One challenge of consolidating a public safety communications center is finding middle ground between operational diversity and a uniform approach, says Guillermo Fuentes of Fitch and Associates. Create a mutually acceptable dispute resolution mechanism, and agree on how funding and governance issues will be managed, he writes.
A county judge in Fort Bend County, Texas, has said he plans to review procedures governing emergency dispatch in the county following disagreements that arose when Sheriff Troy Nehls issued a directive at the beginning of the year that stated sheriff's deputies should respond to all emergencies, even if a constable was able to reach the site more rapidly. Some residents have complained the change results in delays, one precinct constable has said there are political motives at play and a precinct commissioner has suggested separating dispatch duties from the sheriff's oversight.
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Public safety agencies that have already implemented Next-Generation 9-1-1 technology or are in the process of doing so are improving safety by making it easier for first responders to find callers, writes former Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian Fenty, who is also on the RapidSOS advisory board. Fenty, who commends the regional public safety authorities that have worked to provide support for better caller location estimates, says he anticipates more progress nationwide.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is installing fiber optic cable along 17 miles of Highway 24 in a project anticipated to cost $2.5 million. The state plans to use the embedded cable to assist emergency vehicle communication technologies, improve the ability to communicate with drivers via highway signage as well as for several other purposes.
RapidDeploy, a computer-aided dispatch startup that recently relocated from South Africa to the US, has raised $12 million in an initial funding round. The company also appointed former Oracle President and Chief Operating Officer Ray Lane to its board of directors.
Thousands of people worldwide die in disasters every year, but the number has been ratcheting downward and is expected to continue falling due to the use of various technologies for rescue and relief. Drones scout disaster scenes and help rescuers size up the situation, while artificial intelligence combs through social media and identifies the most likely spots help is needed.