The National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) selected Mission Critical Partners (MCP) to facilitate a series of regional workshops for 911 directors designed to enhance interoperability between next generation 911 (NG911) systems, public safety broadband communications networks, and other vital communications networks and systems, including traditional land mobile radio and computer-aided dispatch systems.
Interoperability between all communications networks and systems within the public safety environment is necessary to fulfill the vision for the future of emergency response communications. Capabilities involve establishing bidirectional voice and data communications between telecommunicators at emergency communications centers (ECCs) — commonly known as public safety answering points, or PSAPs — and police, fire/rescue, and emergency medical personnel including incident commanders and those working in the field. The workshops will explore technology, governance, and funding factors that public safety must address to achieve interoperability.
“Everyone in the public safety community must understand that we no longer can build networks and systems in a vacuum,” said Kelli Merriweather, NASNA president and executive director of the Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC). “A holistic approach will ensure that all of the networks and systems that public safety agencies and personnel use every day are capable of being well-integrated and interoperable and can support each other. These workshops will answer a vital question — how do we move forward together?”
Achieving a holistic approach is made more challenging by the wide disparity of resources and capabilities that exist from state to state pertaining to governance, policymaking, funding, and technology implementation, according to Harriett Rennie-Brown, NASNA executive director.
“For example, some states have state-level interoperability coordination, but many states do not,” Rennie-Brown said. “These workshops will offer strategies and tactics for overcoming those challenges.”
NASNA will offer each state the opportunity to attend one regional workshop. The invitation will be open to the state 911 director, the statewide interoperability coordinator (SWIC), a governor’s office representative or another key state-level policy representative, and the designated emergency alerts/warnings coordinator.
Mission Critical Partners currently supports NASNA-member agencies in a dozen states, facilitating key stakeholder events, coordinating state-to-state and region-to-region interoperability testing of NG911 systems and text-to-911 solutions, and developing best practices documentation. The firm also has supported the National 911 Program since 2014, facilitating significant initiatives such as the Next Generation 911 Cost Study Report to Congress, Recommended Minimum Training Guidelines for Telecommunicators, and the Model State 911 Plan.
“We’re thrilled to receive the opportunity to support NASNA on this important initiative, which will expand and enhance our engagement with state-level 911 administrators across the country. This engagement, and others that we have most recently secured, will uniquely enable us to outline for our clients how best to optimize the impact of multimedia data and interoperability tied to emergency services,” said Darrin Reilly, MCP president and chief executive officer.
NASNA and Mission Critical Partners will provide more information regarding the workshops schedule and invitations to participate will be provided at a later date.