The Need for Protocols in a NG World

May 30, 2012

Todd Piett

I recently posted a survey on the NG9-1-1 Group on LinkedIn.  The results confirm a trend I have heard through the past few years about the imminent changes to the types of calls and data that will be enabled in post E9-1-1 world.

The current results of the survey are below. While not a statistically significant sample size, there is still a clear trend in regards to the need for protocols and SOPs around text messaging.

Through our implementations of, and the delivery of supplemental data for thousands of calls we have also seen the need for re-thinking existing call taking SOPs and protocols.  The need for standardization and ensuring the proper steps are taken in handling an emergency call are obvious, but new communication types and the data sources that are now available to telecommunicators don’t fit as cleanly into rigid scripts as traditional voice calls once did. In a recent incident a call taker was presented with a rich medical history on an unresponsive caller. Using the profile, the call taker was able to cut out unnecessary steps and change the dispatch procedures based on the callers history.  Now lets imagine a text “call” to report an assault where the call taker also has access to nearby video feeds.  It becomes impossible to define every scenario and map every interpretation of what is happening in the video.

The implication of these impending technology changes are drastic on our operations.  Not only do the protocols themselves have to change but we have to also look at our hiring processes, mix of skills needed, training and quality assurance.  I’m glad to see the survey reinforces the recognition in the industry that the technology is no longer the bottleneck to change.

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