April is 9-1-1 Month; this is the last blog in a series sharing the origin of 9-1-1 and highlighting the men and women in emergency response, from 9-1-1 call takers, dispatchers to the first responders, communications’ directors and the people who help manage the complex systems to keep things moving day to day. Your kids think they can text to 9-1-1. Well, maybe not your kids but my teenage niece sure did. If you have been following along in this series you may remember how I told you I was talking to my daughter about the origin of 9-1-1. It seems that finding out about the beginnings of something always has me wondering what’s next and what the future holds for 9-1-1. In the midst of a recent conversation with my daughter about the various activities that took place during 9-1-1 month my visiting teenage niece interrupted us by saying, “let’s be real, I’d just text 9-1-1 because it’s easier.” I looked at her, not surprised, but more so curious, wondering why she assumed she could just text 9-1-1.Then I realized nowadays, with the amount of time she’s on her phone texting with her friends every day, she probably just assumed she could text anywhere, at any time. In fact, 78% of all teenagers have a cell phone and use it as their primary source of communication. A recent text-to-9-1-1 adopter, Kirk Stropes of Kershaw County, told us he had noticed the same thing about kids in his district. Of course, my niece knows the basics – Dial 9-1-1 if it is an emergency. It has been drilled into her by her parents and teachers since she was in pre-school. But I asked her, “What do you know about texting to 9-1-1”? She said, “I know what text is, and I know about 9-1-1 is so I just figured I could text for help… but never heard the actual expression text to 9-1-1 before. What in the world is that all about?” So I went on to explain how on May 15th 2014, the 4 major carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon made a commitment to support text to 9-1-1, particularly to aid those who are deaf, hard of hearing, have a speech disability or need to use text to communicate in an emergency situation. But less than 4% of counties nationwide have actually adopted it at this point.“That would be such an awesome idea, especially since I always have my phone on me,” she said, “So, instead of calling 9-1-1, I should always text 9-1-1 if I there is an emergency just like I thought, right?”“Well, not always.” I said.She was curious, “Well when should I use it then?” Great question, so I explained, “The number one reason to use text-to-9-1-1 would be in the event of an emergency where you can’t talk.“Remember when we saw the movie ‘The Call’ with Halle Berry? In the beginning an intruder comes into a girl’s house, looking to abduct her. She hid under the bed and called 9-1-1… but during the call the intruder comes into the room, hears the call, and is able to locate her. If her county had text-to-9-1-1 capabilities, she could have texted to avoid being heard.” While life isn’t always like the movies, I think this example helped my niece to understand the importance of text-to-9-1-1 in a context her generation was familiar with. But I also think ‘The Call’ shows a lot more than just the importance of text-to-9-1-1. In the movie, we see how stressful of a job dispatching truly is and why it’s important we recognize the 9-1-1 professionals who help keep us safe each and every month.As we close out 9-1-1 month, let’s not forget the importance of educating our children about 9-1-1, recognizing that it takes a team to raise a CAD, understand the roles within a dispatch center and say thank you for the hard work they do — and don’t forget the people who run that center and make sure it goes smoothly day-to-day.I’ve learned a lot this month and hope you have enjoyed this series - check back with us next month as we unveil a new interactive adoption map highlighting the areas of the country where text to 9-1-1 is available a year after the May 15, 2014 deadline. And don’t worry - if your kids were to text to 9-1-1 and the solution wasn't available in your county - they would receive a bounce back message letting them know that they need to call 9-1-1 instead.To meet the 9-1-1 needs of all generations from baby boomers to millennials, like my niece, we need to transform the way we respond - the next phase of 9-1-1 is here. Josie Slaughter is Senior Marketing Manager of Smart Public Safety Solutions for Motorola Solutions9-1-1 Month Blog Series:Three Issues on Every 9-1-1 Communications Director’s Mind – and Best Practices for Addressing ThemDispatcher, Investigator, Counselor, Friend: The Many Faces of a 9-1-1 Call Taker9-1-1, What’s Your Emergency: the Person Behind the Voice That’s There to Help When You Need It Most If It Takes a Village to Raise a Child, Then It Surely Takes a Team to Raise a 9-1-1 CAD System Why Was 9-1-1 Chosen as the Number to Call for Help? The Origin and Evolution of the Emergency Number to Call
The few, the brave....the road crew of a large Midwestern state Department of Transportation. You see, the men and women of this corp. are routinely engaged in the hazardous duty of pothole repair and road maintenance on miles of desolate country highway where the upper speed limit of passing cars and trucks is set by the driver's ability to stay on the road - or not.
Hand signals and flags are the common means of visual communication between road crew teams separated up to a mile from each other, where the nearest land mobile radio base station repeater site might be 15 to 25 miles away, rendering a 5W P25 portable radio useless. The hazard of crossing the road to respond on the high power P25 mobile radio in your truck is real, especially when trying to judge the speed of that 16 wheeler semi trailer off in the distance barreling down upon you.
The right solution can be the road crew’s lifeline and it’s as simple as a Wireless Remote Speaker Microphone (RSM). Plug ‘n Play is how easy it is to install. Simply plug in and twist the mobile microphone gateway radio connector, turn on your APX mobile, pair with your Wireless RSM, and you’re done. The Mobile Microphone Gateway can be removed and plugged into a different APX mobile in a different vehicle in seconds.
Imagine now a different world in which the road crew supervisor can clearly hear and respond to his partner a mile down the highway. Using a Wireless Remote Speaker Microphone connected to the high power APX mobile radio, he never returns to his truck to communicate.
A button configurable to emergency on the top of the Wireless Remote Speaker Microphone ensures that help is a press away. We design products to let people do their jobs simpler and safer.
Click here for more information.
Christina Ezell is Global Product Marketing Manager for Business Light Radios, Accessories at Motorola Solutions.
Public safety is transforming itself, again. Agencies are no longer content to simply react to incidents. They are becoming proactive, predictive and preventive. At the same time, they are being pressed to do this with tighter budgets and fewer resources.
Like a meteorologist forecasting the weather, public safety is harnessing the power of data to predict what can happen – and where – instead of responding to disasters retroactively. Data is so pivotal that almost 50 percent of agencies surveyed want access to data in the field and nearly 90 percent say it is as critical as voice.
The abundance of data from video, sensors and social media streaming into command centers is staggering. Not only is this information time-sensitive, but agencies must adapt it for the toughest environment – the “mid-incident.” This is the realm with the highest level of stress and least amount of time for first responders. They behave differently and operate instinctively in the heat of the moment as studies on high velocity human factors show.
Responding in the moment in the mid-incident
During this critical period, information must be instantaneous and communication devices so intuitive, they are second nature to use. Imagine you’re a firefighter blinded by smoke or an officer pursuing a carjacker and you’ll appreciate how important technology designed for this experience is.
Throughout the mid-incident, data has to be aggregated, prioritized and delivered to the right individual at the right time to enhance their situational awareness without overloading them. All while following the cardinal rule: never distract a first responder during their mission.
Turning information into actionable intelligence
Finally, there should be a contextual flow of information – what I call “visceral reassurance” for first responders. Not only do they need to know their devices and roles, but where their back-ups are and how quickly they will appear. Back at incident command, staff must know exactly where first responders are and what they’re doing – in a car chase, in a foot race or confronting a suspect – so they can decide whether to send more information.
Public safety agencies want to capture, analyze and share a wealth of mission critical intelligence using a convergence of public and private networks, too. From Land Mobile Radio (LMR) and 3G to 4G LTE and commercial carriers, the flow has to be cohesive and seamless.
Using technology in smarter ways to achieve better outcomes
Agencies are discovering a better way to connect everything together with smart public safety solutions. Now they can interconnect technologies to deliver information the right way, at the right time, for the right outcomes – across different personnel, roles and agencies.
When incidents do occur, first responders, intelligence operators and command staff have better, fresher, real-time information to change the trajectory of a moment while still in the moment. They can leverage the thousands of connections to avert crimes pre-incident, respond rapidly mid-incident, and solve crimes post-incident. It’s a smarter way to create safer cities with fewer dollars and greater efficiencies.
Thomas Quirke is Vice President of Global Marketing at Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Read Tom’s earlier blog Top 3 Trends Changing the Future of Public Safety.
April is 9-1-1 Month; this is the fifth blog in a series sharing the origin of 9-1-1 and highlighting the men and women in emergency response, from 9-1-1 call takers, dispatchers to the first responders and the people who help manage the complex systems to keep things moving day to day.Our last two blogs looked at the importance of Telecommunicators and the work they do every day. As someone who is new to the world of public safety, I was amazed and humbled to see how hard everyone within a dispatch center worked and how important their job was to ensure the safety and well-being of our community. But I also wanted to get a better understanding of the person responsible for managing these dispatch centers and ensuring they run smoothly. I talked with several current and former dispatch center supervisors and asked them ‘what are the issues that keep you up at night?” Not surprisingly, it all revolves around the dispatcher.1. STAFFING AND RETENTIONIf you read Matt Schreiner’s blog, you know it takes a special kind of person to serve the role of a dispatcher (if you haven’t, stop what you’re doing and read it now!). It isn’t easy to find a person who can handle both the vast amount of technical knowledge required and the extreme stress that call takers are often put through. One supervisor I talked with told me that out of a stack of 200 resumes he would receive, only one or two of those candidates would have the right set of skills to become a successful dispatcher. Hiring the right staff is difficult, but keeping the good ones might be even more so. Especially for smaller agencies, who often get their talent poached by larger dispatch centers who can afford to pay them more.Best Practice: Former Operations Manger and FoxComm Communications Director Karen Carlson told us not to underestimate the importance of good working conditions. Clean, modern environments help workers stay more positive about their 12 hour long shifts. Others mentioned the importance of supportive management and recognizing persons for their good work.2. EMPLOYEE CONTENTMENTA happy employee is a good employee. Every supervisor I talked to seemed to agree on that point. Most said that the key to preventing issues of retention and to ensuring a high functioning dispatch center is employee contentment. Workers who enjoy their jobs and feel like they are appreciated are much more likely to stick around for the long haul.Best Practice: It all depends on your staff and what they appreciate. But, in general, free food always helps. Last week, Bernalillo county communications director Tina Tomlin partnered up with local representatives from Motorola to throw an all-day appreciation event for her 24/7 dispatcher center employees. Our representatives served the dispatchers during each shift and awarded Bernalillo County with food, desserts, and appreciation mugs for each dispatcher to celebrate Telecommunicators appreciation week as well as showed a video from Motorola’s CEO Greg Brown. One dispatcher shared how special she felt and how great it was to be recognized and valued for all they do. Others like Kershaw County’s Kirk Stropes hold numerous appreciation events throughout the year giving out gift cards to local restaurant favorites or buying small gifts for employees as a token of appreciation for the hard work they do all year long.3. TRAININGRight in conjunction with those two issues is that of training. Because dispatching is such a demanding job, it requires a significant amount of training before workers are truly up to speed. And if a dispatch center experiences significant employee turnover the time and expenses of training can really add up. Best Practice: At the end of the day, there is no substitute for good, thorough training. You simply can’t skimp on teaching the life saving work that dispatchers do each day. Ultimately, the most you can do, says Director Stropes is “implement the right products, that are easy to use, configurable to your employees’ preferred workflows, and that minimize the steps involved in daily processes. Seemingly small things like this can make a big difference to minimize training in the long run.”Do you have any best practices for combating these issues? Are there any one’s we missed? If so, leave them in the comments below.Ross Venhuizen is the Global Marketing Specialist for Motorola’s Smart Public Safety Solutions. Connect with him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/rossvenhuizenRead more blogs by Ross here.9-1-1 Month Blog Series:Dispatcher, Investigator, Counselor, Friend: The Many Faces of a 9-1-1 Call Taker9-1-1, What’s Your Emergency: the Person Behind the Voice That’s There to Help When You Need It Most If It Takes a Village to Raise a Child, Then It Surely Takes a Team to Raise a 9-1-1 CAD System Why Was 9-1-1 Chosen as the Number to Call for Help? The Origin and Evolution of the Emergency Number to Call
Now that the winter season has finally ended...it’s time for baseball! The all-American sport! During Spring Training teams were strategizing on the best ways to win, gathering the right players and shoring up the fundamentals. Being from the Chicago area, I am cautiously optimistic that this year could be a good one for the Cubs. So when reflecting on what I think the Cubs’ management should do to win, I believe there are 5 key strategies:
IS MANAGING A MISSION-CRITICAL RADIO CORE LIKE MANAGING A BASEBALL TEAM?
The stakes are higher – keeping cities safe and businesses thriving by providing staff with the communication tools they need to get their job done – but there are many similarities. To ensure your radio system is ready to respond when you need it requires a systematic management approach of the core so the entire system operates at peak performance. Performing this in-house can be a complex and demanding undertaking – however, a Managed Services model can help to deliver:
Right group of players - Organizations face considerable challenges in managing and supporting mission-critical communications systems, requiring skills and expertise that aren't always readily available. In fact, 93% of organizations indicate there is an overall skills gap among their IT staff. Managed Services can help to augment your staff and bridge the gap between limited resources and the need for reliable communications.
Measurable goals - Your system must be always available – downtime is not an option. Establishing customer-specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) helps ensure high standards of service are continually delivered for core performance and availability.
Trust in the team – A Managed Services Provider can offer the flexibility to grow with your organization as new capabilities are added and act as trusted advisor, not just a technology expert. With the proper combination of mission-critical professionals, best practices and tools, you can be assured quality service delivery and an optimum user experience.
Best practices and processes - Deploying best practices in radio management, call processing and IT services is essential to optimize system performance. By applying deep system expertise with proven tools, processes and intellectual property, Managed Services can deliver enhanced system performance and improved productivity allowing you to remain focused on key day-to-day activities.
Performance assessment - While offloading the management of your core to mission-critical professionals, it is important to maintain a level of control and visibility of your network. This helps you ensure that SLAs are adhered to, costs are controlled and risks are effectively managed.
Motorola’s Managed Core Service helps you minimize the complexity of managing the ever-evolving ASTRO 25 core while helping you get the most out of your investment. With a proven track record in successfully operating some of the largest and most complex mission-critical communications systems in the world, Motorola has the expertise to take on responsibility for guaranteeing ASTRO 25 core performance.
You also receive access to MyView Portal, which provides a 24x7x365 real-time view to the health and operation of your network and the managed services you receive allowing you to maintain complete control and visibility anytime, anywhere.
So as you look to maximizing the availability of your ASTRO 25 system, know that you can trust the leader in mission-critical systems to manage your core. And as far as the baseball season, I am hopeful the Cubs will have a great year. With hard work and a whole lot of luck, maybe, just maybe they will finally be in first place!
Joe Pressing is Sr. Portfolio Manager for Managed Services at Motorola Solutions.
Download the Managed Core brochure for more information.
In the public service realm that I come from the idea of community engagement is not new by any stretch of the imagination. Many cities, for years, have embraced the concept of gathering input from residents on decisions such as building and park designs, tax referendums, and, with the proliferation of 3-1-1, non-emergency issues like potholes and illegally parked cars.
However, only recently has the public safety arena realized the benefits of a strong partnership between agencies and their citizens. With the decreasing community confidence in law enforcement agencies, we recognize that it’s more important than ever to empower citizens to solve problems of crime and urban decay. Our acquisition of Public Engines is an important step in enabling agencies to build that sort of partnership with their citizens, with two applications that expand Citizen Engagement Capabilities for Public Safety agencies.
CrimeReports – the #1 most popular online crime mapping solution, and
TipSoft – the industry’s most widely adopted anonymous crime tip submission and management platform.
Police departments using these applications have improved engagement within their communities by enabling citizens to:
These are proven capabilities to reduce crime, improve community engagement, advance information flow from the public, and help close cases faster. The Atlantic Beach, Florida Police Department gives a good perspective about using the applications -- because the citizens fund the department through their taxes, the department feels an obligation to keep the public informed on crime --- a true win-win solution connecting more effectively with the community. The Riverdale Park, Maryland Police Department provides a different perspective. Their community wasn’t actively asking for crime reports, but Chief Teresa Chambers saw the value of automating crime mapping to help the department. As a result, other jurisdictions also adopted the same applications providing expanded visibility of crime activity with the citizens benefitting from enhanced customer service to the community.
Tom Malanfant is a Product Manager for Motorola Solutions and a former 2-1-1/3-1-1 Call Center Manager for the City of Windsor, Ontario
Learn more about Public Engines from Motorola Solutions.