John Oliver took a humorous approach to the serious issue of outdated technology used at many 9-1-1 call centers, which can affect emergency responses. He dedicated part of his satirical HBO show, "Last Week Tonight," to 9-1-1, including problems with locating callers who use cellphones and problems in getting funding for new technologies.
Public safety officials in Clark County, Nev., debuted new public service announcements to help educate people about appropriate 9-1-1 use, urging the public not to call 9-1-1 for non-emergency events. Some of the PSAs were created by students in the 9-1-1 program at the Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy.
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The proposed National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act, expected to cost $3 million per year through 2021 to boost cybersecurity at local and state levels, would not cut into government spending or revenues, the Congressional Budget Office says. The bill would give communities access to the "nation's best cyberexperts as they ensure local first responders are equipped to defend against and respond to cyberattacks," said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed a law setting statewide rules on drones and blocking local governments from setting their own regulations. The measure prohibits interference with police and fire activity and restricts photography of certain locations.
Experts say first responders cannot wait until next-generation 9-1-1 technologies or FirstNet are fully developed to get new apps and other communications improvements. The panel noted that public safety agencies use many different systems, which can make it difficult to design apps with nationwide appeal, but said systems need to be able to work together.
A Harvard University study found that by wearing a flexible exosuit, first responders carrying heavy gear may be able to reduce the energy they expend walking. The suit also reduces the amount of work done by the hips, knees and ankle joints, researchers said.