If your career is INSIDE the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), one question might be “How will NG9-1-1 help us do our job?”
In speaking with Telecommunicators (those dedicated individuals that answer your 9-1-1 call), many identify the following to be important:
Reduce the number of transfers– in other words, have the network route wireless 9-1-1 calls to the correct PSAP the first time, eliminating the need for 9-1-1 Call Takers to transfer the call elsewhere. note:I’ve listened to a lot of 9-1-1 calls, it can literally freak people out to tell them that you cannot help them, that they are located in another jurisdiction and you will need to transfer the call. Recently, a mother whose child needed assistance called 9-1-1 and was told that her call needed to be transferred. She became extremely upset. Later, she went to a local TV station to complain. Dan Koenig, from my team, and I were interviewed for a segment to explain how the current system works.
Today most wireless 9-1-1 calls are routed, not by the callers location, but by which cell tower and cell tower face (sector) their mobile phone is connected to..
In the example below, the 9-1-1 caller is connected to a cell tower and sector that is ‘programmed’ to sendall 9-1-1 calls to Municipality A. This is simply a limitation of how the traditional 9-1-1 network functions today.
PSAP A will receive this 9-1-1 call. Once they determine the 9-1-1 callers location, they will transfer the call to PSAP B.
With Geospatial Routing, the location of the caller is determined first. This information is then passed on to the GIS mapping function, which should then route the caller to the correct PSAP. In the picture above, the NextGen system should route the 9-1-1 caller directly to PSAP B.
Update: Admiral David Simpson of the FCC (Bio Here) posted a comment on this blog, mentioning that there are numerous occasions, throughout the country, where the mapping capabilities of (in this scenario) PSAP A would not provide the location of the 9-1-1 caller, so the Call Taker would not know where to transfer the call to provide assistance.
It is important to note that the above example addresses only a single aspect, routing the call to the correct PSAP. Next post, we will look at the Holy Grail of identifying the exact dispatchable address of the 9-1-1 caller…