9-1-1 dispatchers for West Metro Fire Rescue in Lakewood, Colo., have been asking callers different questions to ascertain the coronavirus risk to first responders and determine how many to send. Firefighters and EMS personnel are also wearing personal protective equipment that varies based on the severity of a call.
Emergency agencies around the country are adapting evacuation and shelter protocols and distributing personal protective equipment to keep people safe from the coronavirus during hurricane season. Officials are also urging people to make emergency plans and to have enough supplies on hand.
Denver has fallen slightly below the national standard for answering 9-1-1 calls in a timely fashion so far in 2020. City 9-1-1 officials say they are struggling with staff vacancies and increasing call volume, but they urge callers to stay on the line and not hang up.
Most conflicts between customers who don't want to wear face masks and employees at businesses and restaurants can be handled without contacting police, according to safety experts. However, it's appropriate to call 9-1-1 when someone refuses to leave a business or when a confrontation shows signs of becoming violent.
Response2020: The Future of 9-1-1 RapidDeploy is bringing industry leaders and exciting guest speakers together virtually at Response2020 for a full week! Explore what the future holds for your PSAP the week of September 14th. Check out what we have on the agenda and register now.
Federal efforts to reclassify dispatchers into a protective service category have not succeeded, with the 911 SAVES Act stalling last year after initially being included in the National Defense Authorization Act. Texas passed a law to classify dispatchers as first responders last September, and several other states and counties have efforts underway. "Taking those first few baby steps from the lead of others can be used as stepping-stones to broaden the classification," says National Emergency Number Association Director of Governmental Affairs Dan Henry.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology's Public Safety Communications Research Division is holding seven challenges this year and next to spur the development of innovative public safety technology. Challenges involve drone design and experiments geared toward "on-the-scene fingerprint capture solution that would save public safety personnel resources and potentially save lives."
NENA seeks volunteers for a new working group to write a NENA Information Document that will provide guidance and recommended best practices to the PSAPs for the use of supplemental location and caller information as identified in the Recommended Best Practices for Supplemental 9-1-1 Location Data document created by NENA staff, NASNA and iCERT. In addition to supplemental location data, this document will include emergency contact information, medical data, telematics information, and other data types available from IoT devices. For more information, please visit this link.