Better 911 systems through standard data

Better 911 systems through standardized data

Given the growing variety of 911 data, the U.S. Department of Transportation wants to improve local and state public safety operations with a unified data system.

DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a request for information for comments on a “nationally uniform 911 data system” with standard data elements for all computer-aided dispatch (CAD) data, operational 911 system data and the Extensible Markup Language schema used to store and transport the data.

According to the RFI, this standardization would help with the collection, standardization and analysis of local and state public safety answering points' (PSAP) 911 call data. Such a system could also enable the sharing of administrative, operational, cost and CAD data transmitted during 911 calls.

The system would be made available to all PSAPs as well as state and local 911 authorities. It could be used to deliver essential information for strategic planning, decision making and improvements to 911 systems and operations. Private sector companies could also use this data to build support services for local and state 911 agencies.

The Federal Communication Commission originally identified the need for such a system to ease the migration towards Next Generation 911. An IP-based system, NG911 allows the public to send and share photos, videos and text messages to the emergency responders through a 911 network.

Though the technology for NG911 is currently available, implementing the program will require the deployment of evolving hardware, software, policies, protocols and training. A unified 911 data system was suggested as a way to ease that transition.

Systems similar to the one described by NHTSA do exist -- the National Fire Operations Reporting System and the National EMS Information System, for example. The content and processes used for these systems could be adapted for a similar 911 data system, the RFI said.

The NHTSA is seeking feedback from CAD vendors and interface developers, PSAP managers, state and local 911 authorities and agencies, academia and public interest groups.

Comments are due Sept. 28, 2016.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a Reporter/Producer for GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media, Ziadeh was a contributing journalist for USA Today Travel's Experience Food and Wine site. She's also held a communications assistant position with the University of Maryland Office of the Comptroller, and has reported for the American Journalism Review, Capitol File Magazine and DC Magazine.

Ziadeh is a graduate of the University of Maryland where her emphasis was multimedia journalism and French studies.

Click here for previous articles by Ms. Ziadeh or connect with her on Twitter: @aziadeh610.


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