useful Tips for more teamwork off the phones and radios and 7+ recommended eBooks for your professional library, independent learning, or In Service Training.
Overall, we've learned to deal, or at least make do with the technology, and the private firms seemed to at least offer some benefit to a unique niche in our population that we were under serving. Recently, however, there seems to be a new trend toward selling services with a broader appeal. But as appealing as they may seem to the public to whom they are marketed, some are raising questions within the 9-1-1 community...
How important is a leader? What is the leader's role with negativity? What are the tools you can use to overcome this problem should it affect your Comm Center? What are the group dynamics of people who have no (or poor) leadership?
Electrical storms always cause an increase in emergency calls to 911 as trees are brought down, localized flooding occurs and buildings are hit. Nationwide these calls come in to dispatch centers where trained public safety specialists mobilize emergency services to protect lives and property. Lapeer County is no different. If dispatchers become disconnected from emergency systems it impairs their ability to make vital and timely life and death decisions: when a disaster or emergency strikes,...
Long-time 9-1-1 trainer and developer of 9-1-1 simulators for dispatcher training Professional Pride announces a newly revamped an expanded web site, and in the process has learned a lot about the value of the Web in better supporting clients as well as their business.
Why is it that Police, Fire and EMS in almost every community have college and High School criminal justice, fire science, or emergency medical training, but no such career training for 9-1-1 since every police, fire, or EMS agency has a corresponding number of emergency telecommunicators to hire?
With the advent of either elective or mandatory certification of Telecommunicators (e.g. call takers and dispatchers), there is a definite need to be aware that to ensure a successful ongoing plan for this impact on E9-1-1 centers (PSAPs), rules should be adopted that institute quality assurance requisites for both the program itself as well as for the certified personnel. Without continued bench measures the program is but a shell of the desired intent of the operational need.
Call it ironic - but it wasn't funny. It was 2009, and a simple operating system security update took down the 9-1-1 call system we spent the past 19 months trying to migrate. Had this been in production, it would have put our city's 110,000 citizens at risk. Eight hours went by before we were able to roll back the update and get the code functioning again. Clearly this wasn't going to cut it.
A primary reason to consider a hybrid technology solution for indoor E9-1-1 location is that the strengths and weaknesses of U-TDOA and A-GPS are remarkably complementary: A-GPS works best in rural and remote areas, while U-TDOA works best in suburban and urban environments. Working together, both technologies create the optimum solution for locating wireless 9-1-1 calls.
Few things are anatomically further from yet closer to a telecommunicator's heart than his or her... well... er, seat. After all, even in jurisdictions that utilize adjustable consoles, chances are that a good portion of the shift is spent sitting down. And, with overtime and twelve hour shifts a daily reality for some, poorly designed or constructed seating can be a real pain in the; well, you get the picture.
In 1934, the first Orange County (CA) public safety radio system was put on the air. KGHX was a one-way system, transmitting messages from headquarters to the field. The obvious problems with one-way communications prompted the "mobile radio" to be established just three years later.
The first of a two-part series on Accreditation and Quality Assurance, Cory Friend, Accreditation Coordinator at PowerPhone, Inc., discusses the Accreditation process, including the agency self-evaluation. The components of a successful Accreditation process and the benefits to be derived will be explored. The second article will detail the importance of Quality Assurance to the Accreditation process and the steps necessary to implement an effective QA program.
The second of a two-part series on Accreditation and Quality Assurance, Cory Friend, Accreditation Coordinator at PowerPhone, Inc., discusses the importance of Quality Assurance to the Accreditation process and the steps necessary to implement an effective QA program. Friend's first article detailed the Accreditation process, including the agency self-evaluation, the components of a successful Accreditation process and the benefits to be derived.
In every class I teach, I drive home the point that the first person on the scene of every crime, fire and medical emergency is the initial call taker. It's no different when the call for help involves an active shooting incident. When a frightened voice on the other end of the phone is looking for help, you are right on the scene. When the phones start to light up, will you be prepared?
There's hardly a person today who doesn't have a smartphone. At the touch of a screen, the world is in the palm of our hand, but 9-1-1 centers have unfortunately fallen behind in most technology advancements... With training advancements, new training methods and different skill sets must be utilized to succeed in this new advanced environment.
We rely on addressing in multiple, everyday situations - mailing, navigation, emergency response and others. Addresses are assigned to single and multi-family homes, apartment buildings, industrial and commercial structures, and government structures. In some areas, addresses are assigned to identify infrastructure facilities, such as communication towers, fire hydrants, utility poles, bridges, and boat ramps.
The flood of new technology makes it easier than ever to reach out and communicate with someone, right? Think again. While it's true that communicating with "someone" may indeed be easier, achieving dependable communications with "everyone" on a moment's notice and in an emergency crisis is at least as much of a challenge as ever. So why is that?
The public's desire to contact 9-1-1 by the latest of communications technologies - SMS texting, in this case - has led to new technologies that allow callers to report crimes via text message to 9-1-1 PSAPs... The availability of this technology means that the 9-1-1 Centers are going to have to find a way to receive this new form of texted 9-1-1 call... 9-1-1 magazine recently interviewed Barbara Jaeger, ENP, President of the NENA Executive Board, about this important issue...
December 8, 2009, 0600 hours. McChord Air Force Base, Tacoma, Washington. All flights in and out were suspended at this busy Washington State Air Force base to allow almost 3,000 law enforcement vehicles onto the flight line. Row upon row of patrol cars, marked and unmarked, fire rigs, ambulances and motorcycles waited silently in the icy darkness . At 1003 hours, the first vehicles in the procession began ten miles of mourning to honor four Lakewood Police officers slain in one awful...
From the Archives: Everywhere 9-1-1 lines were jammed with worried callers. Fear and despair, failure of communication networks, even destruction of New York City's emergency management bunker in the World Trade Center resulted in confusion. Law enforcement, fire and rescue teams from the City and from neighboring departments worked together to respond to the emergency...
Voice and data analytics have been a positive influence in private business for years. This technology has proven to be a productive tool for improving customer service; recognizing trends improving products, productivity, customer needs and desires; and improving call handling by customer services representatives. Only recently has this technology been recognized as having potential in the Public Safety environment.
Anger affects our bodies, our minds and our behavior. In can be like a toxin that can either help us or hurt us. Think of it like chemotherapy. If you have something bad happening to you and you have to deal with it, sometimes you need a stronger does of "something" to fight it. In the case of anger, you are reacting to something that has gotten out of control, or your old methods of dealing are no longer working so anger came to the rescue...
From our Nov/Dec 2008 issue: Anyone who says we're living in a wireless world has obviously never spent much time beneath the two by two carpet squares that hide what lies below. It is, after all, a scientific fact that if all the subterranean cabling were gathered from every dispatch center around the world and laid end to end, it would reach far past the edges of our solar system and into a distant galaxy.
It has been ten years since the worst terrorist attack on the United States. It has been sixteen years since the worst Domestic Terrorist attack in Oklahoma City. These two incidents have taught us many lessons. The problem is we have a short memory and are already forgetting the lessons we learned on those days. It is your job, your responsibility to remember and god forbid if your jurisdiction is every attacked you will be ready to respond. Another key element to remember is these...
April is National 9-1-1 Education Month. Public Safety communication centers across the country are working to educate the public about the 9-1-1 Emergency System to help residents and businesses in their jurisdiction with emergency preparedness. Please join Operation 10-8 all this month as we support dispatchers everywhere with our own 9-1-1 Educational Campaign to assist with emergency preparedness and eliminating false calls.
Arcata (Calif.) Fire District personnel responded to a report of a vegetation fire in the area of Foster Avenue at Dolly Varden Road in Arcata just after 5 p.m. on April 25, 2013. Firefighters arrived and found a large area of brush and debris burning near Foster Avenue. They began extinguishing the fire with a hoselay over the fence and into the pasture area. While firefighters were extinguishing the brush fire, a shed on a nearby property caught fire and threatened the adjacent house. Quick...
From our March 2005 issue: For some, Computer-Aided Dispatch systems are the do-all, end-all of a communication center's technology. Yet many dispatch managers wonder whether today's CAD systems are becoming too complicated, and are including many features which are irrelevant and unimportant...
The devastation in Southeast Asia has graphically demonstrated one thing: tsunami dangers are real. Unfortunately, it has taken a disaster of that magnitude to make the American public aware of that fact. "Before that, you'd mention tsunami and people would snicker," said Gloria Morrison, Emergency Services Coordinator for the City of Huntington Beach, California. "Now people are paying closer attention."
As the scenario unfolded in Lower Manhattan and the second plane found its mark, their thoughts turned to the possibility that the Washington, DC suburb could be a target. Located immediately across the Potomac from our nation's capital, almost one fifth of Arlington consists of Federal property. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, their worst fears came true.
Early on in the investigation and search for the suspect the Baker County Undersheriff requested the response of the new Baker County 9-1-1 Dispatch Type II Mobile Communications Unit. It was enroute within four minutes of the request and was staffed by Chris Galiszewski our Communications Technician and Senior Incident Dispatcher Margaret Sackos.
Batman was stopped by Montgomery County (MD) officers on Wednesday, March 21, on southbound Route 29 at Prelude Drive in Silver Spring, for having an improper license plate on the Batmobile...
Wireless charging may one day replace plugs and wires similar to how Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have modernized personal and public safety communication. Wireless charging with inductive coupling uses an electromagnetic field that transfers energy from the transmitter to the receiver. But there are drawbacks...
People may imagine the battery as being an energy storage device that is similar to a fuel tank dispensing liquid fuel. For simplicity reasons, a battery can be seen as such; however, measuring stored energy from an electrochemical device is far more complex. The battery fuel gauge is generally poorly understood in the medical field and this article describes the challenges of measuring energy in a battery.
BatteryJack has manufactured a replacement battery for the Midland SP-400 series and ALAN radio lines. The battery is a direct replacement for any of the following Midland radios: SP-400, SP-410, SP-420, SP-430, SP-440, also the 70-440BP.
At last week's National APCO Conference in Philadelphia, Tiburon introduced their new product, IQ Response, a next-generation product suite that integrates CAD, mobile data, fire and law records and jail management systems into a single interoperable software package. 9-1-1 Magazine spoke to Tiburon's Chief Marketing Officer, Ian Archbell, about the significance of the company's new offering.
Every day, law enforcement officials across the nation work to locate missing persons, and the more resources available, the better. Police departments, local government and schools across the nation have adopted mass notification technology, helping them to enlist the eyes and ears of an entire community. By sending an alert, by phone call, text, email, social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, and TTY/TDD devices for people who are hearing impaired, officials can instantly expand...
A clear sign showing how dispatchers can support law enforcement more directly than before, and even help influence a safe outcome for police incidents, is the move to integrate CAD and RMS systems. Fueling this integration trend is a wide range of software offerings that simplify data entry, retrieval and storage between dispatchers and law enforcement officers.
Boston MedFlight recently added navigation systems from TomTom Business Solutions to its fleet of ground critical care vehicles, reducing trip time by an average of 30 percent. TomTom's fleet management and navigation systems are fully integrated into Boston MedFlight's dispatch system, allowing drivers to simply accept the job and get turn-by-turn directions
The unfortunate reality for public safety organizations that house confidential and sensitive data, including the personal information of employees and citizens, is that there is no end to cybersecurity threats such as botnets, worms, and hacking.
University Medical Center Hospital of Southern Nevada (UMC)'s Public Safety is a diverse department with three divisions: Public Safety (security), Safety, and Patient Transportation. Public Safety and Transportation each have their own separate radio channels and dispatchers, located in different areas of the hospital. This article is about the Public Safety division.
...it may be high time that we in policing explore this theory with a view to enhancing our decision-making processes. Can we couple this law with our intelligence led strategies to discover if (and then how) the 75 year old theory of Theory of Unanticipated Consequences can be reconciled with Intelligence Led policing practices? In today's world of limited options and resources, we must wring out every ounce of prospective benefit from every choice we make. This might be just the right time...
Current trends and challenges in 9-1-1 Center funding
Directors and operators of public safety answering points (PSAPs) have to manage budgets, personnel, politics, technology and most importantly, the public your agency serves. Have you been on sidelines watching your colleagues in neighboring counties make major renovations or build a new facility while you struggle with 20-year old equipment in a 20-year old space?
Historically, Public Safety Answering Points were equipped with communications recording systems for protection from liability due to legal evaluation of emergencies. This function was facilitated by time stamps, protection from tampering and assurance of fail-safe operation.
This article will attempt to justify including call recorders fitted with QA and Analytics capabilities in EOCs as a viable technology tool for the preparing for and responding to local disasters, impending or actual. These capabilities can be used for quality assurance on Citizen Information Lines (CIL) for the training and re-training of call handlers and volunteers for both voice and data call handling. They can be used for call data analysis for events prior-to, during, and after for ESN...
Public Safety response and communications on campus has as many commonalities with municipal, county, or state public safety as it has differences. In many ways, a campus is a microcosm of a city or a county, with its own facilities, departments, and services, and the role and responsibility of public safety personnel is very similar to that of a municipal agency. At the same time, the campus environment has its own unique challenges that differentiate campus police, fire, and EMS personnel...
Priced at just $199.99, the CatchAThiefGPS locator turned out to be the ideal solution for the NCSU Police Department, enabling the force to dramatically reduce bike thefts on campus - cutting the incidence of thefts by 33%. The Securus team worked with the department to identify the right device settings and establish safe zones and speeds so that an armed device would transmit its location to department personnel when moved from its location.
In creating and restructuring Independent School District Police Department, leaders of the district in conjunction with local patrons and agencies, should adopt a philosophy reflective of the idea that the police department will be a partner of the school district and the community it serves (community oriented policing). Community policing is a philosophy and an organizational strategy that promotes a partnership between people and their police...
The City of Rogers (AR) Fire Department installed Motorola MW810 Mobile Workstations in their fire trucks and other emergency response vehicles. The firefighters have come to trust them to change statuses, find routes and view incident data as it is collected at the 9-1-1 center. The always-on workstations require no boot-up time, are ergonomically designed, feature displays bright enough to be seen in bright sunlight and are built to withstand the harshest environments.
THOR Shield is a rapidly deployed mobile 9-1-1 emergency communications solution that is relatively new to the marketplace. It includes a specialized mobile communications/command center vehicle and trained technical staff that are designed specifically to provide on-demand, scalable operational continuity and technical support whenever and wherever 9-1-1 communications are impacted.
We subjected a number of suppliers and their products to exhaustive and thorough analyses, one of which was a 99.99% uptime requirement as a minimum standard for the total solution. The new industry-standard hardware and software products from the County's current vendors ultimately prevailed in the RFP process, with the added feature of virtualization. The Windows-based CAD system would run in virtual machines on fully redundant ftServer hardware from Stratus Technologies. The software...
As technology continues to evolve, especially in the emergency communication industry, new technologies are replacing, or being integrated with, traditional communication and notification tools to enhance overall systems. Learning from real-life examples, including an emergency such as Hurricane Sandy and the major transformation of Hawaii's in-progress communication infrastructure project, emergency managers can continue to learn and better navigate through the evolving landscape.
Salt Lake City's public safety departments have been prominent in the media the last several years. From Elizabeth Smart to Lori Hacking, the city has had its share of challenging incidents. Fortunately for its citizens, the city's police and fire departments now have at their disposal a state-of-the-art Mobile Command Center. The city received delivery of the new vehicle from Emergency Management Equipment (EME) in the Spring of 2004.
The city of Fort Worth, Texas can now more quickly respond to calls for help and communicate instantaneously with more than 40 agencies and departments across Texas. Fort Worth's Office of Emergency Management is the agency responsible for operating the 100-seat Joint Emergency Operations Center (JEOC), which communicates regularly with city and county agencies; state agencies such as the Texas Department of Public Safety; several federal agencies...
Cloud-based services give public safety agencies fast, easy access to feature functionality on a flexible, scalable and secure infrastructure... By moving premises-based technology infrastructures to off-site, managed, cloud-based solutions, PSAPs can experience real benefits in terms of flexibility, scalability, and security.
On Saturday, October 19, 1991, the Oakland (CA) Fire Department responded to a small wildland fire that had broken out in a box canyon near the eastern bore of the Caldecott Tunnel. Initially comprising about seven acres, firefighters gained control of the blaze and, leaving their hose lines in place, checked the area for hot spots throughout the evening and into the next day. Little could they have known at the time that this small fire would progress in the next 72 hours into a...
By identifying the possible things that can create emergency situations to our voice, data, and video pathways we can attempt to find ways to plan for or respond to them... The 2004 hurricane season in Florida and more recently the February 2, 2007 tornado event in Lake County (Groundhog Day Tornadoes) plainly evidenced the need for comprehensive analysis of potential emergencies and how they can or might affect our communications pathways and how we can respond to them.
Recently, Motorola Solutions had an opportunity to speak with two of our customers who were on the front lines of very different natural disasters that grabbed headlines this year. We wanted to hear their stories first-hand to ensure that we are meeting the current demands of first responders throughout the country, as well as anticipating their needs in coming years.
Having recently heard about an example of law enforcement bullying in one of our Airports, our Perspective columnist John C. Fine was prompted to share his concerns and cautions in his latest observation, in which the keepers of homeland security make us feel actually less secure.
Pleasantview Fire Protection District (FPD), a department in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, has emerged as an example of progressive thinking with their adoption of a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. Implementing technology such as this requires a forward-thinking attitude, abundant patience and a willingness to take necessary risks.
Although many dispatchers prefer working in dimly lit atmospheres, when it comes to the overall quality and features of their workstations, the future is exceedingly bright. New levels of solidity, flexibility, and user control are now being introduced by leading console furniture suppliers - all to the benefit of emergency communications professionals patrolling the stressful front lines of public interface.
Many CAD systems today are quite expensive, particularly for the small to mid-range customer. It's not uncommon to find a single position costing as much as $50K/per seat. Complexity aside, what we've discovered customers really want is a relatively simple method to receive a call from a citizen, generate a call for service record, track service actions and unit status, and produce performance reports to help better manage the agency. Some of today's CAD systems require double-digit...
Modern dispatch centers by necessity are full of electronic appliances, all of which have to be interconnected and available to the dispatcher. As the quantity of information systems increases, dispatch workstation space has shrunk in order to keep all of it within easy reach. It wasn't long ago that dispatch centers - and there are still some out there today - were designed in such a way that dispatchers faced ongoing repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome as they...
Consolidated Dispatch Centers are not a new concept: some have operated successfully for more than 40 years. With this history of success, why does the idea of consolidation strike fear in the hearts of some police and fire chiefs but garner praise from others? This article focuses on misconceptions that create barriers to consolidating dispatch/communication center operations.
Coordinating Communications: The Value of Plain Speech and Universal Radio Equipment in Local Operations
NIMS requires the use of plain speech during multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction and multi-discipline events, such as major disasters and exercises. It does not require plain speech as common practice within day to day departmental operations. However, the importance of plain speech as a means of creating a universal radio language in the United States goes far beyond those kind of major, multi-agency disasters.
Say "interoperability" and most policymakers immediately think new Project 25 (P25) radio systems. True, your radios might be due for an upgrade. But public safety agencies can serve the public interest by educating policymakers that funding new radios alone will not satisfy other urgent interoperability requirements for effective crisis collaboration:
No longer are post 9/11 dispatch models able to support moderate or significant incidents separate and apart from the philosophy of critical incident management. Personnel at Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) serve integral roles. Command and control of an incident starts as soon as the primary unit has been dispatched to virtually any call for service...
Cultural Communications - Tribal Enforcement, DUI, & South Dakota's Initiatives To Save Lives on its Highways
After A Distinguished Career Top South Dakota Cop Reflects On The Most Important Issues Facing His State And Perhaps The Nation
Though 2011 represented a record-breaking year with regard to the number of disasters, the American public remains largely unaware of both their local alerting processes and their community's emergency notification capabilities. Even more alarming, many citizens approach the subject of disaster warnings and personal emergency preparedness with attitudes that reflect unacceptable levels of complacency, indifference and, in far too many cases, what can only be described as outright apathy.
Often, discussions about 9-1-1 technology are geared toward live computer aided dispatch screens, automated vehicle locator information and applications and communications systems between dispatch and officers in the field. While all critical to emergency services, there lies a growing interest in analytics as they relate to data that is gathered in computer aided dispatch and other systems. Whether analyzing response times on various call types or determining the optimal positioning of...
In the aftermath of 9/11, many law enforcement agencies sought to establish new data repositories to capture information, such as Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR, also known as Tips & Leads), Organized Crime Intelligence, Counter-terrorism Intelligence, and even Web-based and electronic document open-source data. Quite a few agencies, perhaps a result of the growth of Fusion Centers, are now interested in setting up information management systems that can mine existing data repositories...
After the initial plane struck the first tower, a third alarm was transmitted. When the second plane struck the other tower, two 5th alarm assignments, one for each building, were transmitted, plus an additional 2nd Alarm assignment for Brooklyn companies to respond into Manhattan. FDNY companies from all five boroughs were responding. Urgent requests for additional help were radioed to Manhattan fire alarm dispatchers, just as numerous reports of trapped civilians and were flooding the...
Are we headed for a repeat of the tumultuous sixties? I'm not sure, but certainly some of the divining signs are there. And if that is the case we are going to need to resharpen our skills in handling the types of events that are associated with societal change.
On Sunday September 1, 2013 a building fire was reported in Delanco, Burlington County at 1000 Coopertown Rd, at the Dietz & Watson warehouse. First arriving units reported heavy smoke coming from the roof area of the building. Crews secured the limited water supplies and set up for defensive operations. Multiple Ladder Pipes were set up to surround the building. Roof operations were off limits due to the entire roof being covered with solar panels.
November 7, 2008 marked the largest fire in a decade in Champaign, Illinois, and the first major test of our countywide 800 MHz digital trunked system. Not only did everything work well, everyone was interoperable - fire, EMS and police - during an incident that required a lot of communication and coordination
According to Alameda County, California, Urban Shield is "a national model, full-scale exercise, designed to assess and validate the speed, effectiveness and efficiency of capabilities, as well as test the adequacy of regional policies, plans, procedures and protocols" (Urban Shield, 2013). Urban Shield events require hundreds of volunteers, to portray victims in a variety of disaster scenarios. When possible local residents are used and that is how I got involved with the Austin, Texas...
When an extraordinary incident hits a community, the dispatch center is thrown into an exceptionally busy period of critical, peak activity. There is the potential for chaos to reign, or for conflicting orders from multiple supervisors to throw dispatch operations into disarray. Having a standardized method of managing extraordinary incidents in the dispatch center will maintain a smooth operation and maximize support to the field responders. A manner of incident command, modeled after the...
Line of Duty Death of Jersey City Fire Dispatcher, Joseph Lovero, at the World Trade Center
Actors and professional athletes gathered together on Monday, May 20th at the St. Regis Golf Resort for a celebrity golf tournament as a fundraiser for the 9-1-1 For Kids organization. The organization publicly recognized two local dispatchers and children as 9-1-1 Heroes to kick-off the tournament. A dispatcher from the Anaheim Police Department (CA) and one from the California Highway Patrol were honored, along with two children they each received a 9-1-1 call to report an emergency.
The future model of law enforcement communications centers is on the verge of a paradigm shift, one which will vastly change the way dispatching services are provided. In the near future, your communications center will likely integrate cloud-based technology. To take advantage of the cloud for emergency communications, though, we must first understand the long-term benefits of cloud-based communications centers, have clarity regarding options for deployment, and work to obtain the tools...
The "Anytown" Police Department took a page from the private sector and had taken advantage of having employees working from home. They realized that the role of the Public Safety Dispatcher has evolved from being just a job for a clerk to answer the phone and radio. Their roles are now that of highly skilled professionals who fill a unique niche that few can replace... But Pat and his fellow Anytown dispatchers had phones routed to their homes, along with all of the computer equipment...
The job of 9-1-1 dispatchers is to respond to calls from people who may be in danger. But what happens when electrostatic discharges (ESD) interfere with communications equipment and the call is lost? Static-control flooring, particularly carpet tile, helps prevent ESD events from harming equipment in 9-1-1 dispatch centers and equipment rooms. Simply put, if this flooring doesn't meet international industry standards - as well as the standard of care established by the American...
Today, state and local governments must provide citizen services with tighter budget constraints than ever before. These challenges force governments to pick and choose between programs and services often putting citizens and government employees in jeopardy. Innovative, collaborative, virtualization technology is a key solution to address this ever-growing problem.
Negative events can significantly impact the mind, body, and soul of the ones whose responsibility it is to provided service and security in times of crisis. Negative coping mechanisms include denial, projection, cynicism, stoicism, and escape. Consequently, one might ask: Is Optimism Possible in the Public Safety Professions?
Over the years, I've met with many safety officers and other managers who think a lot about emergency preparedness at our schools, corporations and government institutions. ... most of these organizations are not using all the tools available to provide the highest level of safety in the event of an emergency. While their intent is right, many safety officers are simply not aware of technology solutions that exist today for multi-line telephone systems that can ensure the right help gets to...
There's another meaning for the word "resolution," and that is "image resolution," a measurement of photographic clarity, which describes the detail an image holds... This kind of resolution – clarity – can be valuable in the workplace (especially in public safety, where lives depend on the keenness of our perspective)...
For those of us in the 9-1-1 business, professionals in the realm of public safety communications, September 11th has a very unique ring. It tolls with the low, baritone gong of the funeral procession, since so many of our brothers and sisters in the first responder community perished as a result of those heinous acts of warfare against our country and our way of life. We, who have dedicated ourselves or at least entered into a profession whereby our mission is to help people during...
Smartphones now offer more advanced computing ability and connectivity. NG 9-1-1 will ultimately have the capacity to support these devices and the advanced technologies they possess. This includes pinpointing callers based on geographic coordinates, sending and receiving text and instant messages, and sharing high-resolution photographs or video images. All of this are current capabilities of the contemporary Smartphone, which is rapidly becoming the preferred means of communication for...
One of the most important things for emergency telecommunicators to do is to truly understand their jurisdiction and what critical infrastructure, symbolic targets, and other unique features exist and how the loss or disruption of those facilities or events will impact emergency responders and the community. Understanding community threats prior to an emergency is critical to not just the success of the response, but also the life safety of the occupants and emergency responders.
Emergency Technologies Deploys Multi-Department Fire Records System in San Antonio, Bexar County, and Schertz Fire Departments
Emergency Technologies, Inc. (ETI) proudly reports that that the Visual Fire system is live and operational within the city of San Antonio Fire Department, the city of Schertz Fire-Rescue, and throughout all of the Bexar County Fire Departments. ETI's Visual Fire solution allows these city and county fire departments to have an integrated public safety information system to help streamline information sharing between city and county agencies.
Emerson Network Power Announces a New Data Center Solution to Deliver Secure and Remote Virtual Infrastructure Management
Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson and the global leader in enabling Business-Critical Continuity, has introduced the Avocent Virtual Advanced Console Server 6000 (ACS v6000), a new tool for secure, remote data center and out-of-band management of virtual assets.
In emergencies, time is critical. Ineffective or limited communication of information to first responders can be the difference between safety and disaster, life or death. To ensure a quick and safe response, responders need more visibility in to what is happening at the scene, prior to arrival.
I once had a boss that strongly urged me not to "spend a lot of time and energy on trying to figure out this helicopter mess. We all know helicopter transportation is just a fad and will soon be forgotten." He was so wrong.
All the agencies involved in the September 11th incident faced their own sets of challenges when they responded. It was more like operating in a war zone than in a civil disaster. One of the most daunting tasks was to bring out the wounded while the attack continued to unfold.
Recently, I had the opportunity to assist an international security company with the task of developing an EMS system in Central America. While this company had experience in law enforcement deployment, they had not yet put together an EMS system so they sought advice from others to help design one for a location where EMS was virtually non-existent (with the exception of limited providers for private payers).
Midian Electronics has added enhancements to its PC based CAD-500 MDC-1200 controller. In addition to decoding and displaying ANI (Automatic Number Identification) and Emergency ANI in Motorola's MDC-1200 it will decode status messages from field units.
Public safety communications centers that record calls for compliance shouldn't overlook the usefulness of those recordings in evaluating dispatcher performance. That's a lesson learned from the call center industry, where recording and evaluation is widespread.
In the Borough of Highlands, a close-knit clamming town with a harbor on Sandy Hook Bay, Lieutenant Edward Chambers was watching the horror unfold on a television set in headquarters. As media coverage brought terror into homes and offices throughout the world, Highlands Police received a phone call from the SeaStreak Ferry as it traversed the harbor between New York and New Jersey. The SeaStreak official informed the police that they were carrying nearly 400 injured people from Manhattan.
Communication centers that are standardized on or migrating to computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and records management systems for emergency services are becoming more familiar with Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) flat panel technology as a preferred monitor platform. Beyond the "cool" factor of these slim displays there are many functional and ergonomic benefits associated with LCD panels in the construction of user consoles and furniture that justify the expense of this monitor technology.
The popularity of SMS, social media and other internet messaging mediums have substantially expanded opportunities to manage emergency events. This is evident in the rapid development of interoperable, network-based, multi-device communications systems... Though new technologies and messaging formats broaden the overall reach of crisis communications in both natural and man-made disasters, they also present inherent challenges...
As we approach the first anniversary of the day that forever changed our lives, the FDNY still is in a world of hurt. Well documented are the experiences of the firefighters and chiefs on duty that day. Not so well documented is what has happened to us inside the communications office, and inside our minds.
26 of the 28 Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Force teams that are members of FEMA's National Urban Search & Rescue Response System served in New York City and Arlington, Virginia, during the first month following the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, helping with search and rescue operations and to recover the remains of some of the thousands who died. Perhaps because the events of 9-11 have represented the greatest challenge to date for the FEMA US&R Task Force teams,...
It was a stunning scene, set against the familiar backdrop of the Hollywood Hills overlooking the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. A massive black cloud of smoke pillared above a burgeoning firestorm on the Universal Studios backlot. In the pre-dawn light, it looked like the kind of mesmerizing, dramatic special effects that the studio is famous for. Only this was no movie...
Photo Story: Between December 14 and 17, Canadian photographer Mitchell Brown joined 19 firefighters from Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, New York and Maryland to lend a hand in Breezy Point, New York, helping rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
As a new year approaches, law enforcement officials across the nation are undoubtedly aware of many of the trends affecting their work. Here is a look at five issues certain to shape law enforcement in 2013:
Protecting vital electronic equipment in a static - or immobile - environment is a challenge, but set that equipment in motion and the degree of difficulty rises exponentially. Enclosure solutions for mobile applications like those described require some special layout and design considerations not necessary with stationary operations.
Many American communities are facing unprecedented revenue losses and bleak economic futures. Communities across the country are searching for ways to save money while preserving and protecting services critical to the community - particularly the services provided by first responders. In the public safety arena, one option that is frequently discussed is the consolidation of 9-1-1 services. For the past 40 years, the consolidation of public safety 9-1-1 dispatching centers has been an...
Attention, Dispatchers: Your first emergency is in your chair! Long periods of sitting can take years off your life, but a few easy stretches can add them right back
Kevin and I had met years ago as volunteers with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. He's a crew-cut police sergeant from Malden. I'm a retired special agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Amtrak conductor, overhearing our conversation about volunteering in the search and rescue at the scene of the World Trade Center disaster, told us that he was proud of us.
EF Johnson Technologies, Inc. has announced that FP-EF Holding Company, Inc., an affiliate of Francisco Partners, a global technology-focused private equity fund, has completed its acquisition of EF Johnson Technologies, Inc. Under the terms of the merger agreement approved by stockholders, FP-EF Holding Company has acquired all of the outstanding shares of EF Johnson Technologies, based on a price of $1.50 per share in cash.
Late on the evening of Sunday, May 1, President Barack Obama announced to the world that Osama Bin Laden was dead; ending a decade long search for what many believed to be the poster child for terrorism... So now that the dust from the chopper blades has cleared the compound, and we have a clear view, just what does all of this mean to public safety? Unfortunately, a clear view doesn't mean a clear answer.
Think you're good at giving good driving directions, specifying street names, lane ends, and landmarks like the mountains east and west of the your community? The same ease probably wouldn't apply in places around Saskatoon, Canada... Just ask Ron Boechler, the police chief for Corman Park, a Rural Municipality (RM) located around Saskatoon. He'd have been lost without the guidance of MD Ambulance Dispatcher Kim Wruck. Without their teamwork, a young woman would not likely have survived the...
A cellular 9-1-1 emergency call was received at the dispatch center from a passenger on an airline. The Westmoreland dispatcher detected an immediate urgency in the caller's voice. The caller indicated that the plane was being hijacked and was calling 9-1-1 for help.
From the Archive: Bringing Home America's Astronauts: The Shuttle Columbia Incident - Search & Recovery in Texas
In honor of the 10th Anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, we present this article which covered the Search & Rescue operations to recover the remains of the Shuttle and its crew in Texas. During the Feb 1, 2003 incident, FEMA deployed three Incident Support Teams and six Human Remains Recovery Canine Teams from its US&R system in order to successfully recover the astronauts' remains from a debris path spread across Texas and into Louisiana. This mission was accomplished...
July 1, 1993: A brief radio encounter - tragic events that unfolded in a matter of minutes - changed the lives of two individuals forever, leaving one dead and the other with haunting memories, and leaving many more with unanswered questions due to.
On Sunday, January 10th, 1999, tragedy struck the city of Oakland, California (population almost 400,000 and located across the Bay from San Francisco) when it lost two of its best emergency workers in one day... Dispatchers who handled the incidents both affirmed that there is nothing a dispatcher can do to prepare for the emotional impact of losing a field unit. The pattern I've observed from these experiences appears to be common to these types of critical incidents. These incidents...
At 3:45 AM on April 29, 2007, a gasoline tanker caught fire inside the MacArthur Maze - an interchange of three major San Francisco Bay Area freeways with daily traffic of 230,000 vehicles. The intensity of the fire, and the difficulty accessing it through the maze of freeway ramps, melted the supporting guiders leading to a collapse of the interchange. Here's how Oakland area fire departments handled the incident.
Laws are certainly useful in dealing with Mental Health Commitments - but they don't adequately deal with the issue of officer safety, which is paramount when dealing with potentially dangerous situations. This is where training comes in. Training is essential in dealing with suicidal or mentally impaired individuals; this includes basic police academy training as well as continued training throughout an officer's career.
Darth Vader, Indiana Jones, Lando Calrissian, Yoda, they all stopped off here. This is the way-station between imagination and illusion, the all-important planning terminal where fanciful creations of the mind are mapped out and prepared for manufacture, and where the makings of movie magic are prepared for life through the science of technology, and where they will stop again to have their finishing touches applied on the way from Silicon Valley to silver screen.
From July/August 1999 issue: School violence has moved out of its usual urban setting and into the headlines of an increasing number of "safe," small-town communities. From Alaska to Arkansas, children have been killing and injuring other children with alarming frequency. Altercations that at one time might have involved fistfights, knives, or an occasional handgun, can now involve sophisticated semi-automatic weapons, with hundreds of rounds of ammunition that can fell scores of victim in...
February 28, 1997, was a day of mayhem and miracles in North Hollywood. A pair of gunmen, clad in ski masks and full body armor, swaggered into the Bank of America shortly after it opened for business, spray-painted the lobby with bullets from AK-47 and M-16 assault rifles, and launched what was to become one of the most prolonged and shocking gun battles in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. The 40-minute firefight, much of which aired live on television, gripped the nation...
Chairs that can do the job properly are not cheap, and they're certainly aren't found on sale at the local discount office supply store. Good dispatch chairs are rated for twenty-four hour use, and they carry a maximum load assurance right on them; usually 500 pounds or greater. The office supply chair that carries a weight rating above 250 pounds is rare, and "task" chairs are the worst of these.
Airplanes have black boxes. Sports, the instant replay. And dispatchers have the call logger. Each of these is invaluable when analyzing an incident. However, they don't tell the whole story. This is especially true of loggers in the dispatch center. This installment of "From the Chair" discusses the pitfalls of using a single-channel recording when investigating the handling of a call.
You are right in the middle of a multiagency mass casualty event when the phone rings. Is it a commander in the field with important information? Is it one of the mutual aid agencies you are coordinating? No. It is a reporter from a local newspaper with a thousand and one questions; just what you needed! This installment of From the Chair takes a look at the relationship between the dispatcher and the media. It discusses how an effective Public Information Officer is a buffer between...
You just sat down to begin your shift. The cluster of screens before you glow brightly, and the radio test revealed no problems. Before long, you will handle the fire on Broadway, the domestic violence on State Street, and the fender bender at the mall. And of course you will wonder if the hundreds, if not thousands, of people looking over your shoulder will approve of the way you're doing your job. The latest installment of "From the Chair" takes an irreverent look at the love-hate...
When the great bard Shakespeare had Lord Polonius remark, "Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't," little did he know that he was describing the world of the modern PSAP. Now nearly 420 years later, From the Chair takes a whimsical and somewhat satirical look at the "madness" of how the public does and will communicate with the 9-1-1 center.
There is a tidal wave of change coming for the emergency telecommunications industry that is known simply as NG9-1-1. It's all about mobility now... The gurus in the high-tech industries have been busying themselves trying to solve some of the known problems, while simultaneously finding new and creative ways by which citizens can access emergency services...
The ultimate evolution of the 9-1-1 system is the elimination of jurisdiction based PSAPs. In their place would be a virtual nationwide network of PSAPs. It would no longer matter which 9-1-1 center receives a call, or by what method. Every PSAP regardless of its physical location would have the ability to dispatch local resources anywhere in the country. Such a system will require significant advances in present technology. Under the umbrella of the NG9-1-1 initiative, there are...
I've never met an "average dispatcher" in my life. Just as every human being is unique, so is every emergency telecommunicator. True, we may all talk in a similar fashion and act alike in given circumstances. When the rubber meets the road, we all handle emergency calls in pretty much the same manner. Where we differ is in how we individually perceive the world in general and how we deal with the stress that is part and parcel of the job.
"Accepting the Inevitable" addresses the reality of how shift work and the 24/7 world of the dispatch center effects the emotional, physical, and performance of the telecommunicator. It peels away the glossy surface of dispatching to expose the dirty details that every 9-1-1 professional has to confront from their first day on the job until the day they retire.
It's amazing how time flies! April 2013 marks the one-year anniversary of "From the Chair" - a featured column in 9-1-1Magazine written for the frontline 9-1-1 telecommunicator. Its author - Paul Bagley - took us on a wild ride through the ever-changing landscape of public safety emergency communications. His breezy style was frequently irreverent, often whimsical, and sometimes touching. To conclude its first year, and to usher in the next, the latest installment takes a fun look at the...
Many people claim that emergency services - dispatch included - are "paramilitary" organizations. I'm not completely certain that term applies since the prefix "para" is a shortened form of the word parachute in the military, and anyone whose job title begins with that prefix literally jumps voluntarily out of airplanes.
The character David Brent, from the BBC series "The Office," is known for his saying, "If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you probably haven't understood the seriousness of the situation." When referring to a PSAP we can rewrite that to say, "If you can keep your head when all around you have lost theirs, then you are probably a telecommunicator." In this installment of From the Chair, Paul uses the paraphrase of Brent's humor to write about how the outbreak...
Any high-stress sedentary job has the tendency to put on the pounds if the individual engaged in it isn't careful. Because of the many strenuous demands, dispatching can erode the physical well-being of a person quicker than hard liquor and illicit drugs combined. We all know that and, to a degree, we accept it. The question is, what do we do about it?
Sometimes it helps to think of dispatching as though you're playing a board game. In a game you need to know how each piece moves in order to be any good at it.
In the latest installment of "From the Chair," Paul takes a detour to discuss - perhaps rant might be a better word - his personal experiences in the dispatch center that were a constant source of aggravation. And the culprits? His own colleagues. The article is written humorously, but makes some important observations about the nature of the people who occupy the chair. You will certainly recognize the characters he describes, as they may be sitting right next to you; perhaps even the...
Do you know what 9-1-1 is? Do you know how it works? Do you know what it's for? In this article, Paul raises and discusses several thought-provoking questions about the 9-1-1 system's past, present, and future.
In this installment, "Our Hang Ups," Paul discusses the nemesis of all dispatchers - the hang up and dropped call. He reminiscences a bit about the good old days when dispatching was little more than answering the phone and sending someone out. He then turns his attention to the brave new world where the onrush of new technologies is profoundly altering the operation of the PSAP, and creating ever-increasing challenges for the modern telecommunicator. To paraphrase the late American hero...
In the latest installment of From the Chair, Paul pays tribute to the dispatchers working in the Newtown (CT) Emergency Communications Center on the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. He goes on to discuss how they were able to control the chaos of the active shooter incident, and still maintain the order and normal function of their center. He concludes with a warning that what the Newtown dispatchers did would have been impossible without careful preparation and planning...
When you think of hazardous jobs what comes to mind: firefighters, high-rise steel workers, bomb disposal technicians, 9-1-1 dispatchers? Dispatchers? What is the hazard of sitting in a secure room behind a cluster of computer monitors, answering phone calls, and talking on a radio? Plenty! In this edition of "From the Chair," Paul Bagley presents a real-life cautionary tale to remind us just how dangerous dispatching can be. The take-away lesson may just save your life.
Often it seems as though how we say something conveys more information than what we actually say; and, of course, vice versa. Nowhere is this truer than in the profession of emergency telecommunications. In addition to everything else that dispatchers must do in their daily routine, today they must be diplomats, and true diplomacy requires a new paradigm regarding language skills.
So far it's been a quiet night. You handled a few disturbances, a handful of family disputes, and an alarm here and there. Then this pops up in your queue: "d 5-o crash on jensen ppl hurt tnk cUd B trapd." Wow! Your first text message since your center started receiving them. No problem, it's clear as day. Or is it? Your dispatching who, to where, for what? This installment of From the Chair looks at a future where 9-1-1 inevitably collides with "Socialized Media."
It is difficult to faze 9-1-1 dispatchers. But there is one phrase that strikes terror in them, "We're upgrading!" This installment of From the Chair asks the question, "Is introducing the latest and greatest technology really helping to do the job better?" To explore that question the article focuses on the CAD.
In the latest installment of From the Chair, Paul turns his attention to the holiday season. With an irreverent wink, some humor, and a dash of sarcasm, Paul looks at the relationship between holidays and the 9-1-1 telecommunicator. The article concludes with a poignant message to those who find themselves in the chair on those special days.
In the good old days, back when I began my flirtation with this insane career now known as emergency telecommunications, the idea of computer-aided dispatching was no more on the radar than were computers themselves. Computers were giant rooms full of electronic gear that nerdy high-techie-types tinkered with at Berkeley and MIT, not something that sat upon virtually every desk in a police or fire station, or resided inside police vehicles or fire trucks...
On Wednesday, May 9, 2012 units of the Santa Clara (CA) Fire Department were dispatched to Hillebrant Place inside the Boulevard condominium complex for reports of a fire working in a block of unfinished structures. Arriving units confirmed a working fire and quickly called for a second alarm to contend with the rapidly intensifying blaze. As the fire continued to grow residents throughout the complex stood by in awe as flames shot high into the night sky...
Less then 48 hours after a 12 Alarm fire in Camden City, New Jersey, crews were back at work on another multiple alarm fire. Companies were dispatched to the 400 block of Winslow St. at 2:23 after 911 received a call for the big building on fire at that location on June 11, 2011.
On Monday afternoon, October 17th, 2011 the Gwinnett County 9-1-1 communications center began receiving calls just after 1:00 PM of an apartment fire at the Highpointe Village Apartments. As companies were responding a large column of smoke could be seen in the vicinity of the alarm. First arriving companies found a three story building with heavy involvement. The fire building contained 20 apartments, of which ten were destroyed
On November 2nd 2012, a building fire was reported at 27th St. and Federal St. in East Camden near the firehouse. Battalion 2 arrived and reported a 1 story vacant building with heavy smoke and fire showing. The All Hands box was struck as Command reported a gas fed fire in the rear of the building with heavy fire conditions.
On January 5th, 2012 Camden City Units were dispatched for a reported dwelling fire at S. 4th and Royden St.’s. A full box was dispatched as Camden County Communications were receiving multiple calls. Engine 1 arrived on location with heavy fire showing. Battalion 1 reported a 2 story twin with heavy fire striking the All Hands box.
"It was like a Firestorm" - Camden City Chief of Department Michael Harper. Firefighters were called to Chestnut and Orchard St. on Thursday June 9th, 2011 several minutes before 4 p.m in the Parkside neighborhood. An off Duty Camden City Firefighter who lived on the block reported the Old Tire Factory with heavy fire showing 1st and 2nd floors. Battalion 1 arrived and reported a block long warehouse with heavy fire conditions and exposure problems requesting the All Hands and to start the...
On March 17, 2013 Cherry Hill (New Jersey) firefighters were alerted of a building fire on Rt. 70 at 3:30 A.M. EMS arrived on location and reported a working fire. Battalion 13 arrived and reported a one story commercial property well involved with exposure problems on the B and D sides. Crews set up for defensive operations.
Firefighters in Fort Worth, Texas, battle an early morning fire in the city's historical district on January 24, 2012. The report came into 9-1-1 shortly after 3AM, and took several hours to extinguish. The fire heavily damaged the Victorian Apartments on Hemphill Street, a vacant 1920s-era structure...
...As firefighters began to arrive on scene a working structure fire was confirmed by the officer of Truck 30 with flames and smoke showing from the second floor and roof of the two story, multi-unit apartment building. Firefighters quickly established an offensive attack with crews stretching lines to the interior of the building and going to the roof to provide ventilation.
On February 7, 2013 at 12:30 a high angle rescue was dispatched in Haddonfield, New Jersey, at 520 Woodland Ave. Crews arrived to find a crane that tipped and was suspended in air supported by the outriggers. One occupant was injured on the roof. The uninjured operator was trapped in the vehicle by live wires on the roof.
At 1:45 p.m. on August 3rd, 2011 the Philadelphia Fire Department was dispatched for a reported building fire at 7th and Lehigh Ave in the City. Battalion 8 arrived and reported a 4 story vacant school with heavy fire conditions on the 3rd floor and roof area. Companies set up for defensive operations. Extra Alarms were sounded as fire went through the roof. Crews surrounded the building and placed multiple Ladder Pipes, and hand lines in operation.
On Saturday, January 18, 2013, at 0623 hours, firefighters at San Jose Fire Station 9 were alerted to a blaze at the Flames Coffee Shop located across the street from the firehouse. Upon exiting the station's apparatus bay the officer of Engine 9 reported heavy pressurized smoke showing from the roof of the structure. A second-alarm was immediately struck and a defensive strategy was established. Third and fourth-alarms were struck as crews worked to contain the fire to the restaurant.
Shortly after midnight on Sept. 24, members of the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District were dispatched to 5725 Marconi Avenue in Carmichael (CA) for reports of fire and explosions in a commercial building. First units arriving, only 2 and a half minutes after dispatch, found the structure already heavily involved in fire, with extension into the attic. Firefighters immediately started attacking the fire from the ground, while truck crews ventilated the roof of the roughly 7,000 square foot...
On March 24, 2013 a dwelling fire was reported in Pennsauken on the 1700 block of 41st street around 6 p.m. Command 1100 reported a dwelling, garage and boat heavily involved with fire already extending into the exposure dwelling. The All Hands box was struck...
On February 26, 2012 a dwelling fire was reported on Glennwood Ct. in Woodbury Heights (NJ) at 5:30 p.m. Police arrived on location and reported a working fire. Command arrived and struck the All Hands box for heavy fire from Division A-D. Engine 1511 laid in to secure a water supply as the crew led off with a 2 1/2" hand line. The company went in but were driven out for heavy fire conditions.
On Monday, June 11, 2012, at 7:03 PM, units of the Santa Clara County Fire Department responded to a report of fire in a two story townhouse located at 231 Shelley Avenue in Campbell, California. The first firefighters to arrive on scene were confronted by heavy fire showing from the second floor of the structure.
Engine 1 arrived on location with heavy fire showing. Battalion 2 arrived and reported a 2-story end of the row dwelling with heavy fire 1st and 2nd floors with extension. The All Hands box was transmitted as three structures were involved... Later that same day, Camden firefighters battled a second working fire also involving three dwellings. ...
Modern public safety agencies need more than a crystal ball to plan for the ever-evolving technology environment surrounding public safety communications. Communications equipment is a long term, major investment and establishing a communications environment that is "future proof" while serving the user’s needs today requires that agencies ask all the right questions before deciding which solution is best for them.
Inner city gang thugs moving from the cities and literally raping, pillaging, and plundering rural America's smaller cities. Like locusts moving from one town to the next, leaving nothing but crime ridden and drug infested cities now mere shadows of their former selves in the wake of the gangsters leaving and those staying behind -- like enemy troops on occupied territory.
Information is knowledge and knowledge can save lives in an emergency. The City of Sandy Springs will be the first city in Georgia to use a new 9-1-1 system that will provide first responders vital information instantly. They will also be the first city in the United States to allow 9-1-1 operators to be able to initiate texting with emergency callers.
Getting to Go: The untold story of all the work and hand-shake partnerships leading up to an information-sharing project
How a driven law enforcement leader and an equally committed public safety software vendor created a blueprint for success for RMS-vendor neutral information sharing projects, with officer safety as the cornerstone.
Yesterday marks the third anniversary of the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River that saved the lives of all 155 people on board the aircraft. Revisit our coverage from the FDNY responders and dispatch staff, from our Jan/Feb 2009 issue.
FEMA administrator Craig Fugate speaks with a Joplin firefighter in front of what used to be one of the town's five fire stations. This and one other station were destroyed by the deadly tornado that smashed the community on May 22.
Walk into any emergency dispatch facility today, no matter where, and look just beneath the surface. There you will find a disgusting mess worthy of a cable television reality show. Greasy grime. Dust bunnies running rampant. Coffee stains. Food particles deep inside cavities seemingly lost forever. Computers and radio equipment covered in filth.
On September 11th... I arrived at my union office to see the doorman watching TV. On the screen was something I never imagined would happen. A plane had slammed into #1 World Trade Center. I stared in amazement as massive flames and profuse black smoke engulfed the upper floors. I knew in an instant that I had to get to the Manhattan central office. They were going to need help.
Federal authorities immobilized the US air traffic system for the first time in history on September 11 after the hijacking of four planes and subsequent suicide crashes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.... The NIFC jet out of Boise was one of the first non-military and non-medical aircraft allowed to fly. Its crew transported three national incident management teams - people who usually handle wildland fire - back to assist with the aftermath.
Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company, has received a $9 million contract from Franklin County, North Carolina, to upgrade its legacy analog emergency communications to a Harris P25(IP) (Project 25 to the power of Internet Protocol) solution.
In order to facilitate a rapid response to any type of incident, the Harris County Sheriff''s Office has strategically placed a number of Mobile Command Posts (MCPs) throughout the county. These vehicles also provide regional response capabilities and support to the 13 county region surrounding Harris County.
Perhaps no piece of communications equipment is less costly but more important than the headset. Where telephone or radio transmissions must be clearly made and received, particularly in busy environments like communications centers, headsets offer obvious options over conventional speakers and desk microphones. By placing both the microphone and speaker closer to the telecommunicator's mouth and ears respectively, headsets help to cut down background noise and improve the quality of both...
Five Years Later: What has happened since September 11, 2001 to instill confidence in homeland security for America? Cosmetic changes, visible security enhancements in certain places, and booming business for government bureaucracy. It is still the same bureaucracy that left civilian targets vulnerable to terrorist attacks in the first place, according to Congressional investigators.
Since 9/11, our nation has seen the initiation and implementation or two national warning systems, the most recent of which was launched in April of last year. We’ve also seen the emergence of several emergency and disaster related citizen support groups, designed to serve law enforcement agencies and first responders at all levels of government - city, county, state, and federal. Furthermore, we’ve seen critical information being placed on government websites for public officials, first...
Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) could be one of the most promising data sources for effective threat analysis in the coming years, and under the NSI program (National SAR Initiative), law enforcement agencies can submit local reports for analysis by participating agencies as well as compare their local reports to the broader database to find matches and vet threats for their regions. This kind of reporting and analysis is key to identifying people like those who, prior to 9/11, were...
As the nation struggled to understand how something like 9/11 could occur on American soil, information came to light about breakdowns in information sharing between law enforcement agencies that might have helped prevent it. Predictably, there was a heated outcry to fix those breakdowns in order to protect our citizens from similar threats in the future... So, what has been done since those dark days to improve information sharing and law enforcement intelligence analysis? Actually, quite a...
United States Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) teams are among the best and most highly-trained in the world. But often the success and failure of operations is dictated not by training or ability, but rather by the equipment at a team’s disposal ... In the critical search phase of the operation, technologies designed to locate trapped persons have proven frustratingly ineffective, and the extent of a team leader’s ability to communicate locations and information is often simply imprecise verbal...
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy made history as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of that year’s Atlantic hurricane season... The day Sandy hit, nearly 20,000 calls were received every hour (the NYC 9-1-1 system typically processes about 30,000 emergency requests for assistance - per day). The Intrado Emergency Call Relay Center (ECRC) took the calls, found out exactly where the callers were, determined the nature of the emergencies and redirected the calls to the
There is a question I hear again and again and often see posted to the various 9-1-1-related newsgroups. Let's examine this question: how long should it take to train a public safety dispatcher?
As evidenced during and after Superstorm Sandy, satellite networks played a major role in ensuring continuity of communications, keeping emergency responders, businesses and people connected when terrestrial services were disrupted or unavailable. First responders and public safety managers experienced first-hand the critical need to communicate during a crisis to effectively respond and manage field resources, including organizations assisting with recovery efforts. Government leaders in...
If you have a training program that evaluates only performance and skills you may be using a learning theory called behaviorism. Behaviorism is a theory of animal and human learning that only focuses on observable behaviors and discounts mental activities. It is true that learning is supposed to result in a change of behavior but not only behavior. So, what does this have to do console training? Do you ever wonder why a trainee can perform perfectly for you but when they get out there on...
In 1972, Comedian George Carlin had a popular routine based upon seven words that you can't say on television. Although cable TV has relaxed the former network rules, several of these words are still not politely uttered in the PSAP even 35 years after the fact. And when they are spoken nowadays, it may not be a laughing matter.
There are 16 national Type 1 Incident Management Teams (IMTs) across the country. Though they mostly deal with wildland fire, they're also dispatched for non-fire incidents such as floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. One of FEMA's 12 emergency support functions is firefighting, and under ESF-4 the teams can be activated from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. The teams are prepared to use the Incident Command System (ICS) to handle just about any situation. But no...
One, perhaps indirect way to perceive trends in the public safety industry is to count the frequency of certain types of RFPs that cross consultants' desks. So it is noteworthy to those of us in the consulting business that, although subjects such as NG 9-1-1 might be expected to generate the majority of requests for help, in fact, we find we are receiving even more requests to support either studying the feasibility of PSAP consolidation or for planning and implementing such consolidations.
Initially, there seemed to be a lot of disorganization for the first several days as the leadership scrambled to keep up with the volunteers who showed up and the teams that were deployed to help out. Most teams though, especially the FEMA ones, were well organized among themselves and were capable of running autonomously even if little or no input from higher up was forthcomming
In the beginning, there were no dispatchers or phones and 9-1-1 was just a fantasy in some poor cop's mind. How the heck did the public get help? How did Marshal Dillon know Miss Kitty was in trouble? Screaming loudly might help.
Designated the Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS), its developers depict it as "a combination of tools, technologies, and an innovative concept of operations for emergency response." It's what a lot of us in public safety have been waiting for since laptops and mobile computers first found a place inside our command centers, mobile command vehicles, and chief officers' vehicles
When public safety communication centers and their personnel are not appropriately engaged in planning and preparedness efforts the results are predictable - the planning is incomplete. The need to achieve effective and efficient communications along with appropriate involvement of public safety communications centers is a constant lesson learned referenced in after action reports. In this article, we will explore the principles and practices of the Incident Command System (ICS) as it...
Technology is changing the way EMS first-responders work and is creating improved methods that save time throughout the entire first-response process - from the initial 9-1-1 call through record-keeping. This article will explore how Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and GPS tracking technology is transforming the industry, and how EMS companies can leverage the latest trends to increase efficiencies, ultimately leading to time savings, reduced costs and improved patient care.
We live in a mobile era of cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging, and email. Information is only ever one search away on a computer, MDC, Smart Phone, or other handheld device, so the question becomes, why didn't the First Responders dispatched to this domestic dispute call illustrated above have this mission-critical and potentially life-saving information at their finger tips?
February, 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of the initiation of 9-1-1 service in the United States. In the four decades since that first call was made in Halleyville, Alabama much has changed.
There are three areas of emergency communications that have seen progress, but need continued improvement: interoperability between responding agencies and other municipalities; incoming information to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and 9-1-1 dispatch centers; and delivering information to an engaged and connected public, given the rise in popularity of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Information needs to be collected and routed through the intelligence chain to achieve success...The details that dispatchers, first responders, and emergency communication staff encounter can be critical to the genesis of good intelligence. Their insights can make all the difference when it comes to deciding if something is amiss and escalating that information or hunch to the appropriate levels.
Active shooters have now become such a part of public safety's life that the names of the communities in which they occur run together in a liturgy reminiscent of the battles of our Civil War... Now, Columbine is not even alone in Colorado in this distinction. And if misery truly does love company, they are comfortably surrounded by the Virginia Techs, and Clackamases, and Newtowns of our country...
How Scheduling Software Helps Achieve Higher Level of Efficiency
You've all seen the pictures on television, in newspapers, or in other media, all showing the devastation of what was once called the World Trade Center. What you haven't heard about was the relationship between the New York rescuers and the teams sent from throughout the country to help perform Search and Rescue operations at Ground Zero... What are some of the lessons we learned there, that we could make use of in our own agencies?
Finding a solution to an ongoing problem about reporting malfunctioning audio/visual equipment at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte unexpectedly resulted in a solution that would eventually be used for emergency communications on campus.
The Internet is public. Even when comments or posts are sent directly to a specific distribution group or only shared with “friends” there is nothing stopping these individuals from forwarding, re-posting, or sharing with others. There is nothing more embarrassing than complaining about a co-worker (or your boss) only to have them eventually receive and read your comments.
NG9-1-1 will bring to PSAPs a whole new level of emergency response capabilities. The ability to receive and share multimedia information will have a huge impact on public safety. By providing law enforcement, fire fighters, EMTs, and other emergency crews with more detailed and complete information about the situations they are about to encounter, they will be better prepared to perform their jobs successfully.
9-1-1 has come a long way baby. 20 years ago there was no such thing as a Training Manager, simulators, certification, or dispatch academy. What is missing? What is needed? A Police Chief told me about his 'core group' (solid for 10-20 years) and - the revolving door group (hired in the last 3 years). What's up?... If the 10-20 employees thrived, we can assume - back then - that we hired the right people, had great training, negativity was rare, shiftwork was easier, we didn't fear...
Consumers of child pornography break the law when they download photos and videos from file-sharing networks. But police are more concerned with the porn producers uploading the files. Every new posting means a child is in harm's way. To accelerate the acquisition of information needed to arrest child predators, law enforcement officers have teamed with data analytics experts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for a project that will use Jaguar, one of the world's fastest supercomputers, to...
In January of 1993, a Mobile Communications Unit designated "1070" was placed in service, available to respond to any major fire or EMS incident to assist the command staff. By 2003, with county command staff recognizing the value of on-scene communications support teams and realizing the limitations of the existing Communications unit 1070, started the process of acquiring a new, larger mobile communications vehicle.
The City of Jonesboro, a thriving municipality of 70,000, home to Arkansas State University and major companies like NicePak and Nestle, was outgrowing its emergency dispatch capabilities as times and technologies changed. As Jeff Presley, E9-1-1 Director for the City and Craighead County describes, "We were using an analog paging system that was antiquated, trying to patch into the State’s new digital 700/800MHz radio system. We needed to find something reliable, a secure pathway between our...
This K9 unit from the Greenville County (SC) Sheriff's Department lies on its roof after flipping over after a collision with another car last November 11th. The deputy and his canine partner were responding to fill with another unit when he struck a car pulling out of a driveway. Both the deputy and the dog escaped the car without injury; the driver of the other car was treated at a local hospital and released. The crash is being investigated by the Sheriff's Dept. and the South Carolina...
The hoist up the WW2 Liberty Ship Jeremiah O’Brien is part of the dogs' ongoing training program designed to expose them to all of the fields they could be potentially called to serve in. They are both bomb-sniffing dogs, and typically search for explosive material on ferries and in warehouses and port facilities. Their training, however, sometimes requires them to be transported to assets that they are not naturally comfortable with, such as airplanes or moving boats.
On February 2, 2011, Lake County Emergency Management had to mobilize for the third-largest snowstorm to ever hit the area. Although the county's public safety agencies were prepared for the event, many of its residents were not. As the storm quickly escalated, calls came pouring in to assist stranded motorists and residents in need of medical attention. Coordination between first responders from several municipalities - some on snowmobiles, snowplows and front loaders - over a large area...
After working on plans for the new Mobile Command Center for nearly a year, work began in October 2003. The unit was delivered to the department in May after being exhibited by Pierce at the FDIC East in Indianapolis. The interior of the Mobile Command Unit (MCU) is divided into three areas: public information, communications, and command & control.
Joy to the world, peace on earth etc etc. Yet what about the ongoing Criticizing, Condemning, Complaining? Natural human behavior - to a point. But when the 3 Cs become epidemic in your Comm Center it's time to take some leadership action.
Public safety agencies are very efficient with routinely conducting exercises that test various response components. However, compressed response timelines or the ability to talk face-to-face make it difficult or impossible to fully utilize the types of radio communication that would be experienced in a real world response. In Georgia we recognized the need to think outside the box and identified the need to evaluate the communications component the same way we evaluate the exercises...
Before you begin reading this story, ask yourself these simple questions and see if you can answer them quickly, with minimum hesitation. From where you are right now, which way is North, South, East, West?... In my opinion, all schoolchildren should be taught geographical directions at an early age, much like language skills are taught at early ages. Geographical awareness can be a lifesaver!
As the president of Blackboard Transact, I often speak with safety officials on campuses about how they can improve their approaches to reduce campus safety risks and institution liability, a high priority for universities in light of high-profile security issues on college campuses in recent years. While a unified approach takes commitment, time and resources, the end result could help save lives.
...I became aware of what the job description should be for everyone in public safety communications: "We manage the cone of uncertainty!" Because, folks, that's what we do. Every call taker and telecommunicator never knows what the next call will be. More than likely it will be something relatively minor. And then again, it can be the lead story on the six o,clock news or CNN. Either way, they must be ready.
Marion County, Mississippi Turns to InterAct Public Safety Systems for State-of-the-Art Public Safety Response
InterAct's Computer Aided Dispatch, Geographic Information System and Law Records Management Solution Improve Officer, Firefighter, and Public Safety
Let me begin this month's column by apologizing to those of you who began reading this under the false assumption that it was a primer on managing extremely high-frequency radios. It is not.
As the EMS community in Monmouth County (NJ) prepared to receive the casualties evacuating from New York City in the wake of the World Trade Center attack, the Field Comm unit from Middletown was requested to support the operation. As Field Comm Captain, I would deploy the unit, a 35-foot truck, built by Lynch Diversified Vehicles and purchased several years ago as a joint effort of the police and fire departments, and the city Office of Emergency Management. I
It may not have been a major disaster - fortunately - but any aircraft response is taken seriously. In the case of a recent Boeing 737 that ran off a taxiway in Atlanta (GA), while no fire or injuries ensued, a large response of airport and city fire units maintained a safety standby and incident command post for more than five hours to ensure a safe mitigation to the incident and removal of the damaged aircraft.
Yesterday marks the third anniversary of the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River that saved the lives of all 155 people on board the aircraft. The firefighters and officers who worked the night tour of January 14th and the day tour of January 15, 2009 were in for a busy 24 hours. The men and women of the Manhattan Communication Office were in for a busy day tour. However, they didn't realize how busy!
In a crisis, coordinated communication is critical to establishing command and control, maintaining situational awareness and coordinating response efforts across agencies and jurisdictions. When an emergency of any kind strikes, first responders must have immediate access to real-time, situational information.
The basic desire to leverage the technology of the mobile phone for emergency alert systems, in its simplest form seems blatantly obvious, until, upon further exploration, a plethora of complexities arise.
Shortly before 3:30 AM on Sunday, Nov 25, 2012 Mountain View (CA) police responded to an apartment complex on the 800 block of Alice Ave. on a report of a suicidal male who was armed with a shotgun and had barricaded himself inside his apartment after battering his girlfriend.
Technologies, applications, and the systems they run on are becoming more complex and more highly integrated, with more sophisticated features than ever before. It's putting a strain on PSAP's ability to keep up and manage these systems. When evaluating new Computer Aided Dispatch systems and related applications, the natural tendency is to focus on the software, the user experience it affords call takers and dispatchers, and how efficient and productive it enables them to be.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported that a New Jersey state appeals court has ruled that 9-1-1 operators and dispatchers are not immune from being sued for failing to perform their duties.
The narrowbanding mandate from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has businesses and government entities working to retool their two-way radio systems in the face of stiff penalties and a Jan. 1, 2013, deadline... The FCC set forth its narrowbanding initiative in 1992 with the ultimate objective of increasing capacity and efficiency for the industrial/business and public safety radio pools in the private land mobile radio services category
Gettysburg National Military Park, Park Watch Volunteers were honored at a dinner held during the 147th battle commemorative activities on July 3, 2010. The dinner was hosted by Terrie and Jeff Ferguson and their Feed Bag Catering Company. The dinner was attended by park rangers and officials.
Here we are in 2012, celebrating what is the official twenty-first birthday of National Public Safety Telecommunicators' Week. Although it was conceived in California a decade before and has been known by a number of aliases, about the closest thing we have to a birth certificate is a 1991 Congressional Proclamation - so we'll go with that. As can be imagined, after ten years of labor, this baby was welcomed with open arms by most.
Members of the National Urban Search and Rescue Task Force receive a briefing before flying from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., to Staten Island, N.Y., to conduct house-to-house searches, Nov 3, 2012. The Task Force includes state search and rescue task forces from Maryland, Virginia, and Texas.
The Union County, North Carolina, Sheriff's Office and Emergency Communications Center have teamed up to deploy a first-of-its kind next generation technology. NexGen Global Technologies provides the solution that enables these public safety agencies to more effectively manage critical incidents by capturing and transmitting multi-media intelligence exchanged between citizens and first responders.
Last month, several newly hired police dispatchers in Southern California graduated from a dispatch academy, a rigorous 3-week training course designed to prepare new dispatchers for the job ahead of them. The Golden West College Criminal Justice Training Center in Huntington Beach, CA, hosted the academy which was taught by several seasoned instructors.
Law enforcement and military services have remained a big challenge even in the technology rich 21st century. Creating a safe environment for civilians and dissolving crime usually involves taking risks and maintaining effective communication methods. Nonetheless, meaningful progress has been made on that front. Here are some of the standout technologies for law enforcement in 2014.
When moving to Next Generation 9-1-1, It is critical for emergency centers to very carefully consider the importance of a communications recording and incident reconstruction solution that can handle all of these different types of media.
Up until now, QA focused on telephony calls as this has been the primary form of 9-1-1 communication between PSAPs and the public. All this though will soon change with NG9-1-1. PSAPs will also be required to handle text, video, images, and potentially other forms and types of data originating from various security sensors.
More than a decade ago, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) recognized the need for changes to the nation's 911 systems. The old systems had their jobs for decades, but in a world of wireless calling and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), the country needed more accommodating technology. Enter the concept of next-generation 911 (NG911), a system that would run on a secure Internet protocol-based network and allow texting, data transfer and more.
What public safety leaders need to know about how to make the move to next-generation 9-1-1 services, and how best to take advantage of the benefits these services provide... Through the Next Generation 9-1-1 initiative (NG9-1-1) initiative,PSAPS are looking to incorporate new technical capabilities. Yet being able to tie Emergency Services IP Networks (ESInets) to legacy networks, and ensuring that PSAPs can handle video, streaming, data, texting and voice, plus obtain the location of a...
"Why does the dispatcher need help getting through this officer down incident, he wasn't even on the scene?" These were the words a high ranking official asked me, the 9-1-1 Director in charge of a center where an officer was shot, when my dispatcher was having extreme anxiety over the incident. I wish I knew then what I know now...
9-1-1 calls provide a significant amount of provocative audio in the world of twenty-four hour news. Many times these calls are handled properly; sometimes they are not. Occasionally, the call itself becomes almost as compelling as the original story. Perhaps the most recent example of this involves Amanda Berry; the kidnap victim recently recovered in Cleveland. While the aftermath of the incident may prove to be a boon to the Good Samaritan and McDonalds, it has been less kind to the...
What follows is a portion of the radio traffic from both LAPD's North Hollywood Frequency and Van Nuys Frequency during the Bank of America incident. Tonja Bellard is the North Hollywood dispatcher, while Guadalupe De La Cruz handled Van Nuys, assisted by Robyn Frazier. Unit 9L89 is Officer Martin Whitfield, one of the most seriously wounded officers in this incident.
Maybe you look at Navigator as the place to learn a lot about emergency communication, the ability to pick up free advice from fellow professionals, and - at the conference held this past April in Las Vegas - the chance to walk away a millionaire. The National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) sponsored Navigator is all that and more. The six days traditionally divided between workshops and classroom sessions also leaves attendees with a lot to chew on for discussion when the next...
As campuses nationwide openup their classrooms for the new school year, MIR3, Inc., an innovator of real-time Intelligent Notification and response technology, is urging school administrators to review their current campus alerting plans to keep students and staff safe and operations running smoothly in case of disaster.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently completed a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) targeted for the radio, television, cable and satellite broadcast communities... The audience for the nationwide EAS test was composed of viewers and listeners of radio and TV programming. However, with today's increasingly mobile society, many users have come to rely on their mobile device as a primary means of communication during an emergency event. So, what about...
I arrived at the center approximately five minutes after the first plane had struck and at that point there was little credible information regarding the size of the plane or damage estimates from the scene. No matter, our personnel had already sprung into action putting our major incident plan into effect. Administrative and training personnel not normally involved in call taking operations were already on the floor...
Even in rural Northeast Oregon we are not immune to multiple casualty incidents (MCI). When something major occurs, we have to pool our resources together with our neighbors and get the job done. On the morning of December 30, 2012, at 10:07hrs, our 9-1-1 dispatch center erupted with a flurry of activity that won’t soon be forgotten. A bus lost control and ended up going down a 200 foot embankment on Interstate 84. The slope was covered with ice and snow making it hard to extricate the...
What has changed since that ill-fated day around the 9-1-1 Center? The 9-1-1 Center has relocated; it is no longer in the basement of the County Courthouse. It moved across the street to a newly renovated, modern, three story 10,000 square foot facility, that was already county property.
As we all have read or witnessed through news accounts since September 11th, 2001, our world has changed. Those of us in Emergency Management have seen both positive responses in understanding, establishing and mitigating threat, or risk, to our citizens, but we have also seen what I would consider to be the "chicken little" mentality where an uneasy society sees a terrorist around every corner and in every shadow
As a dispatcher with the Simi Valley (CA) Police Department since 1977, promoted to the position of Communications Manager in 1990, I have been involved with many citywide incidents from earthquakes, to fires, to floods, to the opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library with five living Presidents attending. But nothing has come close to being involved in managing public safety during the internment of Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of the United States. This event was...
According to the California Public-Safety Communications Office, statistics show there were over 250 million calls made to 9-1-1 throughout the United States in 2011. They also estimate that in some cities nearly 70% of 9-1-1 calls were non-emergencies and an overwhelming majority of those false calls were made by children between the ages of 4-11. In order to reduce these alarming statistics, Orange Police and Anaheim Police have taken a more proactive approach to public education.
With National Public Safety Telecommunications Week being celebrated each April, it's worth taking a look at the job we've been doing.
Some dispatchers have the amazing ability to go through day after day of hearing the cries for help from their fellow citizens without becoming overwhelmed or completely stressed to their limits. These dispatchers are not superhuman nor are they devoid of feelings. What sets them apart from their more stressed counterparts is the fact that they have been able to establish a positive balance between their work and their lives.
Recently the Internet has been all a-twitter about numerous reports of employers requesting social media passwords from prospective and current employees... While on the surface this practice seems a shocking violation of personal space and freedoms, there are others who would argue that valuable information concerning hiring decisions can be gained in this manner... Let's take a closer look at the issue; especially as it applies to public safety communications.
Pedal to the Metal for Public Safety: Statewide Emergency Networks Can Work Together, Without Washington and FirstNet
The Spectrum Act was a monumental decision, and our legislators should be applauded for dedicating the D-Block to public safety. When it comes to building these networks, however, the country already knows it has work to do. And it's doing it. While the Beltway gets up to speed on technical specifications and appointing the FirstNet board, traditional public safety and land-mobile radio networks (LMR) across the country are already proving that states can adapt to new interoperability...
When hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Somerset County on September 11, 2001 the Police Communications Officers and State Police Officers from Troop A were handling the incoming telephone calls, along with the Somerset 9-1-1 Center.
Personal Alerts: What Should Mobile Subscribers Expect Now that CMAS Implementation is Moving Forward?
CMAS is a new public safety system that allows people who own an enabled mobile device to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. This alerting follows you wherever you go and does not require previous knowledge of zip codes or advance registration.
The murder of 52 women in Mexico is enough even for my hard bit experience in law enforcement to take - every dispatcher knows the tragedy of drug addicts' conduct on themselves, their families, and society... There is no way to stop opium trafficking so long as there is demand for heroin. The United States is the world’s largest consumer. Yesterday the President of Mexico, visibly upset when 52 women were burned to death by drug traffickers in a bingo parlor, suggested again that the U.S. do...
Michael McCaul, the U.S. Representative from Texas and Chairman of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management, revealed that that since 2004 130 U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have been arrested on charges that have included drug smuggling, money laundering and smuggling.
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, 9-1-1 Magazine columnist and former Assistant DA John C. Fine shares his perspective on the nature of modern violence and the dark road that leads toward these kinds of tragedies.
Controlling a population through terror dates from the first human societies. Fear of terrorists has caused our free society, through elected officials, to circumvent civil rights. Lawsuits have been instituted that reveal electronic espionage on innocent U.S. citizens by government intelligence services. Torture of prisoners interned in offshore compounds, shrouded in secrecy, has been revealed by investigations and Congressional probes. The good have become bad and the bad have won a major...
The California Emergency Management Agency, the California Fire Chiefs Association Communications Section, and the Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley Disaster Management Initiative held the 3rd Annual Mobile Communications/Command Center rally on May 22 and 23rd, 2011. This year's event combined the Rally with CMU's Disaster Management Initiative for a greater opportunity for associated workshops and exercises. The event was held at the CMU Silicon Valley campus located within the...
The 7th Annual Command, Control, and Communications Vehicle Rally took place in Chantilly, Virginia, on June 17th at the Fairfax County Police Driver Training Track. More than fifty mobile command centers of all sizes from federal, state and local police and fire agencies displayed at the Rally, some brought in from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware...
Coast Guard crews assisted a disabled fishing vessel and safely delivered it to Gloucester, Mass., at approximately 12:30 p.m. Friday, January 13th, 2012. The four-person crew of the 75-foot stern trawler Bulldog used their radio to contact watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Northern New England to report the vessel's engine shaft had broken and they needed assistance Thursday night.
On November 11, 2011 Squad 51 from Gloucester City Fire Department along with EMS were dispatched for a M.V.A Rescue at Route 130 and Market St. in Gloucester City, New Jersey... Battalion 504 reported a 2 car crash with an S.U.V overturned with 4 occupants trapped. Additional BLS from Bellmawr and Westville were dispatched.
A Manager's Guide to Recorder Procurement
If you travel across America you'll find that most cities and towns typically have separate police and fire stations and most of these stations also have their own dispatch centers. Even in some of the smallest towns in New England or the Midwest this still is the case. But with most states in a deep recession, taxpayers are questioning whether having separate facilities makes fiscal sense.
Imagine you are home alone when you hear a very heated argument from the couple who live next door. You become very concerned when you start to hear items breaking; and then, the wife starts screaming. You make the 9-1-1 call to the police, hoping that within minutes, she will be safe.
Pre-Hospital Care & 700 MHz Broadband for Mission Critical Public Safety Data - From Calling Rampart to Communicating with the Enterprise
Today our staff has many options when it comes to voice communications. We provide them high end portable radios with capabilities in VHF, digital, and even encrypted channels. They often carry a portable radio worth thousands of dollars... yet they still use these devices as glorified walkie-talkies. Rarely are these voice devices used to their full potential.
By utilizing the latest version of Infor EnRoute, the Spokane CCC is able to equip all of their dispatch users with the latest GIS functionality. This allows them to make route recommendations to responders, helping EMS and fire units to arrive at the scene of an incident as quickly as possible. Infor EnRoute also provides advanced data drill down capabilities, which facilitates in-depth analysis of dispatch responses.
The goal of the Chicago Police procedural justice and police legitimacy training is for officers to understand the core concepts of procedural justice and legitimacy in order to build better relationships with the communities that they serve and the people whom they work with on the Chicago Police Department.... As of September 2013, the CPD Education and Training Division has trained over 7,700 Chicago Police Department personnel in the procedural justice and police legitimacy program.
Law Enforcement, emergency response and dispatch within the reservation is the responsibility of tribal police. The force consists of a chief of police, one lieutenant, four sergeants, twelve police officers and five dispatchers. Five highways go through the reservation patrolled by three Indian Highway Safety Officers included in force numbers above.
Protocols have become an integral part of modern day, emergency dispatch operations. Protocols reduce variance, ensure a continuity of care, reduce liability, standardize response decisions, and provide a basis for performance measurement and quality improvement efforts. It's no wonder that protocol use has become a rapidly growing standard in a discipline that has, historically, been fraught with inconsistencies in call receipt, processing, interrogation, instruction, and dispatch.
In early October, David Givot, a practicing attorney and former paramedic published an op-ed piece entitled "Humans vs. Toys: What Happened to Dispatch Discretion?" While investigation related to the story that prompted this article continues, Mr. Givot's missive probably stirred up more discussion than did the catalyst for the conversation... The article - and subsequent online conversations - can lead us down some interesting paths.
The city of San Bernardino (CA) filed for bankruptcy in June of 2012, despite the best efforts of the California Public Employees Retirement System and the mid-management's bargaining unit the bankruptcy was given the green light by the federal judge on 8/26/2013. During the time the city was waiting for the bankruptcy to go through, the leaders within the police department were forced to learn many tough lessons...
For years many have talked about the threat of an electromagnetic pulse, whether natural occurring or as a result of a nuclear weapon, but recent event have increased concerns about that threat. EMP is the acronym for electromagnetic pulse, a burst of energy that travels through the air that is produced by a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere or possibly non-nuclear -manmade means that may result in widespread damage to all unshielded semiconductor/electronics, power lines,...
As a product lifecycle evolves, the agency will struggle to keep the system operational amid ever increasing annual maintenance costs. An aging system also suffers from "support deterioration" because older systems become more difficult and costly to maintain over time. To extend the lifecycle of a product, even though defects become more frequent and severe as the product ages, vendors will add functional capabilities called "life cycle extenders" ...
What we once knew as a traumatic event seems to pale in comparison to what thousands learned that day on the streets of New York, on the steps of the Pentagon, in a field in Pennsylvania, and even on the screen of the TV we remained glued to for days, even weeks, after the terrible tragedy that we now refer to as "9/11." Those of us in the trenches, used to responding to critical incidents as part of our job, may feel at a loss for words at this point. All the training in the world could...
With 25 years of professional background in public safety and professional services, 9-1-1 Industry Alliance (9IA) executive director George S. Rice, Jr. is now helping to tackle a major issue impacting public safety, the 9-1-1 overload issue. 9-1-1 Magazine's Randall Larson spoke with Rice on why he is dedicated to public safety and how the alliance is working to ensure that no 9-1-1 call goes unanswered.
At last week's LandWarNet Conference in Tampa, Florida, Cisco introduced its latest wireless router, the 5915, the latest offering in the company's 5900 Series Embedded Services Router (ESR) product line. The new router is optimized for mobile and embedded networks and expands the capabilities of the Cisco Mobile Ready Net solution architecture with such new components as Dynamic Link Exchange Protocol (DLEP) and the latest Radio Aware Routing (RAR), and is designed to ensure communications...
In the modern workplace employees have a desire to know why they are being required to do things and often resent the "old school" just-do-as-I-say approach to management. Policies and procedures need to be explained to and understood by everyone. Often times, if the reasons are clear and the consequences of their actions, and not for their actions are emphasized and understood the resulting compliance will be greater.
Although needed and necessary, Quality Assurance (QA) programs can create chaos in your Comm Center if not presented and managed in a way that acknowledges some realities... But you cannot force people to put their defenses down when they are feeling unsafe. You can work to help them feel safe. Here are five thoughts on a positive pro-active approach to QA programs at 9-1-1.
All the quality assurance data in the world is virtually meaningless if it is not followed up with a strong quality improvement initiative. Gathering the information and generating reports are just part of the process.
The state of quality control within our industry truly requires a case-by-case study. Some states have standards; others do not. Some agencies train; others do not. You get the point. Realistically then, quality must begin at home. But what do we mean by quality? What do we measure and how often do we measure it? And, more importantly, what do we do with the results?
Emergency Notification Systems: Public Safety's Regional Intercom
How Communication Helped Safeguard Southern California Residents during the Wildfires
Many forward-thinking municipalities have started working together, pooling their budgets to implement the infrastructure or technology that they could not otherwise afford. Through collaboration, agencies in Minnesota - as well as Texas, California and Colorado - have profited by leveraging one system for multiple agencies through cost-sharing technology acquisitions.
Simultaneous auditory stimuli (e.g., radio and telephone transmissions) is a common occurrence within in the 9-1-1 communication center. Competition for the telecommunicator's attention and comprehension with receipt of two simultaneous verbal transmissions may result in critical information being missed or lost when switching between tasks. To better manage competing auditory activity, the telecommunicator needs a process to receive, analyze, and organize this activity in such a way that...
Since I returned from New York City as a Communications Specialist with California Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 3, I have been asked many times to explain exactly what the scene at the World Trade Center looked like. I would quickly agree with others that the scenes on the nightly television news reports were only a mere fraction of what we actually witnessed during our two-week deployment.
All those who died that day will forever be heroes, but Ray Downey's life prior to that day had already made him a hero to so many who had know him. At 63, he was the Deputy Chief in charge of Special Operations Command (SOC) for the largest urban Fire Department in the world. His contributions to the Rescue community had made him a legend, and he was respected as a leading authority on Structural Collapse Rescue all over the Country.
The Grapevine Police Department is like one big family. We have our good days and bad days. There are people we like and those we would prefer not to hang out with. There is sibling rivalry and an overwhelming ability to step up to the plate and help out in times of struggle and stress.
Midian's RIC-8 is a tone remote adaptor and encoder that allows up to eight RIC-8 equipped repeaters connected by leased line or microwave to interoperate
On March 8th, 2011 at 12:38 A.M. Camden City (NJ) companies were dispatched for a dwelling with reports of people trapped. EMS arrived and reported the house was fully involved with 3 trapped occupants on the rear roof. Crews worked to remove the occupants who were transported to a near by hospital. The Battalion struck the all hands on arrival with heavy fire conditions.
A thirteen-year old girl is swept down a flood control channel in Los Angeles as swiftwater rescuers struggle to pluck her out of the torrent. A woman and her son are in a violent automobile accident and rescuers make a heroic effort to save them. The parents of a young man receive a surprise telephone call from police officers informing them that their son may be the victim of a homicide. A well-known Hollywood actor discovers his beautiful wife lying at the bottom of their swimming pool....
Public safety has not always kept pace with dramatic changes in technology. Young people with advanced computer skills using inexpensive cell phones and video games seem miles ahead of the average police officer whose analog radios with limited range and interoperability, make it difficult, and at times impossible, to communicate with other agencies let along their own command. This in an era when clandestine federal operations, funded with billions of dollars of taxpayer money, have the most...
On Thursday, March 24, 2011 units of the San Jose Fire Department responded to a stretch of the rain swollen Guadalupe River near the San Jose International Airport for a report of a subject trapped in the fast moving water. Firefighters with San Jose's Urban Search and Rescue Task Force worked quickly to deploy two inflatable rescue boats needed to reach the victim.
The San Ramon Valley Fire District (SRVFPD) in Northern California’s Bay Area recently put into service a Type 1 Communications Support Unit, CS131. The design was the result of extensive review of other Mobile Command Post type vehicles from throughout the United States and, to some degree, elsewhere. Attempts were made to avoid the pitfalls of some of these vehicles, while capitalizing upon their successes.
A fierce windstorm, with winds of 50 MPH, blew beach sand all over more than a dozen homes built on a sand spit on the coastal town of Waldport, Oregon last January 17th. The homes are frequently visited by wind storms that drive the sand over and around the homes, but nothing of this level had ever occurred before.
It's been nearly three months since Hurricane Irene followed by a second violent storm tore through the eastern states. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared many zones disaster areas. Millions of homeowners were without electricity when trees and branches fell onto power lines. Trees damaged homes and vehicles as well. Clean up continues. There is nothing worse than feeling helpless without emergency equipment when disaster strikes.
Video Systems in Public Safety Call Taking and Response
In honor of the tenth anniversary of September 11th, 2001, 9-1-1 Magazine presents a number of new features and also archival stories from our original coverage in 2001 and subsequent years.
As we remember the 11th Anniversary of 9/11: a look back at our coverage of the events, responses, communications concerns, lessons learned, and struggles faced by America's emergency response and communications community, archived on our web site last year:
Here in the Northwest we often are privileged to hear the familiar honking of Canadian geese as they fly low in their well-known "V" formation to some unknown destination. We know that flying in this formation allows the flock to fly further together than they could alone - thus they are often used to represent how much more efficient and effective we are when we cooperate. Teamwork in a 9-1-1 Center shares that kind of dynamic, and its absence can be as keenly felt...
Most people would agree that communications within a Police Department is critical to the daily and safe operation of any community. An unfortunate trend has caught on, though, perhaps in response to tight municipal budgets and officer layoffs... Recognizing that a more effective and safe solution would significantly increase the speed and accuracy of communications from the field, PDV took the lead by creating an application called SkyMail, which allows police officers to quickly and...
Smaller Electronic Devices Create Growing ESD Problems for 9-1-1 Call Centers and Other Mission-Critical Environments
ESD (electrostatic discharge) has long been known as an 'invisible and silent threat,' but it is now generating a bit of a stir at data centers, emergency call centers, and other mission-critical environments. The reason for this heightened attention is a dramatic new study from NanoMarkets, which shows that smaller electronic components are creating much greater risks for electronic hardware manufacturers and many end users.
Today's public safety agencies are being pushed to run like a business--all while under increasing pressure to take on more responsibility with constrained resources and budgets. Efficiency and speed are key operations objectives in today's public safety answering points (PSAPs).
Looking beyond the processing of emergency requests, social media can easily be implemented and utilized for various functions to support a PSAP... Most agencies have some component of community policing,fire prevention, communications, or interactive community involvement in their strategic plans. These are excellent areas that can be enhanced by social media because they primarily require dissemination of information from the agency to the public.
What if law enforcement had the ability to identify and potentially prevent crime before it happened? What if they were able to get out in front of when and where criminal activity would occur, and deploy resources accordingly?
For the men and women at the 9-1-1 Center in Somerset County, PA, September 11 took on a personal meaning when United Airlines Flight 93, hi-jacked by terrorists and bound for an uncertain target in or near Washington DC, crashed in the midst of their jurisdiction, in a field in Shanksville, PA.
In 2010, the State of Georgia received a grant to bring mobile connectivity to approximately 100 EMS agencies statewide. For Southside Fire and other EMS services, a mobile broadband solution would allow teams in the field to not only file their reports with the state portal from the ambulance, but also transmit patient information to hospitals while en route.
Even though my mind had adapted to the day-to-day adrenaline rush of vicariously encountering traumatic situations, I couldn't escape the physiological and emotional consequences. As a psychology major in the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College, I was learning concepts that described what I was experiencing, and conversations with my coworkers revealed that I wasn't the only 9-1-1 dispatcher suffering the effects of being in a continual state of crisis.
The current Suffolk County Department of Fire-Rescue and Emergency Services Mobile Command Unit replaced a unit purchased in 1988, which contained a communications and incident command sections, but on a smaller scale. That in turn replaced an older unit put into service in the mid 1970’s, the first concept of a command vehicle. This was a Fire Marshal’s van that was converted with a homemade built-in wooden cabinet containing several low-band radios, which was the only bandwidth in use at...
Bet most of you never had an evaluation you liked. Well, that's not true, I'm sure if it praised you as you deserved you liked it. Let's say you never had an evaluation you could honestly say was deeply meaningful, greatly insightful, and guided you towards greater mastery in your work. Can an evaluation really do all that?
At 08:07 we arrived on scene and had a briefing with the sergeant from the state police. We set the trailer up a few houses down from the actual scene. After acquiring aerial maps from our GIS data for the state police SERT team we erected our satellite dish and cell mast... we were just out of range of the satellite because of the mountainous terrain; however with our diverse communications methods available to us we were able to provide cellular communications and data.
Team Robot: Researchers Demonstrate Autonomous Vehicles With Advanced Collaborative Exploration and Mapping Capabilities
The ability to map and explore simultaneously represents a milestone in the Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) Collaborative Technology Alliance Program, a major research initiative sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The five-year program is led by BAE Systems and includes numerous principal and general members comprised largely of universities...
In the past, emergency alerts and notifications were largely dependent on outdoor sirens, radio broadcasts and television alerts. Yet, the 2012 Federal Signal Public Safety survey found that 36% of Americans would be motivated to take action in an emergency based on ANS alerts, including call, text and email notifications, over any other form of communication... Though a variety of human factors such as age, physical disabilities and cultural differences have always been a concern in planning...
In early February, national media provided extensive coverage of the so-called "swatting" of 9-1-1 calls. This was triggered, in part, by a Department of Justice press release concerning the guilty plea entered by an eighteen year old Boston man on a string of related charges.
From the terrorist standpoint, attacks on civilian targets like the World Trade Center are political acts. Perpetrators are heroes, martyrs in their own society, perhaps even heroes among elements of American society. In their twisted reckoning, they are paid lobbyists. While their stated enemy counterparts lobby US politicians with cash and favors, the terrorist is paid with salvation. Hate is wrong in any society. Religious fervor is evil when manipulated by ungodly men.
FEMA sponsors 28 national urban search-and-rescue (US&R) task force teams, comprised of fire-rescue specialists, structural engineers, medical professionals, logistical and communications specialists, canine disaster search teams, and incident support managers, ready to serve as a national resource for disaster rescue response nationwide. "As soon as it became obvious that we were facing a major terrorist event, we knew we were going to have structural collapse responses," said Dave Webb,...
"We need to ask questions and get a good understanding of what the (situation) is," said Hollman. "Each caller is different, some may be aware of something unusual and some may be very hysterical. But the basics are still the where's and what's. That's what a dispatcher needs to find out."
This new technology is only the latest in what has been an almost constant drumbeat since 9-1-1 was first developed almost thirty years ago. The next few years will see callers having the ability to send photos and video, as well as text messages, into the 9-1-1 Center. This presents our Centers with some opportunities, as well as a few challenges.
Beginning last April, the state of Vermont conducted a six-month trial to test the potential of 9-1-1 text messaging services... With the trial period having culminated on October 15th, 9-1-1 Magazine recently spoke with David Tucker about his views of the viability of test-to-9-1-1 services following the completion of the state's trial program.
The FCC has responded to an agreement between APCO/NENA and the Big 4 wireless carriers with its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the subject of text-to-9-1-1. For those of us who have been watching and waiting to learn what will be done about SMS, and for those of us involved in moving toward equal access for all, this is a monumental decision!
One of the more common complaints heard around the PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) concerns the "dumbing of dispatchers. This gripe typically comes from members with a little bit of time under their belts, and the propensity to wax poetic about the good old days.
They are sworn to uphold the law. When they go wrong there is nobody to stop them. That there are corrupt cops is not surprising. That their criminal conduct is condoned, even applauded, by other police officers is appalling. A continuing scandal in the New York Police Department under Commissioner Ray Kelly has sparked protests by tough looking cops rallying around the courthouse to support Officer Joe Ramos, a 17-year veteran of the NYPD. Ramos was indicted for making a heroin buy and...
I just got back from seeing THE CALL, the first movie thriller to feature a 9-1-1 dispatcher as its central protagonist. While not without criticisms, I enjoyed the movie and felt gratified to be able to cheer the film for its positive image of the public safety telecommunicator in a heroic role of action. Xena, step aside
Did you know that there is a link between the NPSTW and one of the greatest disasters of the twentieth century? This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912. How can answering a 9-1-1 line or monitoring a radio channel be related to an event over one hundred years ago?
The era of nanotechnology is here, and with this technology, the world will be able to achieve things beyond the dreams of mortals. Nanotechnology will change our environment in the most fundamental way since the development of tools. The excitement lies in the theoretical possibilities that may one day overturn economies. In the next decade and a half, policing will become more difficult. Policing computer and internet crimes is already challenging; adding wireless technology and...
"The Customer is Always Right" has long been a cliche' used in the customer service industry, prompting businesses in the private sector to provide the highest quality of professional service to meet customer satisfaction. So how can we apply this principle to law enforcement without turning police agencies into a Nordstrom's?
Within moments of the awful shooting spree in which 71 people were shot (12 fatally) as they watched the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, in Aurora, Colorado, news had taken wing and spread across the Internet. A rushing wave of incredulity and sorrow swept across social media networks like Facebook and Twitter as those of us still up after midnight read with heartache and horror what transpired in the flickering darkness of Aurora's Century 16 Theater.
If you work as a dispatcher long enough, you inevitably face one of our occupation's worst type of calls: the death of a child. Any death call can be traumatic, especially if it comes on the heels of something you have recently experienced yourself, such as the death of a parent.
The photograph is striking. The vibrant colors show two elk surrounded by huge walls of fire. Many have already downloaded the picture from the NIFC website and put it on their own websites. Others have attributed this once-in-a-lifetime portrait as being fake, or perhaps shot in Yellowstone... The picture is genuine, and is the work of John McColgan, a Fuels Management Specialist with the Alaska Fire Service,
Building Your Comm Center, Part 1: ...Dispatchers had an integral part in not only the design of their work environment, but also had the opportunity for input about other areas of the building. Overall interior color schemes, tile and carpet selection, outside roof color and building accent colors, types of lockers and the interior courtyard to name a few...
Over the last 15 years, 9-1-1 reporting systems have been evolving and dramatic improvements have been made with the advancement of technology. Direct Technology, a leading custom software development firm, has witnessed and contributed to this progression. The Roseville, California based group has developed a deep understanding of how to deploy and manage an extremely successful and dependable 9-1-1 reporting system.
The Emergency Doctrine was created by human lawmakers who understood that if we are held to our normal standard of care during times when meeting such a standard is impossible, we may not act at all out of fear that we will do the wrong thing.
You may have seen recent posts on social media sites urging people in the U.S. to dial 1-1-2 rather than 9-1-1 in certain emergencies. This is bad advice. The posts claim that 1-1-2 is especially effective if you are being pulled over in your car and want to ensure that you are dealing with the police. It also claims that by dialing 1-1-2, your call will be answered faster and may go directly to the police. Here are the facts:
In an effort to combat the high costs, deaths and injuries associated with traffic collisions, state departments of transportation (DOT) work closely with law enforcement agencies, state traffic safety offices and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to plan and implement policies that can help reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes. One approach is through the Four E’s of traffic safety - Enforcement, Engineering, Education and Emergency Medical Services.
There will always be a select number of calls whose memory will follow each and every one of us throughout our careers and become indelibly imprinted as part of the holiday season... Despite the severity of these events and others like them, the names of those involved have dimmed over the years. While the streets and neighborhoods involved are often associated with these recollections, the most common denominator is the deep seated sorrow that "something like this could happen near the...
In the ongoing discussion of how public safety can mitigate TDoS attacks, this article will focus on the hardening of existing 9-1-1 technologies and how Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) will substantially increase the capacity of PSAPs to handle large call volumes, whether resulting from TDoS attacks or from concurrent legitimate calls. And finally, it will address how FirstNet, the new nationwide public safety network, will play a critical role in securing public safety communications and...
Police and firefighters in Aurora, Colorado responded to an apartment building after a report was made of the smell of rotten eggs in the area. The building was evacuated, and responders entered an apartment whose bathroom had been taped shut with duct tape. Signs warned of hazardous materials inside. A young woman's body was soon removed from the residence. Welcome to the new and terrifying world of chemical suicide. As a 9-1-1 dispatcher, it's important for you to know that this threat...
Newly hired police officers go through a police academy for training. A citizen's academy is the same principle, but designed for members of the community. It gives the general public a behind-the-scenes look at how police agencies work. Citizen's academies vary in length depending on the hosting agency and that agency's goals; some can be as short as 4 weeks, while others can be as long as 16 weeks.
Most people are familiar with a ride-along: the opportunity for a member of the public to "ride along" with a police officer during a patrol shift responding to calls for service. You have probably seen popular television shows, like COPS for example, where you see the excitement of police officers driving with lights and sirens activated to go help someone. But what about the dispatcher who first answered the 9-1-1 call before the officer was even sent to help?
...From Action News Central... A tornado warning is in effect until 6pm for...
The Emergency Services professions all across America are facing some tough challenges. The result has been a reduction in manpower and resources in all areas of Police/Fire/EMS. Despite these cutbacks, the public still wants the safety and security of their families provided for. The only solution to these mounting issues going forward is simple, Police/Fire/EMS need to begin adopting to the new innovative technologies beginning to become available. These new innovations will allow these...
Technological advances in clinical data exchange between EMS service providers and hospitals are of growing importance. Decisions made in the ER are only as good as the information they receive and the ease of access they have to that data... Electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) systems allow EMTs and paramedics to collect and utilize incident and patient EMS data not only for their own agency, but for the hospital on the receiving end.
The challenges facing today's 9-1-1 administrators, coordinators, directors, and/or managers are forcing them to decide how and when to proceed; and how to fund changes. These issues are forcing these professionals to attempt to wear many cloaks or, at best, to become multi-faceted in their technical, budgetary, and operations and training knowledge and abilities in order to most effectively respond to the changes. Due to these realities they need to be systemically diversified in their...
I believe that we are going to see more change in the Communications Center in the next five to ten years than we have seen in the last 25... And now we are moving to Next Generation 9-1-1. I prefer to call it Next Generation Communications Center - because I believe NG9-1-1 has a lot more to do with the entire function and operation of the communications center than just 9-1-1.
In a profession as critical - and criticized - as our contemporary 9-1-1 occupation, adherence to policies and procedures becomes extremely important. This is especially true for agencies that provide some measure of post-dispatch and/or pre-arrival instructions to callers, directing the caller to actively do something to stabilize a patient or begin to mitigate an emergency before the arrival of the dispatched first responders. Evaluating performance and compliance with protocols and...
An unusually poetic commentary of the state-of-the-art of dispatcher staffing and retention. In the spirit of a holiday jingle, PSAP Management columnist Barry Furey examines the issues in rhyming meter and creative wordplay to address a one of the major issues challenging 9-1-1 Centers this year - and likely next.
The Poomacha Fire started in the early hours of October 23 as a residential structure fire that spread to the wildland. Around noon that day, I received a call from CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Alan Knapp from the Lake-Napa-Sonoma Unit; the Communications Unit Leader (COML) on California Incident Management Team 4, which had been pre-staged in Southern California awaiting assignment and were now heading to San Diego County to support command of the Poomacha fire.
The September 11th atrocities claimed the lives of 37 police officers of the New York/New Jersey Port Authority Police Department, including the department's Chief, Deputy Chief, and Inspector, and destroyed the department's headquarters and 9-1-1 center. An officer from every rank gave their lives in what New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani called "the greatest rescue of modern times, since in so doing the rescuers saved more than 25,000 people."
Quality Improvement (QI) is a relatively new concept in emergency communications. Called by many names, including Total Quality Management or Control, Quality Assurance, and Statistical Quality Control, among others, QI has existed in the modern era since post WWII Japan when quality experts like Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Joseph M. Juran helped to re-industrialize the war-torn country.
What is often lost in the debate over the fate of the D-Block is the proven reliability of commercial networks. Indeed a great divide exists between the perception by some in the public safety community, who often cast doubt that these networks are dependable enough, and the reality, that more often, it is the commercial network that is the only one left standing.
The Return of High Frequency: HF-NVIS, Your Regional Communications Lifeline When Everything Else is Broken
HF (High Frequency) and NVIS (Near Vertical Incident Skywave) provide a simple and reliable solution for backup communications over a wide regional area with no intervening infrastructure whatever. It should be part of every public safety agency's toolset for springing back after a natural disaster or terrorist attack.
Public safety professionals continue to adopt new technologies that allow them to monitor potentially dangerous or illegal activities and gain access to information that improves their ability to do their job, and the quality of the services being provided. However, municipalities that purchase and implement these technologies are often at risk themselves from hidden vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber criminals. Thus, sensitive data that is necessary for reporting crime and...
On the morning of April 16, 2007, the quiet calm that hung over the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, southwestern Virginia, was pierced by the sharp pop of gunshots and the cries and screams of panic and pain.
Beyond my grief for the children and families of Newtown is a deep concern for the public safety responders of Newtown and the police, fire, and EMS dispatchers who shared their response and its aftermath... dispatchers who may not have witnessed directly but felt the event just as keenly in the voices of 9-1-1 callers and response units from the scene.
After tornadoes left over 300 dead in just a 24 hour period those in the across the country are now aware that technology, email, text alerts, and weather radios prevented an astronomical death toll. Some of the supercell storms from Wednesday were so extreme that if anyone in their path didn’t adequately seek shelter they would not survive. By a miracle, highly visible tornadoes during the day Wednesday combined with media coverage saved many whom are counting their blessings today. Had the...
Recording systems for public safety agencies may be viewed from two different perspectives: their performance during an event and their performance after one. During an emergency, the protection of lives and property eclipses all other needs. Recording systems must meet special demands, improve performance, and make a tough job easier for police, firefighters, air-traffic controllers, and other public safety officials. After an event, a precise analysis can be equally crucial because it...
Most 9-1-1 map data is flawed across the country. It’s inaccurate and outdated - missing new streets, closed roads and sometimes whole new developments. It frustrates first responders who have to double-back on roads searching for an address that’s out of numerical order. It can be life-threatening to citizens who need assistance, yet their location cannot be identified quickly or with spot-on precision.
Sidebar to Maze Meltdown: The Story of a Unique Fire by Stephen L. Cutright, Fire Chief, City of Emeryville
Many of today's emergency personal are missing one integral component of their daily uniform, hearing protection. Between loud sirens, radio blasts and even gunshots, high decibels of noise might be lurking during the next emergency call that is responded to. It comes as no surprise that occupational hearing loss is a serious health issue for those in emergency related fields, but what is surprising is how little is being done to prevent it.
Plan, plan, plan—As in real estate, the three keys to success when building a mobile command vehicle are plan, plan, plan. Your planning process should involve key personnel from all of the agencies that will be impacted by the new vehicle. If you have already selected your vendor, they can also add value. A solid plan keeps the process on track and on budget.
Although searchers are trained in the latest safety procedures, the remoteness of the terrain and the challenges of operating in small teams meant the risk was high. The team contacted PRYME Radio Products, a company which makes audio accessories such as earphones and headsets for two-way radios, about their GPSMIC system.
The public safety and emergency communications industry moves at a fast pace. In an ever-changing environment - from the nature of calls taken, to shifting employee needs, to advances in technology - call center managers, supervisors, and dispatchers need to stay abreast of the latest industry trends. While new technologies and call center designs are clearly important, it's also crucial to acknowledge emerging trends in ergonomic console furniture. Well-designed workstations provide...
The large cell phone and computer manufacturers are increasingly launching smartphones and other mobile devices that are rugged, or rather "ruggedish." Handheld's founder and CEO Jerker Hellstrom takes a look at the reasons for this trend and where it might leave the traditional rugged computer makers. He also explains what rugged really means for public safety users.
In the years following 9/11, several TV dramas have popularized the notion that there are a lot of high-tech developments, not to mention relaxation of due process, prevalent today in the pursuit of criminal suspects. It's hard to watch all these shows portraying modern law enforcement techniques and separate fantasy from fact.
Since Shanksville is located in a very rural area, the Pennsylvania State Police were in charge of the crash scene, although numerous other agencies would follow to conduct the investigation and necessary follow-up tasks.
There will never be a solution to religious feuding. It is in the makeup of the human psyche. It wouldn’t happen at all if the unknown was known. All of this so far sounds philosophical, something first year students of religion might discuss in college. What much does religion have to do with nations and world affairs? Everything. What does the unknown have to do with religion? Everything.
While thousands of US Coast Guard members remain ready to protect freedom on our nation's waterways, a handful have provided difficult and emotional support tasks in the midst of Ground Zero - what remains of the World Trade Center complex.
The Puget Sound Washington US&R Task Force encountered several communication difficulties during our deployment to the World Trade Center incident. We were deployed at the site from September 19th-29th and spent most of the assignment working in the Church Street Sector or East Branch area of responsibility between WTC Buildings 4 and 5.
Technology isn't the only answer to interoperability. The Department of Homeland Security is trying to get people to understand there is a "continuum of interoperability" that includes operations and exercises beyond the technology. The Incident Command System (ICS) has been at the center of many of these activities and has shown its ability to manage communications at large scale and well-integrated incidents.
You don't have to look too far to see how technology has changed the way we go about our day. From checking our email on our smartphones first thing in the morning to using GPS when we get in our cars, technology keeps changing and it keeps adjusting to the needs of the people who use it. These solutions have grown out of a problem that people need to have solved, whether it's a way to receive messages in a more timely manner or to find accurate directions. Both of these technological...
As the last ten years have seen huge advancements in the communication technologies we use in our everyday connected lifestyles with smart phones, tablet PCs, netbooks, and the like, there has also been a paradigm shift in how we gather, consume and disseminate information. No longer must we rely on the media for telling us what is happening around the world, but we now can plug directly into news channels via social media outlets, situational awareness alerting services, blogs, etc. to...
Verint Systems Introduces Forecasting and Scheduling Capabilities to Its Impact 360 for Public Safety Solution
Verint Systems Inc. has announced the availability of new forecasting and scheduling functionality to its Impact 360 for Public Safety Powered by Audiolog solution. The workforce optimization software is designed for today's public safety answering points (PSAPs), command and control, and emergency communications centers.
High-tech digital equipment doesn't need to be used by just law enforcement officials to be an effective piece of evidence. And, truth be told, the equipment doesn't even need to be that high-tech. That is why camera phones have become such an important part of incident investigations nationally. From the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech University in April 2007 to a common hit-and-run accident, getting visual evidence may no longer be difficult and time-consuming with the prevalence of...
On Sunday, October 21, 2007 the first of many wildfires began burning out of control in the Portero area of San Diego County. Fueled by high off shore winds, multiple fires were tracked and managed over the course of 10 days.
From a homeland security standpoint, office, storage, and manufacturing buildings are not typically the subject of a man-made disaster, such as a terrorist attack.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police Mark First Year of Live Operation with Integrated Public Safety Software System from CODY Systems
CODY Systems, an industry leader in integrated software solutions for real-time collection, analysis and sharing of critical data for public safety, law enforcement, regulatory enforcement and intelligence agencies, reported that as of Oct. 15, 2010, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police (WDFW) has marked its first year of live operation with a full implementation of CODY's integrated software suite, including Desktop Records Management and Mobile Records Management and Field...
We all know that 9-1-1 is something that all kids, like us, should know about. But are the kids really interested? How can we help them become interested? Do they know everything they really should? What do they want to know? What's the best way for them to learn? This interview, taken from a fifth-grader's point of view, should answer those questions.
As April rolls around again, we spend time educating the public about 9-1-1 and honoring our brightest and best employees. But, it seems to me that one thing we rarely do is sit back and take a long hard look at what it is that we really do, because absent of the speeches, proclamations, and news clips lies this measure. And what we really do is pretty darn good.
For multiple reasons, a wide variety of changes are coming to 9-1-1. When the dust settles, the outstanding service our first responders provide today will be enhanced. Citizens will be able to reach help in a number of new ways, the communications infrastructure will be even more reliable and predictable, and existing infrastructure we have come to rely upon will be enhanced to take us through the next 35 years.
The tools of the 21st Century telecommunicator are as diverse as the duties he or she performs. Chances are good that some form of Computer Aided Dispatch graces the work space; however the size of the community served plays a major role in whether or not automation is used. According to a 1999 survey performed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 100% of municipalities serving 250,000 or more residents were computerized, while only 18% of towns with less than 2,500 people had gone digital.
On October 2, 2007, gale-force Santa Ana winds whipped up wildland fires throughout Southern California, charring 517,267 acres; destroying 2,233 homes, five businesses, and 966 outbuildings; killing 10 people and injuring another 139; and launching the largest evacuation in California history, according to the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES).
Are there great ideas to increase the pool of qualified or experienced candidates for 9-1-1 Jobs? YES! Have you thought about working with your local college?
Obviously, back in the pioneering days of telephony, technology was a lot simpler than it is today. Complexity grows over time. Man had walked in space before we handled our first true 9-1-1 call, and Automatic Number Identification (ANI) and Automatic Location Identification (ALI) came along after that. One can argue that 9-1-1 never got any better since then.
Now linked from our home page: a White Paper from Locus Diagnostics, the only system that can diagnose the health of a radio, over-the-air in real time, 24/7. The paper provides an overview of DiagnostX technology and its innovative approach to Over the Air Bench Testing resulting in early detection of potential mobile and portable radio transmission problems, narrowband performance verification and diagnostics in trunked and conventional radio networks.
Why can't public safety just use cell phones and smart phones for their mission critical voice communications? Unfortunately it's not that simple. Although public safety regularly use cell phones, smart phones, and other commercial wireless devices and services as a secondary form of communications, these devices and systems are currently not sufficiently suited for public safety mission critical voice communications during critical incidents.
Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) has drawn the attention of law enforcement across the nation because of its ability to capture, categorize and catalog important data for analysis of specific patterns of criminal activity as it occurs and during its planning stages. Determining when non-suspect activity becomes suspect activity can be difficult to ascertain, however. For example, tourists in big cities take photos of infrastructure - buildings, roads, tunnels and bridges. They're not...
On January 31, 2011 a dwelling fire was dispatched in Palmyra NJ at 519 Cinnaminson Ave. Initial reports were received of occupants trapped inside the dwelling. Companies arrived with heavy smoke and fire conditions from the multiple family dwelling.
Malibu resident Kurt Kamm has used his access to Los Angeles County and LA City firefighters and his experience in several devastating local wildfires to write his novels.9-1-1 Magazine recently spoke to Kurt Kamm about how his experiences have flavored his books and how writing from a public safety viewpoint has given them a unique edge.