Saturday, August 20, 2011

The 9-1-1 Carnage Continues...

To read the article as posted at the Kennebec Journal online, click on the link below:

Posted: August 20
Updated: Today at 8:13 PM

Staff Writer

Comment: I'm not counting, but there have been at least 10 high profile incidents in the past year where application of  9-1-1 technology has failed our nation (typically, with fatal results).  Dispatchers typing in the wrong address, callers giving the wrong address, Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems unable to find an address, CAD systems auto-filling the wrong address, and so on.  And the incidents have not been isolated - indeed they have been spread across the country: Atlanta, Maine, St Louis, Denver, Ohio, Florida, California, Tucson, and Pennsylvania - to name a few.  The irony of the situation is that units of government will spend MILLIONS of dollars to install the latest and greatest CAD system in hopes of shaving seconds off response times, yet the "new" system will inherently have the same basic flaw as the old system - something that can cause errors in minutes - reliance on an ADDRESS driven exchange of information.  There is a better way to communicate location for emergency response situations.  One that is free and endorsed  by FEMA, the National Search and Rescue Committee, and the Federal Geographic Data Committee - the U.S. National Grid (USNG).  Sadly, within the emergency services sector, very few have embraced the approach.  For example, a recent Needs Assessment by the National Fire Protection Association found that less than 2% of the nation's fire departments were using USNG in their operations. 

Hopefully, the light bulb will finally come on for the 9-1-1/emergency services sector before the carnage goes much further.  In that regard, Minnesota has made significant progress but still has a long way to go.

In Minnesota:

1 comment:

  1. I sent email to the article author and to the director as follows:

    Director Morris and Mr. Monroe;

    A solution exists: US National Grid.

    Is was published in 2001. It is a national standard. It is functionally the same as US military and NATO systems available since 1949. The same grids are on USGS topo maps, though most users may not know what they are. See attached and see the selected links. Paris street is mostly contained within grid 412 319, a precision of 100 meters. In many jurisdictions, local dispatch information could include just 6 or 8 characters to specify locations to 100 meters (330 feet) or 10 meters (33 feet) square thus eliminating confusion that occurs daily with dispatching. If the responders maps were USNG, these coordinates are a simple x-y plot, right-then-up, just like in grade school. I hope to see USNG added to street addresses for all Public Service Answering Point dispatch information transmitted. (note first bullet)

    Finally, citizens can place applications on their smartphones easily which display this same grid. One is:

    A map without a grid is just a picture.


    Al Studt, CFPS
    US National Grid Advocate & Instructor
    Central Florida