The transition to Next Gen 9-1-1 is happening all around us. And while many states have begun the upgrade process, we’ve found many PSAPs continue to struggle with the steps to transition to NG9-1-1.
While you can leave the technology implementation to us, let’s look at the general, non technical, steps your PSAP can and will do within the process to support the transition.
Plan The Course to Next Generation 9-1-1
- Meet with your state’s 9-1-1 advisory board, talk to other states and PSAPs who have made the transition to NG9-1-1. Learn from their upgrade process and share your plans. Use your network and associations you are affiliated with to gain relevant information on what has worked and what hasn’t.
- Complete a readiness assessment, especially for your internal network and your call handling software, as these are not always ready for the i3 standards. Understanding your technical landscape will help set a clear path forward and predict future compatibility or interoperability roadblocks. As technology advances and new standards arise, knowing if your system can keep up will be key.
- Once you are ready, begin the creation of an RFP (request for proposal) to procure a Next Generation 9-1-1 vendor to spearhead the upgrade. Consider hiring an outside consultant who has prepared RFP for entities who have already made the transition to Next Gen 9-1-1 so you’re sure not to miss an important section of requirements.
Test The System and Prepare
- Serving 330 million Americans, the 9-1-1 system has to function at top performance at all times. When all technologies are in place and the Next Generation 9-1-1 system is ready to go live, set up a testing environment. Test alternative routing. Test that calls made on a legacy system can be transferred to a PSAP with a Next Gen 9-1-1 network, and back. Test everything.
- Prioritize training for dispatchers and over communicate any changes that will happen during deployment. Any new step, task, or method should require mandatory training. As a Next Generation 9-1-1 vendor, we want call takers to focus all their efforts on saving lives, not troubleshooting tech issues so we try to make systems and interfaces as intuitive as possible, but training on any new system or method is crucial for efficiency.
- Map out your cut overs. When is the ESInet going up? How long are you going to keep running the legacy system? When will you shut down selective routers?
- Consider an outside security audit in your RFP. When the system is up and running, hire an outside vendor to review promised security measures and point out any vulnerabilities.
Implement Your Next Gen 9-1-1 Plan and Listen
- Follow the implementation plan and communicate exactly what will happen to everyone involved. Whether you are starting with a pilot program, updating only call handling or location services, it’s time for implementation.
- A new system can be scary to a dispatcher especially to the majority that do not know exactly what Next Generation 9-1-1 is and how it works. Even the slightest change could cause confusion and disarray. Hold open forums for questions and listen to their feedback so you can provide the support they need.
- Gather data on your new system’s functionality. How much quicker are dispatchers getting information? How many minutes earlier are your first responders arriving? What incidents were directly prevented by the upgraded system? Use this data for reporting and to educate others about NG9-1-1 and the benefits it could make to their community.
Creating the Future of Next Gen 9-1-1
The end goal is for all PSAPs in the United States to be connected and serve every community as best as they can. Information will flow faster, data will be more actionable, systems will be smarter and more lives will be saved.
Your transition to NG9-1-1 could be creating the template for the next PSAP or state to follow. So create your plan, test, implement, optimize and repeat until we are all connected.
To understand more about Next Generation 9-1-1 solutions and how Synergem can walk you through this entire process, contact us.