The FCC is investigating an AT&T wireless outage last week in at least 10 states that affected 9-1-1 calls. NENA said the outage highlights the need to implement next-generation 9-1-1 technology, which "can intelligently route around outages, redirect calls to other regions, or use backup facilities in ways that legacy E9-1-1 systems cannot."
The Emergency Management Agency in Hall County, Ga., is spending $13 million to renovate and upgrade its 9-1-1 center, with more than $9 million going to a new radio system that doubled capacity. City and county agencies are on the same radio system, and the new technology allows for reliable communications among them and with neighboring counties.
Ernest Cook III, director of the 9-1-1 center in Trumbull County, Ohio, said while he tries to balance police investigation and public interests in releasing 9-1-1 call records, in the end state law requiring full disclosure of all recorded calls is the bottom line. Cook said failure to release the records can lead to the spread of fake news on social media.
The Texas Senate has approved five bills affecting first responders and their families, including one to give financial help to families of officers killed in the line of duty. Another bill would create a $25 million grant program to help departments provide better bulletproof vests.
Superior, Wis., firefighters are training to use new extrication equipment that is more compact and lightweight than current gear. The new equipment can get into newer vehicles built with hybrid, high-strength material, and firefighters fine-tuned their skills by trying to pick up eggs without breaking them.
Branson, Mo., Police Chief Stan Dobbins said camera-equipped drones can help first responders in search and rescue missions and provide crime scene videos. He added that drones can be cost effective, as operating one drone for an hour costs $2.50, compared with $600 per hour for a helicopter.