Deltek salutes national telecommunicators
Published: April 15, 2013
Every April, National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week celebrates the work that telecommunicators engage in every day to keep their communities safe. These individuals are often the first line of defense in the face of tragedy and work to keep everyone calm on what may be the worst day of their lives. When a call comes in to 911, they are the ones charged with gathering salient information, determining which agencies are best to respond, and dispatching first responders.
Public safety telecommunicators also provide key instructions for individuals calling in with an emergency, whether instructing them where to hide during a home invasion or how to give CPR and clear an airway.
Telecommunicators rely not only on their extensive training and people skills, but also a complex network of technologies to ensure the appropriate help arrives at the correct emergency location as quickly as possible. In the past year, communities nationwide have recognized the importance of these essential technologies and have sought to upgrade or replace antiquated systems.
In the past year, several solicitations were released for the following technologies:
- 911 (Enhanced and Next Generation): 24
- Records Management Systems (RMS): 19
- Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD): 13
- Automatic Vehicle Location Systems (AVL): 7
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS): 6
Many public safety priorities for 2012 and 2013 emphasize increasing utilization of these systems and improving first-response efforts, which rely heavily on cooperation of neighboring jurisdictions or agencies in the event of an emergency. Increased interoperability coupled with the ability to receive information in real time has greatly enhanced overall telecommunications.
While most state and local governments manage their own dispatch centers, there is likely to be a continued focus on consolidation and partnerships between agencies to curb costs and improve efficiency. Dispatch equipment such as CAD, RMS, GIS mapping and AVL technology are typically procured through a formal solicitation process. Usually, CAD and RMS equipment are procured together, but as most of these technologies require integration, agencies may choose to procure all equipment within a technology suite. This helps agencies save time and money and allows for simultaneous upgrade and implementation processes.
The upgrade or enhancement of 911 systems to next generation has been on the radar of many governments over the past few years due to many systems becoming obsolete. Next generation 911 advancements have put pressure on agencies to incorporate new capabilities into 911 systems, such as the ability to receive text-to-911, video streaming and picture messaging. Most 911 projects are implemented through a formal procurement process, and some agencies even prefer to utilize an RFI or hire a consultant prior to formal implementation. Despite tight budgets, agencies will likely continue to put forth the effort to ensure the most efficient and advanced dispatching technologies are purchased because, like dispatchers, these systems are central to the mission of public safety agencies.
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