Emergency Notification Service: Enabling First Responders to be More Efficient and Effective There can be no denying that communications plays a critical role when emergencies occur. This is true not just for responding to the needs of impacted average citizens. They are also top of mind with enterprise IT people in regards to business continuity, the speed of disaster recovery and the well-being of critical infrastructure and most importantly the safety of employees.
Indeed, being fully prepared with the proper tools to respond appropriately to any emergency situation is a priority of IT departments. It goes to the core of one of their chief functions of risk management and mitigation. In fact, assuring a solid communications infrastructure is in place for enterprises to properly interact with public safety agencies and vice versa means architecting networks to assure they can correctly route emergency traffic to where it is needed at the time it is needed.
A recent Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) white paper, Emergency Notification Service, explored the importance of the notification aspects of emergency preparedness and lessons learned from understanding activities that flow from E-911calls. As highlighted in the white paper, emergency call management includes the ability to reach the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) with the correct location identification of the caller so that fire, police, HAZMAT or EMT services can respond quickly and accurately. It requires an emergency notification service that is purpose-built to meet the needs of public safety agencies.
In the developed world most countries are fortunate to have public safety agencies staffed with well trained and responsive personnel. The challenge these agencies have is in responding effectively when next generation emergency call management is lacking and information cannot be shared in a timely or secure manner. The impacts can be broadly felt since the lack of critical information can hamper decision-making abilities as a responding agency spends valuable time trying to determine the location of the individual or staying connected than actually addressing the emergency. They need the information not just in a timely manner but it must be accurate.
The value of more rapid response, PRICELESS!
The value of an emergency call management system also can be understood in its ability to enable public safety personnel to collaborate when necessary and to evaluate conditions and locations with the analysis of real-time information gathered from multiple sources, i.e., greatly improve responsiveness based on real-time situational awareness.
From both strategic and tactical standpoints information provided public safety agencies should include not only emergency call details, but also images, video streams, weather sensors and even biometrics. This is a case where there can never be enough information for accelerating the ability of responders to do their job effectively and efficiently, particularly since every moment counts.
A schematic of what Alcatel-Lucent’s emergency notification service for public safety solution looks like is instructive.
There are a lot of moving parts. All need to be optimized.
What the schematic shows are next-generation communications capabilities that have been optimized for emergency call management. It is a standards-based solution that facilitates much-needed collaboration for emergency response services. It also highlights the extensibility of the capabilities since data from a next-generation E-911 application can be delivered across an entire city, while a variety of authorized personnel can have access to applications in real-time.
Alcatel-Lucent’s dynamic communications infrastructure integrates real-time data, voice and video communications in any necessary combination to accommodate the needs of the operation and device in use by a responder. As ALU points out, this approach enables enhanced situational awareness, the creation of a connected community, and optimized operations.
A critical component of the solution is ALU’s lightRadio technology, a key part of evolving LTE (News - Alert) deployments in the public and private sectors. For example, in the FirstNet nationwide Public Safety LTE network overlaying existing P25 networks, the solution operates in the dedicated 700 MHz band. As a result, new multimedia applications are available to first responders with the application of real-time connectivity and integration with command and control centers. First responders can then leverage the mission-critical voice solutions provided by existing systems.
As communications systems and devices become more complex and all users become more mobile, it’s critical that communities and the enterprise of all sizes they server take a closer look at their approach to emergency call management. On the enterprise size this can mean looking at upgrading their unified communications (UC) environments to effectuate better real-time communications connectivity that can then be used in case of an emergency. For the public safety agencies it means having an emergency notification solution that enables the fastest and most effective response capabilities.
In a business where every second counts, PRICELESS really is the only value that can be placed on improving the speed and quality of emergency response communications solutions.
Edited by Peter Bernstein