MCP Insights

Stop Thinking About 'Staffing 911.' Start Thinking About Workforce Optimization.

Posted by Bonnie Maney on Sep 18, 2018 3:30:00 PM

It has never been more challenging to be a PSAP official.

Longer-term considerations include implementing Next Generation 911 (NG911) technology and integrating the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN)—being built under the auspices of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)—into the 911 center’s operations. These are no small tasks.

The one short-term topic that is on everyone’s mind is staffing. It is not something merely to consider—it is the thing under the bed, the thing that keeps you awake—night after night after night. Right now, the 911 community is dealing with an acute 911 staffing shortage. In many cases PSAPs are struggling to keep up with the volume of emergency calls they receive, Obviously, this is placing lives at greater risk, which is a very big problem.

Read More

Topics: Staffing, Operations

Trends in Computer Aided Dispatch Systems for 911 Centers

Posted by Bob Scott on Aug 30, 2018 2:00:00 PM

In emergency communications, the computer-aided dispatch system, or CAD, functions as the informational hub of the public safety answering point (PSAP). As technology continues to impact everything we do as consumers – from purchasing of goods, to our communications with friends, to navigating us from point A to point B – public safety must modernize its systems to meet communities’ demands for faster and improved emergency response.

Over the years, driven by advancements in consumer technology, CAD systems have undergone their own evolution. For many years, CAD systems were specific to a single agency. Today, CAD systems have evolved into multi-agency, unified platforms that enable greater flexibility and facilitate information sharing, not just between the PSAP and field personnel, but also between departments and neighboring jurisdictions.

Read More

Topics: Operations, Public Safety Technology, Technology Procurement and Integration

How to Protect Your Siren System from Hackers

Posted by Brian Malinich on Aug 13, 2018 9:30:20 AM

Emergency siren systems respond in various ways based on the type of activation tone that is transmitted. The tones correspond to the type of event that has occurred. Sometimes they will sound in a continuous burst for a predetermined length of time, other times they will sound in a series of short bursts, and for the most severe events they might emit prerecorded audio that contains critical instructions, for instance evacuation orders in the event of a wildfire.

In April 2017, someone hacked into the emergency weather siren system operated by the city of Dallas. The sirens are intended to warn citizens of weather events so serious that they should take immediate cover. Most of the time the sirens are used to warn of tornadoes, which are quite common in the region in the spring. On this night, the hacker reportedly unleashed all 156 sirens in the system simultaneously. Some media reports indicated that they blared for about 90 minutes, while others indicated that they sounded more than a dozen times for 90-second intervals. Regardless, the hack spawned quite a bit of panic. It also generated a lot of questions from government officials, the media and citizens.

Last month, sirens went off in Genesee County, Michigan, without any emergency to justify turning them on. Reportedly, this was the third time the sirens were activated in a month without apparent cause, and county public safety officials believe that the system was hacked each time.

Read More

Topics: Operations, Public Safety Technology

Integrating IPAWS Into Your Operations

Posted by Gordon Vanauken on Jul 11, 2018 1:30:00 PM

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is a powerful federal resource that can be used by state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities to protect the public. As with any powerful tool, IPAWS is a multiplier when used properly. However, we all have heard stories concerning improper use of IPAWS that resulted in embarrassment for public safety officials and unease within the community. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps you can take to keep this from happening to your agency.

Read More

Topics: Operations

What is IPAWS?

Posted by Gordon Vanauken on Jul 6, 2018 2:00:00 PM

The ability to broadcast emergency alerts to the public has been in place in one form or another for nearly seven decades. In August 1951, the Control of Electronic Radiation (CONELRAD) system was launched; it leveraged AM radio frequencies to send out alerts. A dozen years later the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), which utilized television frequencies, was born; its original purpose was to enable the president to speak directly to the American public in times of crisis, such as the “who is going to blink first?” nuclear showdown between the United States and the Soviet Union that occurred a year earlier.

Read More

Topics: Operations

Evolving the public safety industry

MCP Insights by Mission Critical Partners is the online destination for public safety leaders to expand their knowledge, stay abreast of trends, and discover innovative ideas to help implement change that will advance the industry... Because the mission matters.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts