This digital location tech could help emergency crews find you in the wilderness

Broke your ankle somewhere in Manitoba’s vast wilderness? Crashed your car on the highway somewhere outside Toronto? With location technology startup What3words, Canadians now have a new way to tell emergency responders exactly where they are — even if they don’t know themselves. And some emergency services in Los Angeles and Arizona have embraced the technology, too.

What3words’ approach is emblematic of just how profoundly smartphones can change our lives. Latitude-longitude coordinates have been around for centuries, but they’re difficult to use, even with GPS satellites whizzing by overhead to pinpoint location…

Oglala Sioux Tribe using FirstNet to integrate technology, increase officer safety

Oglala Sioux Tribe using FirstNet to integrate technology, increase officer safety

by Tawny Zimiga, IT Director – Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety

Prior to going to FirstNet, we had no reliable way to communicate. We looked into different options – a lot were expensive and unattainable for our agency.

So we started looking into wireless options as well as wired. And that’s when I read about FirstNet in its beginning stages. I knew all the states had opted in – including South Dakota. And that prompted me to look into it further to see if we were eligible – which we were. Once I researched it and saw the benefits, I presented it to the chief and he was excited about it. READ MORE

Support Needed: Dispatchers’ trauma moments deserve attention (CA)

Imagine yourself as a law-enforcement dispatcher. The hours are long, and don’t expect a nine-to-five schedule. The stress is high. Your every action on the radio and phone is scrutinized. Maybe you save a life, and if you cannot through no fault of your own, there’s still the “what-if-I’d-only” thoughts that will never quite quit drifting around in your mind.

The job isn’t the best paying, either, but then dispatchers don’t really see the work as a job. To them, their efforts are a high calling… READ MORE

Public Safety Advocate: FCC’s New Approach, FirstNet’s Future

Public Safety Advocate: FCC’s New Approach, FirstNet’s Future

This week’s Advocate opens with a discussion of a recent article in Urgent Communications based on statements made by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau. “FCC officials are taking a new approach to public-safety spectrum policy, abandoning exclusive-use airwaves in favor of multi-purpose broadband frequencies that can be leveraged to support wireless communications for both first responders and the general public, according to an FCC official.” 

Next we will look toward the future of public-safety communications as I believe they will evolve from today to where it might be later in the 25-year FirstNet contract for network build-out and management services…

Stress Continues to Plague Telecommunicators

Stress Continues to Plague Telecommunicators

Studies show that ECC telecommunicators are faced with higher levels of stress than ever with insufficient resources to handle them.

In the course of your responsibilities as a 9-1-1 call taker or emergency dispatcher, have you ever experienced physical or emotional effects such as a fast heart rate, clammy palms, thinking about calls after work, trouble sleeping, or avoiding calls or friends?

Emergency responders finding SMS is a whole lot more than text messages (Australia)

With lockdowns beginning to ease, government agencies are taking a hard look at their emergency management and alert systems and finding that there’s a lot more more power in Short Message Service than meets the eye.

Text messaging may appear to be one of the least glamorous functions of a cell phone, but it’s potentially the most powerful, according to Michael Hallowes, managing director of Zefonar Advisory Group and the former National Director of Australia’s Emergency Alert Program…